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Farmers Market brings fresh, local produce to Rutgers

Eating healthy might be one of the most difficult things for a college student to try to manage, especially one living on campus. With classes, schoolwork, social events and a limited budget, eating fresh fruits and vegetables becomes a last priority — but it's still something that students would like access to. What many students may not know is that there is fresh, reliable and affordable produce right on campus three days per week.

The New Brunswick Community Farmers Market is open to students and the public on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Kilmer Square Park, Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Cook campus and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Farmers Market Pavilion and Gardens.

All of the produce is local, coming from different farms around the New Jersey area. The goal of the market is to provide the community with fresh and reasonably-priced produce while supporting local farms in New Jersey. The market opens for the season on June 17 and runs through the month of October.

While visiting the Farmer’s Market Pavilion and Gardens this past Saturday, there was a nice selection of fruits and vegetables for sale. There was a wide range of fruits including peaches, honey crisp apples, pears, plums and even kiwi. An even greater variety of vegetables were available, including kale, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, zucchini, potatoes, onion and sweet corn.

The stand on Saturday was provided by Pop’s Farm Market and Garden Center, located in Monroe Township, New Jersey. This local farm has been coming to New Brunswick’s Community Farmers Market for about five years, with half of the produce coming from Pop’s Farm and the other half from South Jersey, still providing local and fresh food for the community.

The prices were extremely reasonable and significantly lower than your local grocery store. Peaches were being sold for as little as $1.79 per pound, while sweet honey crisp apples sold for $1.99 per pound. All natural peach cider and salsa, along with a table filled with locally-made apple butter, preserves, dips and dressings were for sale.

Pop’s Farm even has a “Box Program” available to the community, which can be purchased by customers for an option of $17 or $25, providing the individual with a box of assorted produce for the week. This is a great option for college students who only need a small amount of fruits and vegetables to bring back to their dorms.

While eating raw fruits and vegetables is always a good, healthy options there include several easy snack recipes that are available for college students to make.

A great, nutritious option for someone with a sweet tooth is a honey crisp apple, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon, a great snack to make while taking a study break.

Another snack recipe, for those with a little more time on their hands in between classes, are homemade kale chips. Simply wash the kale, chop into small pieces, lay out on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven at 350 degrees until the chips become crunchy and slightly darker in color.

If you want to surprise your friends after a long week of tests and exams try a seasonal favorite, apple crisp. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. While waiting for that to warm up, slice up four apples and place them into a greased baking pan. Then in a separate bowl mix together ¾ brown sugar, ½ cup all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup butter, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon and ¾ teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle over the apples and bake for about 30 minutes.

If you're looking to liven your diet with some healthy, local produce, take a walk or a quick bus ride to one of these three New Brunswick locations, all located throughout the Rutgers campus.

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