Returning to Eating Local
Of course it was impossible to eat local New Jersey food while traveling, but we got right back on course upon Sunday's return. A visit to the NJ Wine and Food Festival was an interesting trip this year. It was really hot out, maybe 97 degrees and that kept people away. Good for us, but bad for the event. Last year's we walked away from because it was too much of mob scene. This year we got the time to actually visit, taste and talk to the vendors, both wine and food. Again our friends at the Silver Decoy Winery took care of us - none of that tiny sip stuff like the other booths. They gave nice full glasses - oh and gave Michele a beer!
The find of the day however, was Esparrago Asparagus Guacamole & Salsa made by Cedar Run Farms in Pittsgrove, NJ http://www.bettersalsa.com. These guys have been asparagus farmers for generations and make this stuff right at the farm with mostly their own ingredients. This is really good and I would say that you don't even have to like asparagus to enjoy it. To me this is the way it should be when you have prepared foods made locally with local ingredients. Individuals have been preparing and canning etc. their harvests for generations. Now maybe there is a commercial reason for the farmers to do so. In our explorations of local foods we have found lots of locally made prepared items, but no one can say that the ingredients are local. For instance, tomatoes abound this time of year and we have three or four jars of locally made tomato sauce, but are the tomatoes in that sauce local? I'll just have to track the producers down and find out.
I made another good stop yesterday: Lee's Turkey Farm in East Windsor very close to where I work. This is a real working turkey farm and orchard with a farm stand full of their own vegetables. The nice thing is that they stay in business there while surrounded on all sides by mcmansions. I hope they stay there forever, but I used to think that they only did the turkeys for the holidays. Turns out you can get frozen turkey and parts any time of the year - that's good to know. They had an article about them in the local paper. Seems they got a bunch of money from the state to install solar panels on their barns to generate their own electricity. Infact they may be able to generate enough to sell some back to the power grid. That's one of the greatest ideas I've heard off. Who gets more sun around here than a farm and with that kind of investment, they are going to stay around for awhile.
It's taken all week to catch up after being away for four days. The garden was nearly out of control - not with weeds, but with food. Tons of tomatoes, green beans and okra.
I gave away nearly all of the grape tomatoes and processed the plums for future sauce making (this weekend?). The okra got cut, blanched and frozen same for the green beans except for those that were used right away. All this harvesting, preparation and maintenance (oh and work too) has kept me from posting all week. Hopefully I'll have some time soon to give a review of some of our menus and a few recipes.