The Bethlehem Farmers’ Market takes place in Farrington Square every Thursday from Apr. 29 until Nov. 18, allowing students and area residents to support small businesses selling locally produced goods.
Now in its 14th season, the market began as an initiative by the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem to provide residents with access to fresh and locally grown produce, according to the Farmers’ Market’s website.
Running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday, a variety of vendors attend each week allowing students and residents to purchase an array of products.
Peanut Butter ‘N’ More, is a vendor at the market run by Joe C (sometimes known as Crazy Joe), who asked that his last name not be included in the article. He sells over 20 freshly made flavors of peanut butter in addition to almond butter and local honey.
“You go in a grocery store and look in the ice cream aisle and they’ve got all different kinds of flavors there, and I looked at some of them and thought if they can do ice cream then they can definitely do peanut butter,” Joe said.
Honey roasted and s’mores are the most popular flavors, Joe said. He also said honey is a popular item and is supplied by a honey company in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Another vendor at the market is Raspberry Ridge Creamery, which sells sheep’s milk cheese.
Though this is Raspberry Ridge’s first year participating in the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market, they’ve had no complaints so far, employee Jenna Lubliner said.
“We have a farm, two flocks, 30 herding sheep, we train sheepdogs as well, and 30 milking,” Lubliner said. “We’ve been working on changing the genetics over the past five years to make it creamier, higher protein content cheese, so this is the result from the past five years and it’s really great.”
Lubliner said sheep’s milk cheese is similar to cow’s milk cheese but is sweeter and higher in zinc and other vitamins. She said the Manchego variety is the creamery’s signature product. It is not aged as much as other cheeses, allowing it to retain a fresh taste.
Although both Peanut Butter ‘N’ More and Raspberry Ridge also attend other nearby farmers’ markets, Joe said he shares a special relationship with the Bethlehem market as Lehigh students helped him redesign his logo.
Peanut Butter ‘N’ More’s new emblem was created by Lehigh students who love Joe’s products. He said around six months ago, a group of Lehigh students reached out to him with a few emblem ideas, and he loved the suggestion of “Crazy Joe’s,” which now marks all his nut butters.
Due to COVID-19, some of the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market vendors were not present last year—including Peanut Butter ‘N’ More—however many of them have returned this year.
Jennifer Cocchiere, 24, said that the farmers’ market provides her and her friends with a social opportunity.
“I only went to the farmers’ market once last year, but I’ve gone like three or four times already this year,” Cocchiere said.