Despite rising prices, Margate Farmer’s Market devotees are undeterred | Local News
MARGATE — It was a recent Thursday morning, and Alissa Mierzwinski was at the Margate Community Farmers Market with her husband, Matt, just as she is most summer Thursday mornings.
Mierzwinski, of Egg Harbor Township, prefers to buy locally grown produce because she believes they are treated with less harmful sprays. Thursday was even more of an occasion, as Mierzwinski brought his 8-month-old son, Luke, on his first trip to the market, a one-block stretch along Amherst Avenue populated by about 30 vendors.
Mierzwinski loves shopping there because, in addition to knowing where her food comes from, she also enjoys knowing where her money goes.
“We like to support the locals and not the businesses. It’s a bit more, but definitely worth it,” she said.
As inflation continues to drive up food prices at grocery stores and retail hubs, it is also impacting local vendors and farmers, who find themselves in a delicate balance between absorbing the higher costs and raise their prices.
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The Margate Farmer’s Market has been around since 2010 and is run by Steve and Cookie’s by the Bay Restaurant. It has survived many trials and tribulations, including the COVID-19 pandemic and now, inflation.
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Bill Talarico, a vendor selling kimchi and pickles for his wife’s business, Get Pickled, said that while inflation has affected the prices of their ingredients, including the cost of jars and lids, they don’t do not plan to increase their prices.
“The price of a can of cabbage has doubled, and the price of Korean products, where we only use authentic Korean products right down to the salt for our kimchi, has also increased,” Talarico said.
But for Talarico, who enjoys interacting with the public, including having them try new things, business continues to be good.
“We serve such a niche market, so we do well at events like farmers’ markets, where people are looking for unique products.”
Around him, vendors were selling fresh, organic, farm-to-table produce such as fresh produce, seafood, cheeses, jams, soaps, coffee, fresh flowers, produce beauty and handcrafted jewelry.
Other product suppliers, such as Reed’s Organic Farm in Egg Harbor Township, are feeling the impact of inflation.
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“We have to change the prices to some extent to match the price of inflation,” said Lainey Ludwig, of Linwood, who worked on the stand at Reed’s farm with Mariel Palamero. This was the second time the farm had visited Margate Market.
“People are thrilled with our booth,” said Palamero, who noted that the slight price changes don’t seem to be deterring customers. “We’re all organic, so that’s a plus for a lot of people.”
If there’s a silver lining to local farmers’ markets and vendors, it’s that their customers aren’t looking for the cheapest deal, but something unique they can associate with.
Mathew Allen, who was in town for the 4th of July weekend from Brooklyn, New York, came to market for the variety of unique organic products made by small businesses that he said he wouldn’t find in a supermarket or grocery store.
“We get premium produce and support small businesses,” Allen said, as he received a jar of Giardiniera Italian pickled vegetables from Get Pickled in Talarico.
Allen said making savings the top priority is like “making a deal with the devil.”
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“It’s cheaper, but I want my food to taste like something,” said Allen, who believes supermarket produce doesn’t taste as good as what he finds at a local community market. .
Ocean City saleswoman Arles Dupont, who was there for her natural bath, body and home products business, said her business model, which includes refillable bottles, helps guard against waste and inflation.
“We’ve been hit by inflation, but not that much just because all of our ingredients are sustainably sourced,” said Dupont, owner of ‘Aina The Zero Waste Shop.
The store offers a variety of different-sized glasses for its refillable products, which are also customizable, Dupont said. She also noted that many of their products contained ingredients like bamboo, a renewable resource that is also biodegradable, recyclable, compostable and used for other purposes, which was another major selling point for people who bought its products.
“If things continue to skyrocket, our business will suffer, but we’re staying the course,” Talarico said. “Come support local businesses. We have great things to offer.