Summertime! This is my favorite time of year for produce and what better state to live in than the Garden State—home to more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs—to enjoy nature’s bounty at almost every exit of the Parkway. I have several favorite stops: farmers markets in my Bergen County neighborhood. Roadside farm stands in the Freehold area. And farm retail outposts like Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck or Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff.
Another real treat is simply strolling into my area Shop-Rite and King’s Food Markets during the summer months to find local, Jersey Fresh produce ready and waiting for me. No need to make additional stops to seek out some good greens!
Jersey Fresh is more than smart marketing—it’s a movement. Did you know that this quality grading program originally launched in 1984 to help farmers inform consumers about the availability and variety of fruits and vegetables grown in New Jersey? And that over the years, it has become the benchmark for other states to initiate their own state-grown agricultural marketing programs? New Jersey is top of the crop, ranked nationally in the top 10 as producer of such items as blueberries, peaches, bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, and cranberries.
And if you’ve devoured a ripe, luscious Jersey tomato this time of year, you get the picture. Like most folks, I tend to let the in-season and best-tasting produce drive my meal-planning and recipe creations. So what will be served at my table over these next few months, for example, will be many a tomato salad, dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, fresh basil, sea salt, and fresh-cracked pepper. At some meals, I’ll add in red onion and fresh mozzarella. And maybe a few heirlooms for pops of color.
Let’s Also Get Ready to Crumble
My dad and husband love blueberry and peach crumbles—and I take full advantage of the abundance (and great price!) of these Jersey Fresh beauties to bake into our family desserts. It’s fun to switch things up—a crumble with one singular fruit and sometimes made combining the two. And don’t forget some creamy vanilla ice cream to top it off!
Be sure to visit Jersey Fresh online to learn more. The site provides recipes, where-to-buy info, and is a great resource for finding farmers markets and farm stands throughout the Garden State.