One Mahwah farmer has found a new way to get his farm fresh eggs to the community. Since December, Matt Soldano of Southtown Farms in Mahwah has been selling his fresh eggs at the Ramsey Indoor Farmer’s Market, which organizers say is a way to continue to get fresh meats, locally-grown produce, and other foods during the winter months.
Soldano sells fresh eggs from his flock of 200 chickens and ducks. According to the farmer, Southtown Farms is Bergen County’s only pastured poultry farm.
Soldano became a farmer after a four-year stint in the Marines including a tour of duty in Iraq.
True to his patriotic roots, Soldano raises heritage breed chickens including the Americana breed, which produces a blue/green egg. “It does not matter the color of the shell – white, brown, blue – what matters is the diet and lifestyle the chickens are raised in,” said Soldano.
Choosing not to incur the expense of certified organic labeling on his products, Soldano is proud to stress his natural approach to farming. “My poultry is hormone and antibiotic free. The chickens and ducks eat the grass and whatever else they can find roaming my pasture in Mahwah,” he said.
Southtown Farm’s eggs also are available year round at the Ramapo Valley Road farm. Soldano said he is happy to sell at the indoor market, which operators say is the only community farmers market in Bergen County operating during the winter.
The Ramsey Farmers Market relocated to Eric Smith School after a successful run at the Ramsey Train Station. “The outdoor market was a tremendous success and no one wanted it to end,” said Nancy Boone, manager of the market. “The township was very supportive helping us find a winter home,” she added.
According to Boone, the anchor of the winter market is Blooming Hill Farm. Farmer Guy Jones, a native of Ramsey, owns the Hudson Valley organic farm, which offers some of their 200 varieties of organic produce for sale. “Guy has a huge following and many people have discovered our market thanks to his involvement,” said Boone. Blooming Hill Farm participated in the famous Greenmarket at Union Square in Manhattan and supplies organic produce to some of New York’s top restaurants and chefs.
“We are happy to support local farmers since this area was the hub for local farmers going back to the 1800’s,” said Boone, who is the former president of the Ramsey Historical Society.
Patrons to the Ramsey Farmers Market are encouraged to bring non-perishable items to the market to help stock the food pantry at the Center for Food Action in Mahwah. “Some of our vendors also donate their surplus produce and products in the spirit of giving back to the community,” said Boone.
The Ramsey Farmers Market will be open on Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. until March 25 at Eric Smith School, 73 Monroe Street in Ramsey. The market will return to the Ramsey Train Station parking lot off West Main Street beginning June 10, 2012.
Find a complete list of vendors at the market on its website.