Category: Garden

Tri-County Cooperative Market

June 12, 2022

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ – Farmers are gearing up and improvements have been made at the historic Tri-County farmers’ cooperative and auction market on Route 33. First opened in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, in recent years, the market has opened itself up to the public and a variety of restaurant and catering hall owners from around New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

Farmer George Asprocolas of Asprocolas Acres in Millstone is president of the vegetable and fruit growers’ cooperative. Each week, three days during the week, at the height of the season, farmers bring their extra produce to Tri-County’s loading docks and walk-in refrigerators, to sell at wholesale prices. The market is open Wednesdays in June, depending on the weather and availability of cool weather crops like asparagus, peas, strawberries and a variety of lettuces.

“We had some paving of our parking lots done last season, and we also put a new roof on our extra storage building,” Asprocolas said, “we have two contractors who will add garage doors to our open loading dock building. Much of the funding for the improvements at this historic marketplace came from grants from the United States Department of Agriculture [USDA.]

“Every year it varies a little bit, but we usually have between 45 and 60 participating farmers in the cooperative,” Asprocolas said, adding customers can check in with the cooperative’s website to see available produce.Tri-County’s loading docks also host farmers from as far away as Swedesboro and Vineland, Vernon in Sussex County and even a few Amish farmers from Lancaster, Pa. “We regularly get participating farmers from a wide range of areas,” he said.

While farmers who wholesale their excess produce at Tri-County all season long pay annual membership dues, what’s most remarkable about the operation are the low buyer’s fees. Customers such as churches or schools, can come in and buy in wholesale quantities for a $2 fee. Customers get to “know their farmer” and support local farms by purchasing Jersey Fresh products. For more information, updated produce lists and instructions on how to order online or via phone, refer to our website:

www.tricountycoop.net

Facebook: Tri-County Cooperative Auction Market

Hours of Operation

April – May: Wednesdays: 5:30PM – 9:00 PM

June – October” Mondays: 5:30PM – 9:00 PM Wednesdays: 5:30PM – 9:00 PM Fridays: 5:30PM – 9:00 PM

619 Route 33 West

Hightstown, NJ 08520




Just picked produce on the way to the market.


TRI-COUNTY COOPERATIVE MARKET HISTORY

* The non-profit, tax-exempt Section 521 Tri-County Cooperative Market was founded in 1933 by a group of farmers from Mercer, Monmouth and Middlesex counties at the height of the Great Depression.

*What began as a wholesale-only market has recently opened its doors and loading bays to restaurant owners, chefs, caterers and members of the general public who wish to take advantage of wholesale prices.

*Products from up to 50+ farmers – from all over the Garden State — are available during the growing season.

*The Tri-County Auction Market Association owns just under five acres of land off Route 33 in Hightstown. The land was purchased for $1 from farmers Bertha and James Taylor on Aug. 18, 1937.

*Veteran third and fourth generation farmers recall how farm trucks would be lined up all the way to Route 130 in the 1960’s and 70’s during operating hours at the market, before a lot of precious, fertile farmland in central New Jersey – some of the most fertile farmland in the United States — was sold off to developers for housing and office parks.

*Farmers pay a nominal fee at the start of each growing season to belong to Tri-County Farmers Cooperative Market, and Future Farmers of America, [FFA] members, benefit from free membership in this unique, tax-exempt, Section 521 farmer-owned facility.

*There are no membership fees for buyers. This means a family of five or several neighbors buying together can come in during market hours and order a bushel of corn

–about 64 ears — at $14 to $16.

*With a redesigned website, www.tricountycoop.net, transactions between buyers and sellers are conducted much more easily. Restaurant chefs and suppliers can place

orders via the website. Farmers who operate their own retail stands can order produce they don’t grow from other farmers.

*The Tri-County Market remains a farmer-run, farmer-owned tax-exempt cooperative with four officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and five general members.

*Restaurant owners come from as far away as Connecticut to purchase “Jersey Fresh” produce at the market’s official seasonal hours from”5:30 until the last farmer leaves” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. People from the restaurant industry can also pick up and order produce on Tuesdays and Thursdays by calling to make an appointment.

