The Market is Up

Surprise! New Jersey is one of the most efficient and prolific food producing states in the union! What? You already knew that? Oh, right…the Garden State. I get it.

The very first Farmer’s Market I went to was in Hollywood. Right…that place. I was on a vacation with my family and the Market was a famous tourist destination. It had fruits, vegetables and rides! So naturally, when it came time for me to visit a Farmer’s Market some years later in my home state, I couldn’t wait. The fruits were there. The vegetables were there. No rides. What? This can’t be. Devastated, I ate my carrots and walked away. I am happy to report that as an adult (some might say) I have learned that rides belong at the boardwalk amusement parks and the food belongs on the table. I wouldn’t say the organic and artisanal food movement is new. I would say that awareness has never been higher than it is right now. You can see it everywhere across the state. Restaurants old and new, tres chic and workingman regular, are all featuring food that comes right from the farm. We are shopping at fresh produce stands rather than supermarkets, and cooking dinners with fresh ingredients that very night. Where are these markets? Closer than you think…

They are in Hoboken, Jersey City and Asbury Park. You can find them in Morristown, Stockton and Somerville. Shop fresh in Collingswood, New Brunswick and Sparta.

But you already knew that, didn’t you. On any given Saturday, or Sunday, you can see them set up on streets that have been closed off for the days, or in parking lots outside of City Hall, tent cities with long tables full of the freshest produce from farms like Cherry Grove Organic Farm in Princeton, Nina’s Red Barn Farm in Ringwood, Alstede Farms in Chester and Bobolink Farms in Milford. Baked goods are in supply as well, and your sense of smell might lead you to treats from shops like Brownie Points Bakery in Summit, Rando Italian Bakery in Atlantic City, Passion Flower Cupcakery in Forked River and Mangia Feast in Chatham.

Made in New Jersey. While companies have outsourced their operation to foreign countries and manufacturing is done in China and Sri Lanka instead of Edison and Clifton, we are proud to say there are people who still do it by hand, do it right, and do it here…

Herbertsville Honey Company (Point Pleasant) Retired carpenter Alf Berg and what he calls his “amazing creatures” produce unfiltered, unprocessed wildflower honey, “the way the bees intended,” he says.

Booskerdoo (Monmouth Beach), a nickname given to owner James Caverly by his wife, roasts its own beans (including fair-trade organic and single-origin coffees) and ships them the same day.

Mazi Piri Piri Sauce (Asbury Park) Chef Peter Mantas was so taken with the fiery piri piri sauce he tasted in Portugal’s Algarve region he decided to start making his own.

First Field Jersey Ketchup (Princeton) Husband and wife Patrick Leger and Theresa Viggiano combine her passion for growing tomatoes with his love of ketchup made without tomato paste and high fructose corn syrup.

So what are you still doing here? Go! Go eat. Or better yet, go shopping. Then go eat!

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