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Market Cafe

June 7, 2012

Seating offers a place to sit with prepared foods

Farmers market, gourmet chocolate and cheese shops, easy dining spot, wine store, ice cream stand, bakery and now coffee bar. The expanded space at 19 Bridge St. in Stockton, N.J. contains all these things, with promises of more to come.

The Stockton Farmers Market first opened several years ago at the site that locals knew for decades as Errico’s Market. Set in an L-shaped space, in the beginning it shared quarters with an art gallery. Fridays through Sundays brought a changing array of farmers and food purveyors offering fresh fish, meats, chocolates, barbecue, sea- sonal produce, chocolates, waffles, prepared foods, soaps and more.

The market quickly became popular enough to become one of the few local farmers markets that remain open through the winter months.

Fast forward to today. The art gallery is gone and in its place is an expanded market with a coffee bar serving La Colombe coffee, hot or iced, cappuccino, espresso and a variety of locally made fresh pastries. In addition to being open during the market’s regular weekend hours, the coffee bar serves commuters and others in search of a cup of coffee each weekday from 7 to 11 a.m.

The expanded size of the market means there is room for more vendors. Manager Dawn McBeth last week pointed to the arrival of Carousel Lavender Farm, located in Bucks County’s Mechanicsville, as a vendor selling candles, soaps and culinary lavender products. Mushrooms, Etc., has a changing variety of fresh mushrooms – last week there were morels and fairy wings in addition to the regular offerings – and spreads and cheese.

Highland Gourmet offers grass-fed beef and natural chicken in addition to some prepared foods, Maddalena’s Cheesecake has its traditional creamy cheesecakes, and cold-pressed Tunisian olive oil comes from Mediterranean Delicacies. Marmalades are the specialty of Simple Living 101, and cheeses and rustic breads are the specialty of Bobolink Dairy and Milkhouse.

Pasture-raised pork and artisanal sausage, chicken and brown eggs are sold by Purely Farm, while handmade potpies and mochi (ice cream wrapped in dough) are prepared by Sweet Fusion. Seasonal produce comes from Milk House Farm outside Newtown, and Gravity Hill Farm in Titusville, N.J.

For those looking for a meal at the market, tables and chairs were added with the expansion. That means a place to sit while dining on fish and chips by fresh seafood purveyor Metropolitan Seafood,tamales from El Mariachi and pork or brisket barbecue from Mighty Quinn BBQ.

For dessert, Half Pint Ice Cream serves up artisanal ice creams and sorbets. Tom Sciascia offers rich chocolates at the Peinted Truffle.

Market manager McBeth sched- ules special events at the market and this month’s calendar shows a June 15 Father’s Day chocolate tasting offered by Sciascia. For $21 chocolate-loving dads can sample chocolate cordials filled with wine, scotch and beer.

The market is made up mostly of very local purveyors; Highland Gourmet is right down the road, Bobolink is in Milford, N.J., El Mariachi is in Plumsteadville, Crossroad Bake Shop’s home base is in Doylestown, and of course the produce is locally grown. This helps satisfy the increasing interest in buying local, reducing the carbon footprint of foods and knowing where your food comes from.

There aren’t many local places where you can get dessert and shop for fresh produce and upscale grocery items in one place. With the addition of the coffee bar, the Stockton Market is in a class of its own.

Read online at The Herald

by Susan S. Yeske