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Archive for May, 2011

Simple, fast meals that take advantage of the early spring harvest. I’m often writing, planning for the week, doing stuff around the house or catching up on reading on Sundays so I don’t always have time to cook or prepare elaborate or prep-intensive meals.

Here are some quick uses of in-season farmers market finds:

Scrambled eggs with fresh scallions and spinach. Today I added a little fresh mozzarella to the scramble. You lightly saute the scallions and spinach in a little olive oil and then add the eggs and mozzarella. Today’s sides were leftover potato skins with broccoli and cheese and leftover cinnamon and cheese bread both from Mastori’s.

For dinner, I used the scallions and spinach again and tossed it in a wok with leftover broccoli and garlic sauce from earlier in the week.

This week I’ll have fresh mixed greens with rye croutons I toasted about a month ago from leftover bread and stored in the freezer. Dressing will be Jesse’s vinaigrette from Jesse’s Cafe in Long Branch.

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Great market. Spent the weekend in Madison at my son’s graduation.

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A new weekly (hopefully) feature that will recap what we’re seeing, reading or hearing about at New Jersey Farmer’s Markets as the season progresses. Feel free to comment here or better yet send us an email at (pocketfarms at gmail dot com) about the farmers markets in your part of the Garden State.

Red Bank Farmer’s Market

Hauser Hill Farms had a tremendous amount of flowers, plants, and herbs out and were proudly displaying the Jersey Fresh logo. They also had some nice looking leeks out.

The Hauser Family has been tilling New Jersey soil in Old Bridge for 150 years and serve at least 8 farmers markets per week during NJ’s harvest season which runs roughly from May – November.

Jeff’s Organic Produce (no link available) had all the spring green’s you could want out in modest amounts. Spinach, asparagus, early lettuces, dandelion greens, chives and scallions were all out for sale:

And last but definitely not least, Jesse from Jesse’s Cafe in Long Branch had her usual robust offerings of made from scratch soups, salsa, vinaigrettes, and pies. Jesse is a fixture in Monmouth County local markets, having owned and operated a cafe, health food store and catering business in Long Branch’s West End for 30 years.

She’s also a driving force behind the West End Farmers Market which opens June 17th.

Sunday Night Dinner

Vegan Veggie Barley soup from Jesse’s, spinach salad with my own toasted rye croutons, topped with a little store-bought grated pecorino romano and Jesse’s vinaigrette. For dessert: left over cheese and grapes from the Art Alliance of Monmouth County’s First Saturday gallery opening. I date the Alliance’s “Big Cheese” and we often end up with the leftover’s.

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I shot some pictures while cruising around the market. Picked up some flowers from Hauser Family Farms of Old Bridge for my mom & sister & a cherry cheese babka from the Lithuanian Bakery of Elizabeth which always brings a truck.

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After 68 years in Bordentown, Ocean Spray is closing it’s plant and moving juice bottling operations to Pennsylvania:

Ocean Spray moves to Pennsylvania

More retail development in Monmouth County’s coastal watersheds:

WaWa, other stores coming to Route 66

A business that makes use of New Jersey’s plentiful harvest moves out of its plant along the Delaware River and more trees are ripped out, soil compacted and runoff increased in the heart of Monmouth County’s key watersheds so that yet more retail businesses (chains) can move into an increasingly suburbanized Monmouth County.

For years, the Route 66 and Route 33 corridors were home to small businesses, woods, fields, and streams, all of which buffered agricultural lands and served as critical coastal watershed.

In New Jersey, we seem to equate business development and job growth with real estate development and new retail strips rather than businesses that grow, make, design or promote something.

New Jersey’s real competitive advantage lies in our land, soil, and waters, all of which provide amazing agricultural productivity for our farmers and a quilt of open spaces in the country’s most densely populated state for the rest of us.

New Jersey can only move forward by looking back. Long-term sustainable business creation and job growth in The Garden State can only come from building on our agricultural and coastal heritage.

Let’s hope Bordentown does right and keeps the manufacturing plant intact and seeks out small businesses, start-ups and co-ops interested in turning New Jersey’s agricultural bounty into new value-added food products and businesses.

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Maple Shade Opens Today, May 7th. They’ll also be featuring live music.

Via Red Bank Green:

Red Bank Farmers Market Opens on Mother’s Day

UPDATE

Collingswood Market also opens today

I’ll have some pictures and a few comments tomorrow on the Red Bank Farmers Market after I make my trek over there to pick up some goodies.

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Growing NJ Farms

John Crabtree at the Center for Rural Affairs apprises us of

new USDA funding available for NJ Organic Farmers.

Another $50m for organic conservation measures has been made available. In 2007 the Center For Rural Affairs helped NJ organic farmers receive $270,000 of the $24m in grants they distributed.

Let’s go for a cool million for NJ organic farmers this year! Organic conservation measures on pocket farms and small-lot farms makes a lot of sense in NJ.

Growing New Jersey Businesses

New Jersey’s $80 billion dollar agricultural and food complex is the key to growing businesses and creating jobs in this state.

Landis Marketplace opens in Vineland as a key part of Vineland’s economic development efforts.

The marketplace features a bakery and Amish market as well as fruits and vegetables. It will also feature shops on the second floor. As always, check to see where the produce is from and buy Jersey Fresh first!

NJ Wine Industry

Right to Farm Controversy in Hopewell over Hopewell Valley Vineyards will be decided next week by the Mercer County Board of Agriculture.

Jersey Shore Wine Festival will be held June 4-5 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.

12 of New Jersey’s 40 Wineries will be featured and have tastings.

History and Preservation

The past is critical to New Jersey’s future. The Walker Family Farm in Salem County has been honored by the NJ Agricultural Board Society’s Board of Trustees for it’s 100 year old presence in the state.

The Walker Family received the Century Award which honors farms that have been continuously operated and owned by the same family for at least 100 years.

The history of the family’s farming operations is a good window into the history of farming in NJ itself.

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