MILFORD - Since Memorial Day, people have flocked to a new one-stop shopping hub, that’s located on Second Street in the quaint town of Milford. In an effort to help people understand where their food comes from, the Executive Director of Air Soil Water Jolie DeFeis says the Milford Farmers Market was started to encourage people to eat better, while also supporting local businesses and drawing people to the town.
    DeFeis says the market is an opportunity for the community to come together, enjoy live music and get “excited about food shopping.” Vendors from the Tri-State area, offer everything for a full meal with: meats, poultry, cheese, produce and an array of deserts. For those who wanted organic food before the market, the only nearby options were a few supermarkets and a farmers market in Barryville, New York.
    The Director of Ail Soil Water David Wallace, says convenience and quality of the items at the market, overshadows the food that can be found at Wal-Mart. He explains that, “by stimulating and making the commerce happen,” people will learn about where else they can find good food.
    Eventually, DeFeis says Air Soil Water would like to do programs to help inform the public about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For the time being though, Wallace adds that Air Soil Water is, “trying to create the buzz” and get the Milford Farmers Market “commercially viable.”
    After taking a “life changing” nutrition class in college, DeFeis says she learned about the food industry and became aware of what is in food. The issue though, is that people are not aware of the ingredients in foods, with strawberries being huge, even when it’s not strawberry season. Instead, going to Wal-Mart is a “no-brainer.” It’s important, she adds that people learn about seasonal foods. Although it is fast, DeFeis says that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily cheaper and so education is important.
    Wallace grew up on a farm and as he learned about health, he says trusting processed food wasn’t possible. To be confident in one’s foods, he says people need to know where the food comes from and that it is fresh.
    Aside from finding good foods at the market, there are educational opportunities as people can learn about chickens laying their eggs or water purification. Wallace says with presentations from the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and other lessons offered about composting, “it’s about teaching our neighbors; our community how to do things for ourselves.” Looking to help other communities, DeFeis says there is work underway to start a market in Port Jervis, New York later this month.  
    There are currently between 20 and 25 vendors selling their goods every Sunday, but now, there is actually a waiting list. Located behind River Rock Inn on a grassy patch, she says the market’s spot is great because of the shade and trees. Since Milford is considered to be the home of the conservation movement, because of Gifford Pinchot and Grey Towers, DeFeis says it’s nice that the market is getting back to the movement. She explains, that the farmers are able to see people appreciate the lands that are available and use natural resources. Everything though, she says, goes back to clean air, soil and water, which are things people cannot live without.
    A mother daughter team, Katelyn Snyder and her mom Stephanie can be found every week selling their farm fresh eggs and handmade items, that they get from their own chickens. The family started raising chickens on their property in Milford, when Katelyn got involved in 4H. Instead of raising their chickens on a hundred acre farm, Stephanie says the team “chooses more quality than quantity.”
    Business, Katelyn says has been good and people are buying the eggs often. Plus, as they bring chickens with them, children are learning about the eggs and fowl. With many of the same vendors coming each week, Stephanie says friendships are being made. She explains that another vendor with chickens needed some tips to address a chicken issue and so the Tough Chicks gave some pointers. In return, the vendor helped the Tough Chicks learn about vegetables. Working together, she adds is about, “growing and learning.”
    Jeanette Espinal of J.E.N. Naturals says her hand crafted skin care business is doing well at the market, as she has several repeat shoppers. Selling homemade skin care soaps, lotions and more, Espinal started her business to “get away from chemicals.” After researching and formulating her own products, Espinal says it feels good to know that she is able to help people.
    Shopping at “As You Wish,” a homemade baked goods table where foods have only natural ingredients, Pat Reteguiz of Milford bought some chi green tea Sunday afternoon. Reteguiz says the market is the “greatest thing.” She explains that the locally sourced foods with the “mom and pop businesses” are wonderful. An organic gardener for over 20 years, Reteguiz says the educational information from the Penn State Extension, will be a resource to help inform people about organic materials.
    Visiting the region from Philadelphia, Mordechai Liebling bought some Swiss chard and berries Sunday afternoon. The market, he calls “great,” as it is a chance to talk with the farmers. Supporting local agriculture and eating local food, Liebling says it’s nice to know who is growing your food.
    From Johnny’s Organic Farm, John Mohelsky was selling beets, kale, lemon basil and more Sunday. Business, he says with a laugh was good as, “people are hungry.”
    Sunday afternoon Barbara Symth bought stuffed bread, peaches and strawberries. The peaches, she highly recommends. Milford having its own farmers market, Symth says is “really awesome.” Shopping outside in the open and talking to the people, Symth says she loves, as she makes a point to come every weekend.
    As a way of purchasing fresher foods that are “better for you,” Nancy Shanley was at the market Sunday, where she bought carrots, lettuce, a Danish and some butter crunch. Neighbors of the Tough Chick duo, Shanley actually watches the chickens sometimes and so she likes knowing the chickens are free ranging. Aside from the goods that she gets at the market, Shanley says she shops at the market to support local farmers and local businesses. With both healthy and some not as nutritional foods, Shanley concludes that “it’s all good, it’s just wonderful.”
    The market is open every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the River Rock Inn, located on Second and Ann Streets, rain or shine. For more information visit