You’ll gain a “fresh” perspective when you walk through the doors of Bell Works on Wednesdays this summer.
That’s because the atrium will be bustling with a unique assortment of local produce vendors and artisans assembled by the Asbury Park-based Fresh Markets. On May 30, the Jersey Shore’s largest farmers and makers market will launch Bell Works Fresh, its third regular weekly event in Monmouth County.
The market is a taste of what’s to come along the quarter mile indoor street at Bell Works where retail spaces are being outfitted for restaurants, boutiques and service businesses like Salon Concrete. Coming soon are Hummus & Pita; The Alchemist, a custom jeweler and Holmdel Florist. Developer Ralph Zucker’s vision for the space is a piazza where tenants and community members can eat, shop, stroll and relax.
Bell Works Fresh comes on the heels of Bell Street Market held over the winter and spring, which brought vendors of mostly non-food goods to the street and included cocktails, music and yoga.
For this food focused event, more than 20 vendors are currently signed on for opening day and shoppers can expect more as the season rolls on. According to Fresh Markets Product Manager, Brian Sienkiewicz, as word travels about the success of their events, the organization tends to get more inquiries from vendors. But this one generated a strong buzz from the start.
“When we went on sale with this and announced it on our website, I was blown away by the amount of vendors who said, ‘Oh my God, you’re doing a market at Bell Works? I want in on this!’” he said.
The tough job of deciding who does get in falls to Sienkiewicz, who first got involved with Fresh Markets as a vendor who created wood furniture from reclaimed materials. Sienkiewicz carefully screens applications and recruits businesses that catch his attention in order to build a well-balanced mix. The result, as visitors to their other markets can attest to, is a cast of Jersey originals who have built loyal followings.
Among the Fresh Market veterans, whom Sienkiewicz predicts will please palates in Holmdel, are the organic produce specialists Rolling Hills Farm, of Lambertville, and Honey Brook Organic Farm, of Chesterfield; homemade jelly maker Holly Jolly Jams, of Eatontown; and Teaneck’s Pickle Licious.
“Pickle Licious, that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. People can come get pickles and olives by the pint, the quart,” Sienkiewicz said. “If your tummy’s rumbling, you can come down and get a pickle on a stick, and that’ll save the day for you.”
Among the local vendors slated for opening week are Holmdel’s own Fox Hollow Vineyards; Tinton Falls’ Two River Gourmet Mushrooms; the Middletown crochet craft maker Kathy’s Kozies; and Grateful Tea of West Long Branch. (Click here for a full list of weekly vendors.) The Humane Society of Tinton Falls will also be on hand with rescue animals every other week beginning with the first event.
“Once I found out Bell Works was dog friendly on the first floor, I was like ‘Boom, they’re coming’,” Sienkiewicz said. “I think it will be great. People will come down, hopefully rescue some friendly animals that need help, or at the very least cuddle with them and lower the blood pressure before they go back to work.”
One thing that will set Bell Works apart from any other Fresh Market site is its indoor setting. That means no summer scorchers, no bugs and no rain-outs.
Sienkiewicz hopes the community surrounding the metroburb will embrace the market and build it into a weekly tradition.
“This is a trial run,” he said. “This is going to be a 14-week season, and if all goes well –and I can’t imagine it won’t – we’re definitely going to continue this, and who knows, maybe even make it a year-round market.”
Bell Works Fresh will be held each Wednesday from May 30 through Nov. 14, 2-6 p.m.. For more details, visitwww.asburyfresh.com.