Summer means local produce in Cherry Hill

Bite into a plump peach, bake a blueberry pie and check out these area farm markets as the summer heat teems on the Tabernacle community.

You don’t have to travel far to find local produce this summer. Here’s your summer guide on what to buy and where to get it locally.

The last one standing

Back when Cherry Hill was known as Delaware Township, the region was chock-full of farms. By 1931, 82 farms set up shop in the township, dotting hundreds of acres of open space with farm fields and roadside stands.

More than 80 years later, only one working farm remains­ in town – Springdale Farms, located on Springdale Road, about half a mile off of busy Route 70.

You can find loads of baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, and items for your home and garden at the shop. The Jarvis family, who’s owned and run the farm since 1949, also sets up shop each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Collingswood Farmers Market.

This summer, guests at the market can enjoy a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, including beets, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, raspberries, beans, squash, and of course, sweet corn and tomatoes.

Springdale Farms is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 856-424-8674.

All in the family

Tracy Duffield married into the Duffield Family, which owns and operates Duffield’s Farm Market at 280 Chapel Heights Rd. in Washington Township.

Duffield’s father-in-law took over the family farm in 1953 at age 16, carrying on the clan’s storied tradition.

Duffield manages the produce at the market, while the two other sisters-in-law oversee other aspects of the store.

The farm has seen an abundance of crops this season, and an early bloom for many.

“It’s strawberry fields forever,” Duffield said, noting that the strawberry season continues to yield fresh berries past its typical timeline.

Peaches and corn came in early, though, and Duffield said, employees made sure to let everyone in town know via Facebook, Twitter and the market’s newsletter.

The farm is enjoying an extra-long season for its produce. But that’s not the only reason to shop there.

“You know it’s fresh. Our corn, we only sell the day we pulled it. You can’t do any better than that,” Duffield said. ‘It’s cheaper, as delivery people are adding costs for fuel, and we’re very particular about how we raise our crops.”

The market is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 856-589-7090.

You can also sample some of what Duffield’s has to offer at the Voorhees Farmers Market, held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Voorhees Town Center.

For the whole gang

Crop seasons began extremely early this year, said Pete Johnson, co-owner of Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford.

“We’re loaded up with blueberries,” he said in late June as the cherry season waned.

All summer, visitors to the farm can pick up fresh sweet corn and peaches.

The farm also sells iced corn.

“It’s been our trademark in the sweet corn part of our business since my parents started bringing sweet corn down in 1960,” he said.

Corn kept cold stays fresh, he explained.

Of course, the fruits and veggies are not the only draw to the farm.

Each night in the summer, the farm will be hosting special events ranging from fun nights for the family to ice cream socials to splash pad nights.

“Family Fun Nights are Wednesday evenings in the summertime,” Johnson said. “We’ll have different types of entertainment for the family.”

Some nights, there may be an animal show, while a balloon maker will be on hand for other nights. The entrance fee for Discovery Barnyard will be slashed in half.

Check out the farm’s Facebook page each week to find the theme.

“The hayrides that run out to the fields are free from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” he added.

While the farm is generally family-oriented, a more adult atmosphere will be felt on Friday nights beginning at 5 p.m. for the Farm B-Q and Cruise Nights through the end of August.

A DJ will be present to add a doo-wop vibe while visitors view classic cars and eat some tasty barbeque.

Johnson’s Corner Farm is located at 133 Church Road and is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day in the summertime. Learn more at www.johnsonsfarm.com or call (609) 654-8643.

A sure shore stop

Russo’s Fruit and Vegetable Farm Market has stood as a community staple for more than 40 years at the intersection of Carranza Road and Medford Lakes Road in the heart of Tabernacle.

Famous for its apple cider donuts, Jersey Fresh ripe tomatoes, corn, peaches and blueberries, the market is a traditional stop for many passers-by on their vacation route to the state’s famous beaches.

“Being on the four corners here, I think we’re very fortunate for the location that we have,” said Russo family member Joann Gsell.

The market is a familiar community face, she explained, and the farm itself has prospered in Tabernacle for more than 70 years. Over time, the farm grew to include the market and bakery as well as a greenhouse operation to meet customer needs.

This year, produce has grown ahead of schedule. Currently, blueberries and tomatoes rule the scene.

“What we have that’s our own is constantly changing,” Gsell said, referencing local produce items. The bakery, however, has consistent offerings.

Shamong’s Valenzano Winery options are also sold on the premises.

Russo’s is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day from Easter to Christmas, barring Thanksgiving Day.

Learn more at www.russosfruitandveg.com or call (609) 268-0239.

About Melissa DiPento

If it happens in Cherry Hill, I want to know about it. I'm a South Philly resident/South Jersey suburbanite and will see the story first-hand, even if that means riding my single-speed bike along Route 70. I especially enjoy writing about politics and sustainability.View all posts by Melissa DiPento