When most people think of New Jersey they think of pollution, factories, the Sopranos and most unfortunately, The Jersey Shore. But there is much more to New Jersey than an industrial wasteland of hair poofs and orange tans. There is a whole lot of green! New Jersey has over 10,000 farms offering seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, greenery, dairy and livestock, and providing small quantity at super high quality. We’ve got pick-your-own farms, roadside markets, community farmer’s markets, and more. Just yesterday I received a Beard Bites email, the James Beard Foundation’s bi-weekly e-newsletter, featuring a recent event at the Beard House in which Chef Ken Trickilo of Liberty House Restaurant showcased New Jersey’s spring offerings. Can you say delish? So as much as I love hopping on the train to New York and checking out their many farmer’s markets, I decided it was time to support my own state of NJ.
Each week on my day off from work I will visit a different farm in my area, until I find just the right one (or two). Hopefully in the meantime I will have changed people’s misconceptions of New Jersey and more importantly encouraged them to support their local, dedicated farmers.
I got off to a pretty good start yesterday. I chose Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff, NJ, a short 35 min drive. I felt right at home. Driving up to the farm you can see the fields and rows of growing crops. There is a greenhouse with flowers and greenery at the entrance. Further up the road is their main store. We parked in their small lot and as soon as I stepped out of the car I could smell it; that oh so familiar smell of a chicken coop. Just outside of the store they have rabbits, chickens, turkeys, goats, donkeys, and pigs.
The market itself is set up almost like a small grocery store, but less fussy and far more organic. With their hand written labels and price tags, wooden display cases, and checkered tablecloths. Abma’s also has its own bakery so they sell all kinds of bread, pies, cookies and sweet treats. They also sell their own brand of jellies, jams and preserves. I was like a kid in a candy store. I really love places like these. They just make me feel cozy.
My only gripe would have to be that it was a tad pricey. But I’d rather spend that money on good food than the latest iPhone. I was also looking for some homemade ice cream or fresh milk but they don’t have cows so I can’t blame em! The minute I got home I had some of their tomato preserves with brie on a piece of warm crusty bread. MMMMmmmmmm! Look out for my next recipe post of homemade spring pasta made from Abma’s Farm goods.