Sickles: “Unparalleled Quality & Selection”
By Michael Sheehan
Savvy Monmouth Beach residents know that when fresh produce is on the menu, Sickles Market in Little Silver is the place to go. From asparagus to zucchini, Sickles offers a wide variety of fresh produce, much of it grown on local farms or right there on the Sickles farm just off Rumson Road.
Talk about history. The Sickles farm is located on land granted to Peter Parker in 1663 by King Charles II of England. More than 100 years ago, one of Parker’s descendants married into the Sickles family and, within a generation, the Sickles Farm, run by Harold Sickles and his wife Elsie, became a reality.
At first, Harold sold the produce he grew to local stores. After Harold’s son Bob joined the company in 1945, Sickles started to sell produce to the public from a stand on the farm property. Like many of the produce stands that dotted Monmouth County back then, the market was only open in the warm months.
My family’s history with Sickles is much briefer. When we started shopping there in the 1980s, the market was still only open on a seasonal basis and it was housed in a big, open, barnlike building with two or three bay doors. One of the doors was guarded by a large, friendly German Shepherd who always seemed to be as glad to see my kids as they were to see him. Our summer Saturday outings weren’t complete unless we stopped at Sickles to say “hello” to the dog — and buy some of their renowned Jersey corn or tomatoes while we there.
“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”
Things have changed since the early days. Along the way, Sickles has added plants, flowers and other garden supplies to their product mix, which eventually grew into a separate garden center offering annual and perennial flowers and nursery stock. The market also has added grocery items like gourmet cheeses, artisan breads, high quality condiments, tender meats, and homemade soups.
One of the major changes to the market is that it’s now enclosed and open all year round, seven days a week. Fresh produce is still the centerpiece of the market, but it shares space with a first-rate grocery area, deli, bakery, butcher shop, and gift area that features many unique items, including tableware and fashion jewelry.
The market is currently run by Harold’s grandson, Bob Jr., who came on board in 1978, and who has transformed what was once a seasonal produce market into a classy and convenient spot for just about everything that might be on your shopping list.
And, although the German Shepherd may be gone and the market looks far different than it did some years ago, the same emphasis on quality, selection and service is still there.
1 Harrison Avenue
Little Silver, NJ 07730
732-741-9563 / Website
Michael Sheehan, a longtime writer and marketing executive, and his wife Ellen have lived in Monmouth Beach for 50 years.