Shoppers loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables during the last day of the Farmers Market in Sea Isle City this summer.

By Donald Wittkowski

The sweet white corn sold at Al’s Produce stand is incredibly succulent. Even when you take a bite of it raw, it still has mouthwatering tenderness.

So perhaps it came as no surprise Tuesday that tourists in Sea Isle City asked the owners of Al’s to ship some of the Jersey-grown corn to their home in Utah.

“They’re heading out to Utah tonight on a flight. They wanted to make sure they had some delicious corn when they got there,” said Sandy Izzi, who owns Al’s with her husband, Albert.

Throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon, crowds of tourists and local residents were stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables at Al’s and other produce stands at Sea Isle’s popular Farmers Market.

The market, a summer tradition since 2010, is closing up for the season after a successful 10-week run. Tuesday was the last day for this season.

“It’s very, very popular. They’re on the uprise,” said city spokeswoman Katherine Custer, who added she has no doubts the market will return next year.

Sandy and Albert Izzo, pictured with grandson Rich Miller, served customers at their Al's Produce stand.
Sandy and Albert Izzo, pictured with grandson Rich Miller, served customers at their Al’s Produce stand.

Sponsored by the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization, the market brings some country flavor to this beach town. Just steps from the ocean, local farmers sell an array of fruits and vegetables from tent-covered stands in Excursion Park on John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Pleasure Avenue.

“This summer’s been wonderful,” Sandy Izzi said. “It’s always nice to be here. We get a lot of the same customers who keep coming back.”

Izzi explained that customers are so loyal that they will venture out to Al’s Produce stand in Oceanview after Sea Isle’s Farmers Market closes for the season.

She recalled one customer who showed up in Oceanview holding a suitcase. He wanted it filled with corn for a trip home.

“He told me he had already shipped his clothes and was taking the corn in his suitcase,” Izzi said, smiling.

On Tuesday, there may not have been any suitcases at the Farmers Market, but there were plenty of shopping bags stuffed with fruits and vegetables. Customers said they loved the roadside-stand-like prices.

Maria Terranova, a resident of Montville, Morris County, who is vacationing in Sea Isle this week, picked up some honeydew melons and bananas at Al’s.

“This is beautiful. The fruits and vegetables are very fresh. He was very reasonable,” Terranova said of the prices.

This was Terranova’s first-ever trip to the Farmers Market. She was sad it is closing for the summer, but noted that she has plans to visit Al’s Produce stand in Oceanview this weekend to buy vegetables.

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A.T. Buzby Farm of Woodstown, Salem County, was among the South Jersey farms at the market.

A.T. Buzby Farm, of Woodstown, has been selling produce at the Farmers Market ever since it debuted in 2010. A.T. Buzby grows corn and other vegetables on a 200-acre, family-owned farm off Route 40 in rural Salem County.

Amanda Mecouch, a saleswoman at the A.T. Buzby stand in Sea Isle, called the farm’s corn “famous.”

“Every year, we have people come here who are looking for our corn,” Mecouch said.

Nancy Rogers, a Sea Isle summer resident who lives in Ardmore, Pa., stopped by the A.T. Buzby stand to buy some tomatoes, corn and peaches. She has been shopping at the market every week over the summer. Like other customers, she is sad that it is closing for the season.

“I love this place,” Rogers said. “It’s a wonderful part of summer. I will miss it.”