Roots Run Deep on Family Farm

By Michael Buck and Michelle Pittman

Located on Route 57 in between the thousands of homes and businesses in Phillipsburg, N.J., and the vast farmlands of Warren County, sits a small stand and farm run by the Piazza family.

Piazza Farms and Greenhouses has seen its share of change since it was built in 1949. But it’s still run by the same family, offering the same quality produce year in and out. We ran into Marsha Piazza last weekend and she gave us a brief primer on the family and their business.

Although the farm stand was built 60 years ago, the family farming roots go back even further. Three generations ago, in the 1920s, Frank Piazza took the fruits (and vegetables) of his labor down to Phillipsburg with a horse and cart.The Piazza family have been feeding locals ever since.

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So what can you find at Piazza Farms? First, flowers! While the flower growing season is winding down, the greenhouses behind this little stand are bursting with color in early spring. The farm also has herbs and some vegetable plants that you can transfer to your own garden and still had a nice selection available on our visit.

But as the weather warms up, you’ll also find a whole host of vegetables for sale. When asked, Marsha rattled off a list of farm-grown fare that stretched longer than a garden hose. While the season is still very much in the growing phase, not quite ready for harvest, there is a variety of Jersey-grown produce available for purchase. Most of it is transported in from South Jersey, where the growing season is a few weeks ahead of the Valley’s schedule. Knowing what items comes from where is pretty easy — all Jersey-grown produce is marked with a yellow WIC sticker and the farm-grown items are labeled as well.

We picked up some greenhouse-grown tomatoes and, along with some veggies from our own garden, turned them into salsa.

Marsha described Piazza Farms as being conscientious when it comes to pesticides. The farm has a 35-year partnership with Rutgers University, which alerts them when prime time is to spray, meaning they have to do so as infrequently as possible. Rutgers also helps them keep track of their soil and other scientific data points that keeps the farm in top shape.

Go check them out — Jersey corn is already in and tomato season is only weeks away! Piazza Farms is located on Memorial Parkway (Route 57) just past the split with Route 22. They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday.

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