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Yesterday, was my mad dash day to get everything done for our upcoming “Tomato Garden Party” in conjunction with Foodbuzz.com’s 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs promotion. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to take a look at my fellow food bloggers who are participating from all over the globe.

The theme of the party should be pretty obvious. Every dish of this 4 course meal involves the famous and fabulous Jersey tomato. We are even starting off the evening with a Tomato Martini.

So, even though I have a pretty good supply of homegrown tomatoes, I still needed more. I also am incorporating a tomato tasting course, so I wanted to get an assortment of Heirloom tomatoes. As you can see, I went to the right place. Look at those gorgeous babies.

Ron Gassaway, Delicious Orchards Vegetable Manager, was kind enough to give me a tour of the place and a little education on the different Heirlooms as well as the difference between many of their red tomatoes. Ron has been at Delicious Orchards for 25 years.

I chose two of each heirloom they had: Striped German, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Evergreen and one medium size yellow that Ron did not know the name of.

They had an impressive supply of ugly ripes which are always my tomato of choice if available at the grocery store. They are far more juicy and flavorful than the Field Grown tomatoes. They had some field growns available for tasting which I thought was a nice touch. They even provided the salt.

One of the great discoveries I made during my visit was the new canned Jersey Tomatoes. They’ve even been certified by the state as “Jersey Fresh.” Ron informed me it’s the first product of its kind and its selling like crazy. I bought 5 cans, used two for soup and 1 for making the Tomato Water for the Martinis. I can testify, the tomatoes are really flavorful and very simple, just tomatoes and salt.

Okay, after 3 bunches of basil, several bags of tomatoes, 5 cans of crushed tomatoes, 3 white eggplants, and 10 cheese peppers (for a later date), we were off to the bakery for a quick tour.

Ron gave me a little history of Delicious Orchards. The actual orchards were planted in 1911 on Route 537 in Colts Neck. In the 1950’s, Carol and Janet Barclay, the owners, opened a little roadside stand to sell their produce. Carol encouraged his wife to start selling some of her homemade pies at the stand, and they quickly became a hit. She enlisted the help of friends and neighbors to help her bake her pies in her kitchen. (Ah, the good old days before health inspectors.) In 1965 they bought the property where Delicious Orchards now stands.

All the baked goods are baked on premise. They use the apples from the orchard for their famous apple pies. They also do cakes, pastries, and bread. I could tell Ron had given this tour once or twice before. He admitted, he’s a very experienced tour guide and has seen his share of first grade field trips.

After the bakery, it was time for me to get moving and Ron to get back to answering the endless string of questions from customers in the Vegetable department. It was great meeting you, Ron, and thank you for the tour. I’ll be back. Oh, I also have to mention, on my way out I noticed a sign that said Delicious Orchards has a take out service. Just call two hours in advance with your order and they’ll have it ready for you and deliver it to your car. Sweet.

Delicious Orchards
36 State Route 34 S
Colts Neck, NJ 07722
(732) 462-1989