Chris, Andrew and Christine Heckman, with friend Diego Alonso with purchased pulled pork from Frances Williams at Smokey’s.

Walking the Farmers Market entices one to check out all of the vendors, to learn new things, to try new things and to share in the amazing community in which we live. Seeing and chatting with friends and making new friends is one of the major benefits of the market. Another is learning about conservation and sustainability from the Green Team. Of course, the farm-fresh produce, the fish, the meat and artisanal products make the market popular, healthy and meaningful.

There was excitement at the Cooking Contest tent when the judges arrived for the Sauce vs. Gravy Wars. First, Ester Casale, owner of Casale al Mare, arrived hugging all and chatting about Italy and also local news. Chef Andre Cassara, owner of busy Andres Wine Bar and Grill, was greeted with enthusiasm, ready to begin the judging. Chef Pam Green, the first female South Jersey Chef of the Year and also Sheraton Atlantic City’s executive chef, was all smiles and her gregarious self.

Ann Bowie, contest chair, Kathy Hipple and Danielle Smith gathered the entries and the judges got to work. They checked the color and texture of the sauce, inhaled the aroma, tasted the sauce, and then after assigning points for different categories, conferred to make their decision.

The winners:

• First place, Patrizia Violente, $100 gift card

• Second place, Lauren Robbins $75 gift card

• Third place, Laurie Devers, $50 gift card

I asked Casale to share a few tidbits about the winning entry. She said, “true, authentic Italian, the texture and flavors balanced themselves really well and the meat, bolognaise, was chopped perfectly, as it takes a lot of chopping.” Violente agreed that she took a major amount of time chopping everything to make it perfect.

Brigantine is quite fortunate to have the expertise of Casale, Cassara and Green, and the Farmers Market is thrilled to have had them as judges as they are extremely talented and busy.

Sights and smells abound as one passes Red Room Café grills. Bill and owner Jack saute a huge amount of onions, sausage and red and green peppers. This distinctive aroma spreads throughout the park and shoppers stop, stare and then get in line. The restaurant’s delicious eggplant and chicken parmesan sold quickly last week as well as their homemade gnocchi and rice balls.

Can’t pass Smokey’s BBQ without inhaling deeply. Chris and Christine Heckman “stop there every week.” They said, “it has been a great summer, the Mac and Cheese and Pulled Pork” are their “staple, their Saturday diet.” Smokey’s owner’s mother, Frances Williams, quickly served up the food for this family.

Continuing along, shoppers were eating sweet-smelling farm peaches they had purchased at Woodland Produce, rosy white Jersey peaches and also beautiful Gala Jersey apples.

And the mellow sounds from singer Tommy D who sang Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett had adults swaying and children performing on the grass.

At the children’s tent, sustainable projects were in progress, i.e., all materials used throughout the summer were employed in a variety of projects. Children painted on canvas, or made clothespin butterflies, or used markers so there was no waste, nothing went into the trash!

Artist Louise Muth had an amazing array of handmade wreaths, centerpieces and fall decorations at excellent prices. She is full of ideas, and she makes gift baskets for all occasions.

There were 90 entries for the challenging Championship Trivia, and Anthony Masulci won the $50 gift card.

Last week one of the questions was, “How many sea turtles are found with plastic in them? The sad answer is one in 3. Let’s keep ridding our island of plastic bags that the wind blows onto our beaches and the ocean and damages our mammals.

Jaime Giordano, owner of Giordano’s meats, was selling out of everything fast. Donna and Michael Bello bought Liverwurst, and Bacon and Cheddar Hot Pepper Sausage that they declared delicious, and they contain no nitrates.

In the heat, one really picks up the scent of lemons as Sea Tox makes lemonade, which is a thirst quencher.

The sight of the colorful Aloha Bowls, full of fruits and vitamins, draws crowds. So good and so refreshing!

As the ladies make the crepes at Crespella, the line gets longer and the ingredients on the grill smell delightful.

Saturday, Sept. 7, is the last Farmers Market of the season, 8 a.m. to noon. Stock up on produce for the week, or freeze or can it for winter, and now is the time to think about all of those gifts that are needed for holidays and birthdays.

The Chili Cook-Off will take place at the Demo tent. Submissions should be brought to the Demo tent between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Of course, local firefighter, who are so appreciated in Brigantine, will judge the contest, and winners will be announced at approximately 10 a.m.

Children will enjoy a fun fitness circuit.

The Spotlight on Community will shine brightly on the St. Thomas Women’s Club. Stop by to learn about all of the group's good deeds and you will enjoy chatting with its loving and lively members. They will be giving away two free tickets to the Fashion Show on Sept. 29.

Bob Galbraith will be back to entertain tomorrow. You know that means to bring a blanket or chair and sing along with this endearing folk singer.

It is hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and fall is nearly here. Please thank volunteers, when you see them, for giving so unselfishly of their time in service to the community. These dedicated volunteers rise early in the morning to set up tents with safety weights. They work during extreme heat wearing a smile. Others organize, plan, order equipment and manage the market. Another team does the breakdown, which requires energy and strength to take down and put everything away.

The Farmers Market is particularly grateful for the support of sponsors.

Public Works is truly appreciated as it does an amazing amount of work behind the scenes and is always there when needed,

Remember to bring water in reusable containers, and bring reusable bags to pack all of your goodies.

The Farmers Market thanks you for the community support and for the shoppers who attend all season.

Loyal vendors are greatly appreciated and everyone will be missed over the winter.

Follow us @BrigantineFarmersMarket

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