• Summer Magazines

    Economy and trend meet in canning revival

    It’s late summer, and for now we are awash in fresh, local food. Markets, produce counters and your neighbor’s garden overflow with tomatoes, squash and other goodies, but the leaves are falling and the first cold snap can’t be too far away.

    If only there were some way of preserving these summer flavors for the winter.

  • Summer Magazines

    No one ever said farming was easy: especially farmers.

    Each year is either drought or too rainy, too cold for one crop or too hot for another, and if everything cooperates, if the season is absolutely perfect, then there’s a glut and the prices drop.

    In Cape May County, the amount of land under cultivation has dwindled for years, and in many cases folks whose parents and grandparents or great grandparents were farmers have decided to find something else to do.

  • Summer Magazines

     Liz Anderson, AKA the Egg Lady, with son Daniel and a dozen blue-green eggs. She sells her extra eggs from her front porch on Route 50 in Tuckahoe.  Growing up on her dad’s farm in Upper Township, Liz Anderson knows chickens.

    So it seemed natural that she and her husband, Tom, would keep a few at their place in Tuckahoe for the eggs.

    “We always ate…

  • Summer Magazines

     pizza So it’s unequivocally late summer. Garden ripe tomatoes are piling up in offices, being traded back and forth among neighbors and co-workers like the seashells of the Trobriand Islanders, only with an expiration date.

    Roving bands of teenagers are forcing brown bags of enormous zucchini on unsuspecting passers-by.

    And while we’re nowhere near out of topics, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this space already, exploring the variety of fresh, local food available to anyone who wants to look for it.

  • Summer Magazines

    Here’s one for Joe and Joanne Sixpack. 

    You know, regular folks. The common people. Those with taste.

    Let’s face it, beer gets a bad rap. Its reputation has improved in recent years, but for many, the world’s first alcoholic brew, and the most popular, is shorthand for plebian tastes. Think of Homer (Simpson, not the Illiad author) downing Duff Beer while sitting in the kitchen in his underwear.

  • Summer Magazines

    Willis Allen (he says he just goes by Junior) and his brother Tony search for some early fruit at the Allen Family Farm this week. The blueberries should be going strong soon A visit to Carol Ann Allen’s farm this time of year is a lesson in potential.

    Fields surround her big white farmhouse on a dirt road in Belleplain. Some tomatoes and pumpkins…

  • Summer Magazines

     eggplant

    It’s as Italian as parmigiana, as French as ratatouille, and as Arab as baba ghanoush, without even getting started on moussaka, Szechuan-style eggplant and garlic sauce or a few dozen Indian dishes.

    In other words, eggplant tastes like home to a huge swath of humanity, under many names and many, many different kinds of spices.

  • Summer Magazines

     spinach You can’t talk about spinach without talking about Popeye, says Ken Thompson, a farmer with a spread out in Tuckahoe.

    It’s a late weekend afternoon, and Thompson is not working on spinach; he’s weeding strawberries, giving the now flowering patch a fighting chance against the competition. In this case, it’s an enormous variety of grasses, stalks, thistles and ivies. Dandelions ready their parachute seeds on white heads, while another shade of green in the tangle explodes on contact, sending a burst of seeds forcefully into the air.

  • Summer Magazines

    Some say the berry you wait for tastes best

    So maybe you’ve been feeling pretty pleased with yourself. After all, you’ve switched over to organic greens now that they are pre-washed and easy to use, and you’ve traded sausage and bacon for the frozen simulated stuff in the green box. Maybe you even recycle the box. 

    Then suddenly, one of your friends goes localvore. 

    Here we go again.

  • Summer Magazines

    beach plums Beach plums are nothing new.

    For generations, locals have gathered the small, tart plums along roadsides and in the dunes, mostly for jellies and jams.

    The fruit is much smaller than the European or Asian plums, to which it is related, and when ripe can range in size from about a pea, to a Bing cherry, or the size of a grape tomato for a really big one.




Jersey fresh strawberries are in season

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strawberry Jersey Fresh strawberries are here, and the plump, juicy fruit is available now at farmers markets, grocery stores and pick-your-own farms in the state. Harvesting began in mid-May and is expected to continue through early June.

Nutritionists consider strawberries to be a part of a healthy diet, providing a good source of vitamin C. Strawberries should not be washed until ready to eat because their high water content, on top of the additional water, will result in a mushy berry. Once the caps are removed, an enzyme is released that destroys the vitamin C.

Be certain to remove the caps after rinsing to prevent the strawberry from becoming waterlogged and from losing vitamin C content.

Look for strawberries that are plump and firm, with a bright red color and natural shine. The size of the berry is unimportant; color and fragrance are the best indicators of flavor.

Caps should be fresh, green and intact. Avoid strawberries with green or white color, or those that appear mushy, shriveled or leaky. Strawberries do not ripen after harvest, so they should be picked as close to consumption time as possible and immediately stored in the refrigerator.

When purchasing strawberries, check the carton for stains, which can indicate over-ripeness. Remove the strawberries from the market or store container and store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to three days. For best results put paper towels between the layers.

Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.

Freeze strawberries by coating in a water and lemon juice mix.

To find Jersey Fresh strawberries and other Jersey Fresh products see the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov. Recipes can be found at http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/recipes.


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