The Columbus Farmers Market originally started in 1919 as a cattle and horse auction in the center of the town of Columbus. In 1929, it moved to 30 acres at its present location on Route 206 and was owned by three brothers, Irving, Harry and Frank Tallman as well as Harry Rupp.
Over the years, a variety of farm animals were sold and auctioned including chicks, ducks, cattle, milking cows, calves, sheep and hogs. Machinery auctions were conducted and fresh eggs were a big seller. Two serious fires, one in 1968 and a second in 1972 devastated several buildings. At one point in time, the site included a diner, a bank and a carnival which included a ferris wheel, merry-go-round and train. The Tallman family increased the size and variety of the flea market and inside stores and in 1988 they sold the business and property to the current Columbus Farmers Market, LLC. Under the new ownership, the size of the acreage increased to 200 acres. Additionally, the Produce Row building, the All-Weather Outdoor Flea Market Pavilions, the Columbus Self Storage facility and the four Flex buildings were built, which today house Central Jersey Equipment (John Deere), American Sheds, and Columbus Antique Mall.
The Columbus Farmers Market suffered another devastation with the November 2014 fire. This fire destroyed ten stores within building 4. The Columbus Farmers Market has completed the rebuilding of building 4 and continues to upgrade other areas of the entire inside market.