Entrepreneurial spirit drives Trenton Farmers Market as holiday season approaches
Fewer hours and limited produce allow vendors the opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity needed to continue doing business during the late fall and winter months at Trenton’s year-round market.
Tiffany Jenkins, who operates The Bint Jane Boutique Experience, has been at the market for only a couple of weeks. Jenkins is from Trenton, and sells a variety of clothing—from hats and scarves, to coats and gloves. It’s not her main source of revenue, but Jenkins capitalized on an opportunity to make some extra money for the season.
“I like fashion — I’ve always been entrepreneurial in spirit. I figured I needed to make a few extra dollars, so I’ll try this,” said Jenkins. “I was just fortunate enough to find a really good wholesaler.”
Like Jenkins, Walter Czajkowski, who owns Pie’d Piper — a stand at the market selling pies, cheeses and specialty pierogies — didn’t start out in the business. Though he’s had his stand at the market for four years, Czajkowski was a bioethics teacher at a local high school for 25 years before switching careers.
“I was at that time where I was ready to do something different with my life,” Czajkowski said. “My mother was a great baker and cook, so learning from her was another reason that we have a lot of things here today — (we use) a lot of her recipes.”
Pie’d Piper sources about 80 percent of the produce used in their baked goods from area farms, according to its owner, and they strive to be as local as possible. “My tagline is ‘so natural, so good,’” Czajkowski said. “We tend to bake with no sugar — it’s all natural and organic.”
Pie’d Piper is also known for their specialty pierogies, of which they make 24 different varieties. Recently, Czajkowski earned some attention for his pork roll pierogi, which was featured in Trenton’s annual Pork Roll Festival.
“During the festival, which was in downtown Trenton, we actually had the longest line for my pork roll pierogies,” said Czajkowski.
Businesses like Jenkins’s boutique and Czajkowski’s Pie’d Piper embody the entrepreneurial spirit of many of the vendors at the Trenton Farmers Market, and The Amish Country Store — owned by Amos Smucker — is no exception.
Smucker was born to an Amish family of 11, but he never officially joined the church.
“I’m more proud of my heritage because I’m one-step removed,” said Smucker. Four of his siblings joined the church, and four joined but were excommunicated. “My older brother and my younger brother, we never joined, so we sort of have a ‘get out of jail free card.’”
This time of year, Smucker travels from Lancaster, Pa., Thursday through Sunday to operate his stand, where they sell fresh produce, dairy products, noodles, jams, nuts, baked goods and candies, among many other items.
Most of Smucker’s products come from Amish country, and he tries to focus on items that can’t be sold in grocery stores — a market he says he just can’t compete in. Among the many specialty products he sells, Smucker says the variety of nuts he carries (and packages himself), are some of the most popular.
“All the nuts is what we’re really known for because once you have a following of nuts they will not go to the grocery store,” said Smucker. “They’ll come and get your nuts because they know you get a case at a time every week and you sell out. They’re fresh, fresh, fresh.”
The Trenton Farmers Market is open Thursday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.