*With a large walk-in refrigeration area on site, patrons of the Tri-County Cooperative Market [who understand the seasonal nature of fruits and vegetables,] can order any of the following products at wholesale prices.


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Updates On Unsolicited Seeds From China = DO NOT PLANT Contact NJ Department Of Agriculture or USDA

July 27, 2020

SEE YESTERDAY’S MIDJERSEY.NEWS STORY HERE: If You Receive Unsolicited Seeds From China DO NOT PLANT Possibly Invasive Species

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Early yesterday (Sunday) morning the Internet started to light up with mystery seeds being delivered all over the USA including New Jersey. Do not plant these seeds since they could be contaminated or be an “invasive species” that could create havoc in the ecosystem.

For New Jersey residence that have recieved the suspicious seeds contact the NJ Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov


Information on unsolicited seeds from China

https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/news/hottopics/topics200727.html

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

Anyone in New Jersey who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov. Also, you can contact the APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.


You can also report to USDA here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling

If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables, or meat products into or through the USA, they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Antismuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or by sending an Email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.


If You Receive Unsolicited Seeds From China DO NOT PLANT Possibly Invasive Species

July 26, 2020 — Update 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm


July 27, 2020 Update 9:55 pm to include additional information for reporting to NJ Department of Agriculture:

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

Anyone in New Jersey who receives an unsolicited package of seeds from China should immediately contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-292-3976 or contactAg@ag.nj.gov. Also, you can contact the APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.


Reports from several state’s department of agriculture reporting unsolicited seeds being mailed to random residence around the country. Moments after posting the story today, MidJersey.News received a post via Facebook of a pack of seeds sent to Hopewell Township-Washington Crossing, NJ area. Be on the lookout, Do Not Plant and report to USDA APHIS link posted below.

So far reports of seeds being sent to NJ, NY, Virginia, Utah, Louisiana, Washington State and the United Kingdom.

MidJersey.News did communicate with the NJ Department of Agriculture on Sunday about the seed issue and see links below on how to report to the USDA:

Report here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling


If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables, or meat products into or through the USA, they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Antismuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or by sending an Email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.


A package sent to Hopewell Township-Washington Crossing, NJ, provided by post on MidJersey.News Facebook:



Press release from Virginia:

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has been notified that several Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

Please do not plant these seeds. VDACS encourages anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail that appears to have Chinese origin to contact the Office of Plant Industry Services (OPIS) at 804.786.3515 or through the ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov email.

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.


NJ Set to Enact Plastic Ban and 10 cent Paper Bag Fee Tax

Editorial, Opinion

December 5, 2019

By: Dennis Symons, Jr.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein have proposed S2776 that bans several plastic items and adds a 10 cent fee tax to paper bags that are the alternatives to plastic.

The intent of the legislation by enacting a “ban” of items is the way to go but any “tax” should be eliminated from bill.

If plastic is really harming the environment lets ban it rather than tax it. Lets not tax the alternatives such as “paper” bags since they break down in the environment, can be recycled and composted and do not cause harm like plastic.

Lets make this bill about the “environment” and not about the money and fee taxes by eliminating the tax language on paper bags in the bill.

I belong to an organic CSA and for the past couple of years they have provided “Compostable” faux plastic bags as an alternative to regular vegetable bags. I tried to compost the bags in the summer of 2018 and they did not break down well and in the spring of 2019 I found them in the garden wrapped around the tines of the rotor tiller.

In the summer of 2019 the CSA ran out of regular plastic vegetable bags and the only choice was to use the compost bags so when I returned home I proceeded to start an experiment to see how long it would take to break down the “compostable” bag.

Results of the experiment is that paper bags break down and the faux plastic also breaks down but takes a little longer than paper to break down. Paper bag will also break down in the environment in a similar way not causing harm to the environment like plastic bags do:

Video final results after 3 months: November 21, 2019:

7 Weeks October 7, 2019

10 Day Compost Update, August 30, 2019:

Start of composting experiment August 20, 2019:

Composting video on how to compost:

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