Janet Rotella wasn’t offering fresh vegetables or fruit at this year’s Bayonne Farmers’ Market but rather was among a handful of local merchants who decided to take part in the weekly event. Rotella was offering holistic relief from everyday stress through what is called a SPArties’ mobile Day Spa.
The mobile spa started earlier this year, and the response grew once the extremely hot weather ended at the end of July, Rotella said.
A lifelong Bayonne resident, Rotella said she started her business in South Florida and brought it north in 2004, doing business in New York City for a number of corporate clients.
“I wanted to get involved with the farmers’ market,” she said, and the response has been very good.
SPArties brings services normally found only in a spa to places where people work, offering foot, neck, and shoulder massages.
Lauren Dellabella, founder and organizer of the Bayonne Farmers’ Market, said a number of local businesses have joined the market as a way of letting people know about their goods and services.
“It’s a good way to let people know they are here,” she said.
This year the market started earlier than last year—on May 7—and with more vendors, Dellabella said.
“This year we have a cheese vendor which people really wanted,” she said.
These cheeses do not have hormones and other additives that are typically found in traditional cheese and milk products. “They also make butter and yogurt,” Dellabella said.
She said new vendors are being added, such as those selling organic olive oil and all-natural veggie burgers.
“We’ll keep adding as we go along,” Dellabella said. “Sometimes things don’t work. We had a pizza truck here. But in a town like Bayonne with so many good pizza stores, this was not going to do as well as other food vendors might do. Bayonne has some of the best pizzerias around.”
Meanwhile, new vendors join successful vendors from last year, such as Hoboken Farms.
Among the local talent is Mary Kay Tokar, who has been involved in local women’s groups for several years. She has taken on a new role in a business called Happy Faces, painting faces for parties and in this case for the many kids who have come to the market.
“Last year, she started doing face painting for the women’s club,” Dellabella said.
This was an apparently hidden talent that has blossomed into a business that she hopes will allow her to become a regular at local parties and other events.
“She is very gifted,” Dellabella said.
Another longtime local online vendor, PetFoodNetwork.com, also had a booth. Janene Nadolny said they’ve been in the pet business for 20 years but wanted to get their name out to the public.
“This seemed like a good way to do that,” Nadolny said.
She said she got into the pet-food business because she wanted to provide quality pet products.
“I’ve always been a pet lover,” she said, noting that her group works with a number of veterinarians and others, and offers food and toys that are made in the United States.
Working with SID
The Bayonne Farmers’ Market works in conjunction with the City’s Special Improvement District. This year the farmers’ market will most likely continue until the end of November.
As in previous years, the Bayonne Farmers’ Market has drawn vendors from throughout the state, from as near as Hoboken and as far away as Asbury, NJ.
The farmers’ market is open every Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot near the city’s mini-golf course between 23rd and 24th Streets on Del Monte Drive.
The market is affiliated with Jersey Fresh, which is part of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
According to the state’s Department of Agriculture, New Jersey farmers grow some of the best produce in the country. But it often does not get into local grocery stores and restaurants. New Jersey has been trying to make it more accessible through a program called “Jersey Fresh,” which was initiated by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in 1984 and has since gained momentum as farmers and communities like Bayonne get involved.
For more information call (201) 436-5057.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.