Please indulge me for a minute. My local farmers market, The Collingswood Farmers Market, was voted America’s Favorite Farmers Market in the small market category last year. It really is a fabulous market that has helped start a boon of farmers markets in the South Jersey region.

The market starts the first Saturday in May each year and runs through the weekend before Thanksgiving. For those seven months, you’ll find me and hundreds of other locals excited to get first pick of the freshest produce, meats, cheeses, breads, and flowers as well as prepared foods from local establishments. I look forward to the first Saturday in May like a kid looks forward to Christmas. It’s a bit ridiculous.

A video of this past Saturday’s opening day has already popped up YouTube by NatSpacular, and as Collingswood’s Becky Mercurio says in the video, “It’s just the best place to go on a Saturday morning.” In the video, you’ll be able to see the atmosphere that makes this market America’s favorite.

After the video you can see some of the photos I took. If this doesn't make you want to get out and shop your own local farmers market, I'm not sure what will.

The vegetable of the moment in New Jersey is asparagus. It's plentiful right now, but it's only in season for a short time. Many people around here wouldn't dream of eating asparagus out of season.

You can't beat these deals. Established tomato and bell pepper plants for 50 cents? Eggplant plants for $1? It's crazy. I saved room in my garden for several of these plants that I knew A.T. Buzby Farm would have available. 

This was my friend Teresa's breakfast quesadilla. Chef Mark Smith from The Tortilla Press in Collingswood (I've told you about his sustainability efforts before) buys what's fresh and in season at the start of each market day then puts them in quesadillas. Teresa enjoyed the asparagus and red pepper; I enjoyed the mushroom and spinach. Yum. 

I love that in the past few years, shoppers have started to carry their own reusable bags, in all shapes and sizes, to the farmers market. It's much more common to see someone with a reusable bag than with a plastic one (although they are available).

MNN homepage photo: hammondovi/iStockphoto

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

A look at America's Favorite Farmers Market
Opening day at the Collingswood Farmers Market in New Jersey is a huge success.