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Season opens at Collingswood Farmers Market

The blooming of a South Jersey institution

As opening day crowds surge through the sunny heart of the Collingswood Farmers Market, the smile on  David Hodges' face is even wider than usual.

'It's unbelievable," beams the market's director. "Just the way we ordered it."

The Saturday morning weather, the turnout, and the stylish sounds of Shannon McGill and Kevin Sullivan indeed seem perfect for a happy occasion. Winter was long; the wait for spring, even longer.  So the market's signature vibe - a crunchy/ funky mix, rather like the borough itself  -  feel especially welcome.

"it's great to see everyone," says Beth Dolinski, of Dolinski and Son in Franklinville, who has sold flowers since the market began a dozen years ago. I pick out a bunch wonderfully pale yellow tulips. "The crowd here is amazing," she says.

According to Hodges, the market includes between 25 and 30 local farms on its rotating roster of 50 vendors, several of which are new this year. Among them is Far Wind Farm, of Williamstown, where I buy a picture-perfect dozen of probably the biggest, brownest eggs I'll ever scramble.

"It's an awesome market," owner Margie Neil says. "We're proud to be part of it."