Thursday, September 4, 2014

Meet the Vendor: Hoboken Farms

Welcome to Meet the Vendor, a series on Jersey City Eats profiling different vendors from all the Farmers' Markets around Jersey City. We have a wonderful and constantly growing market scene in Jersey City with unique and dedicated vendors. 

Today's vendor is Hoboken Farms who can be found at various markets throughout Jersey City, New Jersey, and New York.This profile will be a little different because I was able to actually speak with Brad Finkel, owner of Hoboken Farms, and we had a great conversation about the history and growth of Farmers' Markets in Jersey City and his company's story. Thanks for participating, Brad!

Tell us about yourself. 
Since 1992, Hoboken Farms has offered an expertly curated selection of locally baked artisan breads, fresh mozzarella cheese, pasta, and organic, grass fed meats.  Their Big Red Marinara Sauce is sold at Whole Foods MarketBed Bath & Beyond,  and was named Best Marinara Sauce in the country by the Wall Street Journal and took 2nd place in a taste test run by the Star-Ledger this year.  In 2011, Hoboken Farms opened their first Awesome Sandwich Shop in Summit NJ. In 2012 the company formalized a partnership with Equinox Gyms and opened Hoboken Farms Juice Bars located inside their new Summit and Paramus facilities.

While orginally located in Hoboken, several storm-related problems over the past few years forced Hoboken Farms out of their location and almost caused them to close. Luckily, they were able to relocate to Clifton, but are looking for locations back in Hudson County.

What other markets do you participate in around Jersey City? Any outside of Jersey City?
Hoboken Farms participates in 30 markets across New Jersey and New York. They are one of the original vendors at Hamilton Park and at Van Vorst, for 13 and 12 years respectively and have been at Grove Street since its inception. One of the major appeals, according to Brad, is that Jersey City not only wants to have big farmers' markets, they want to have great ones with great vendors and there's constant effort to make that happen.

The first market they ever participated in was in Englewood in the 90s before farmers' markets were widespread. It was informal, just some friends putting together some tables and vending and the first week, Brad showed up with 50 lbs of mozzarella along with a friend who brought 50 baguettes and they sold out in an hour. The next week, they showed up with 100 lbs of mozzarella and 100 baguettes and they sold out in half hour, and it just hasn't stopped, "Our way of doing business [the markets] sort of became the cool thing to do."

What are your top-sellers?
The mozzarella, made fresh every single day, is absolutely the number one seller, especially during tomato season. 

Do you have any personal favorites amongst your products?
The Big Red Marinara - Brad's son has been known to eat it straight out of the jar.  Because the family is familiar with food allergies, they've also worked hard to make sure they can provide delicious gluten-free and food-allergy friendly items which they also enjoy.

What are some of your other favorite stalls at the Jersey City markets?
Hoboken Farms and Stony Hill Farms have been vending side by side for years at many of the markets in Jersey City and throughout New Jersey and Stony Hill's tomatoes are a great match with the mozzarella from Hoboken Farms. 

Any other information you think customers would want to know?
A lot of focus will be put on the juice bars and retail sales of The Big Red Marinara in the future. Hoboken Farms wants to bring farm market culture to everything they do. 

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