Profeta Farms Organic Farm and Farm Market Offers Assorted Produce, Meat, and Baked Goods
FARM FRESH: “We are a certified organic farm. In accordance with organic certification regulations, we use no antibiotics, hormones, or GMO feeds with our animals. Our other products have no chemicals or chemical fertilizers. We don’t know of any other organic establishment as diversified as ours. We have all the major food groups.” John Place (left) COO and co-founder of Profeta Farms, is shown with CEO and co-founder Paul Profeta.
By Jean Stratton
A visit to Profeta Farms Organic Farm and Farm Market in some ways is a journey back in time. A time when produce was grown in soil, free of dangerous chemicals and pesticides; grass-fed cattle were allowed to feed in various pastures; free-range chickens and healthy pigs were provided with freedom in their natural surroundings; and baked goods were made from scratch with the healthiest ingredients.
Profeta Farms, located at 803 Route 202 in Readington (just north of Flemington), was founded in 2012, and its Farm Market opened in April 2019.
Profeta’s mission statement points out that the farm “strives to create a diverse food system that promotes healthy soil, plants, animals, and people. We were founded with the goal of creating a farm that not only adheres to but goes above and beyond the standards of USDA organic certification.
“Our mission is to improve the health of our community by growing a variety of foods using common sense organic farming practices, resulting in nutrient-dense foods, and to provide high quality foods to the community through a single local, organic responsible source.”
A second farm location in Nazareth, Pa. is home to 40 dairy cows and also corn and soybean crops.
“We want to educate people about the advantages of eating a healthy diet,” says Profeta Farms COO and co-founder John Place, who has been farming for many years, and has his own farm in Pennsylvania.
As he explains, “I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and I am actually a first generation farmer. I was always interested in horses, and rode and trained them. I majored in animal science in college, with the thought of training horses. But then I got interested in cattle and farming, and now, more than half of my life has been spent farming.
“At Profeta Farms, we focus on regenerative agriculture, which means we are regenerating the soil by adding nutrients and breathing life into worn-out soil. It takes a period of three years to transition the land into organic. Our 1200 acres are all certified organic or in transition. Healthy soils create healthier grass for the cattle.”
He points out that natural pesticides, such as botanicals and helpful insects, are used. “Our efforts to regenerate our soils combined with our common sense approach to farming—blending modern techniques with old world — yield a superior product that we are proud to share with customers.”
The farm’s wide range of products is available for purchase at the on-site farm market, which greatly reduces the distance food has to travel to get to the consumer.
“We are transparent about our farming practices, so you know where and how your food is grown, raised, harvested, and processed. In addition, we are uncompromising in our animal welfare standards. Our cattle, pigs, and chickens are always treated humanely.”
The Profeta Farms scenario is truly “farm to table”. Produce is grown on the farm, and is then available in the Farm Market for customers to take home. The same is true of milk, eggs, meat, and poultry. With a few exceptions, everything in the Farm Market is from the farm.
Customers will find a variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Lettuce, kale, tomatoes, corn, broccoli, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets and shallots are all available seasonally, and in addition, strawberries and melons are in stock— and, strawberry jam, made from the farm’s strawberries, will be delicious on the farm’s homemade bread.
A special wall in the market features Profeta’s Farms hydroponic choices. These include various herbs, greens, and kale. The hydroponic method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent ensures that some of the products are available year-round.
The market’s meat and poultry section includes chicken, beef, ham, pork, sausage, and many other choices. The Farm Market’s in-house butcher will personally fill an order.
A wide array of prepared food is available for people on the go, and ice cream and baked goods (pastries and homemade bread) are all made on the premises, as is the market’s own pizza, made with the best ingredients. A variety of samples is available for tasting.
An executive chef, and a number of other chefs, are all on hand to oversee the preparations, and make sure the products are of the highest quality and reflect Profeta Farms’ standards.
Princeton residents will be delighted to meet their old friend Michel Lemmerling, former owner of Bon Appetit in the Princeton Shopping Center for many years, who is now Profeta Farms cheese expert. He is happy to help customers with their cheese selection, which includes cheeses from around the world.
“With the exception of cheese, everything in the market is organic,” explains John Place. “Our cheese is very high quality, and comes from like-minded farmers. It just may not be certified organic.”
Reaction to the Farm Market’s opening has been enthusiastic, he reports. “We have many regular customers already, and they tell us they are so glad we have opened. They are coming from all over, and some have found us on-line. They are all ages, and we are seeing lots of families with kids.
“We feel we are set apart by our customer service,” he continues. “We try to create a shopping experience for everyone. We are not just a place to buy food. We’ll be having tours of the farm and activities for everyone to enjoy.
“We are also very proud of our staff. They are wonderful. Everyone works hard, and they are so helpful with the customers. We pay particular attention to hiring people with a service-oriented culture. We are trying to create a community. Food brings people together — including the customers and our staff.”
The spacious Farm Market is conducive to browsing as well as buying, and customers enjoy taking time to explore the great variety of products. A few tables are available for stand-up tasting and eating, and this summer, outside tables will be added for al fresco dining.
A recent customer was especially pleased to find an excellent selection of heirloom tomatoes, which he was planning to include in a salad, along with Profet Farms’ choices of greens, carrots, shallots, etc. Another visitor, Tim Bebout of Flemington, who owns the Main Street Bed & Breakfast, said, “We focus on organic products, and we have eagerly been waiting for Profeta Farm Market to open. We couldn’t be happier.”
Prices are competitive in the organic market, notes Place, and as he says, “We look forward to our type of food products being taken seriously. We can produce a model that is successful, and then others can replicate it, and people can have healthier food.
“We also look forward to educating our community and helping people have an understanding of the food sources and knowing the farm. And we work hard every day. Organic farming is hard, so of course, we’re doing it!”
The Farm Market is open seven days, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (908) 237-1301. Website: ProfetaFarms.com.