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It's a Family Affair for Vacchiano Farms

The farmers at the Millburn Farmers Market sell vegetables, meats and baked goods

This is the first in a series of articles profiling the farmers and vendors that are at the Millburn Farmers Market.

It's a family affair for the Vacchianos at the Millburn Farmers Market.

Each week Anthony, his mother Lucia and father Tony man the stall for the family farm, which is located in Warren County, greeting people and selling vegetables, meats, pies and tomato sauce.

"We are the tomato people," Anthony Vacchiano said. "We sell more tomatoes than anyone else here."

Six acres of the 100 acre farm is devoted to tomatoes, he said, and they are only picked when they are big and ripe. Some sell tomatoes before they get ripe, but that's not what they do, he said.

They also have 20 varieties of tomatoes, including heirlooms, he said.

Both sets of Vacchiano's grandparents were farmers in Italy, so there is farming in the family's blood. His father, though, worked in a butcher shop when he immigrated to the United States. It's why they run the butcher shop, Vacchiano said.

They raise 40 head of Black Angus and 10,000 chickens, each year, which are then butchered and sold at farmers markets.

Because they raise the beef themselves, Vacchiano said, they are limited in what they can sell.

"We need to sell the whole animal," he said. "We can't go by what's hot like in a supermarket."

Steaks, however, are popular, so the beef is cut into steaks, he said, and the remainder is ground and some is formed into hamburger patties.

The family sells exclusively at farmers markets, although they used to have a wholesale service. In addition to Millburn's market on Tuesdays, they are also at Madison on Thursday, Montclair on Saturday and Summit on Sunday.

It's difficult to sell wholesale, he said, because they grow a high-quality crop. Most wholesale vegetables are not a high quality, he said.

"We strive to have a nice quality and that's what we have here at the market," he said.

It's what people want from them, he said, plus it's great to interact with the shoppers.

While the family has owned the farm for 25 years, the original intention for the land was to create a winery. It's taken time to build to the point where they can have a winery, and Vacchiano said they have secured their liquor license to be one starting July 1.

The farm has 11 acres of wine grapes that were planted five years ago, he said. The area—Warren Hills—is known as a vinification area for New Jersey.

The Millburn Farmers Market is open Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Essex and Main streets. The market runs through Oct. 27.

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