Jersey strawberries had their time earlier this month; now it’s time for Jersey blueberries to push them aside and strut their stuff. And what stuff they have this year! One good thing you can say about alllllllllll the rain we have received in June is that the Jersey blueberries you’re seeing at farmers markets and in the grocery store are plump. Really plump. Wonderfully plump. In the movie Madagascar 2, the hippo Moto Moto is trying his best to express his love for female hippo Gloria and he busts out with “Girl, you huge!” THAT’S the kind of blueberries we have right now: ‘Girl, you huge’ blueberries.
Now that I’ve made my point about the blueberries, the next thought you might have in your head…well, after the “Geez, John, watching enough kid movies, aren’t you?” thought anyway…might be “Golly, wouldn’t it be nice to have some kind of, y’know, festival to celebrate the ‘Girl, you huge’-ness of this year’s blueberries?”
I anticipated that very thought!
We have not one but two blueberry festivals happening this weekend. On Saturday, you have the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival at Historic Whitesbog Village in Browns Mills from 10AM to 4PM. On Sunday, the Red, White & Blueberry Festival takes place in The Blueberry Capital of the World, which of course is Hammonton. We went to the Hammonton festival last year, and had a, erm, berry good time. OK – stop groaning out there!
Now maybe your first thought was “Well, that’s all well and good – but I’m not much of blueberry person.” After my follow-up thought of “C’mere and let me smack you in the back of th’ head”, I would say that sure, there are other festivals going on this weekend and not to worry. Going on from today through to Sunday is the Italian-American Festival in North Wildwood, so you could mangia bene there. For even more mangia bene-ful good times, the Italian Day Festival in Buena takes place on Sunday from 12PM to 4PM at Bruno Melini Memorial Park. Beer and BBQ (which I hear goes quite well together) will be had at Summerbrew 2009 in Island Heights. And then, of course, there’s always room for ice cream – so how about an Ice Cream Social at Hancock House in Hancock’s Bridge on Sunday?
A bit quiet on the dining room front, but next week we have a special Taste of Belgium Beer Dinner on Wednesday the 1st at Carolina Blue in Pitman. Also on the 1st is a special wine dinner, serving the wines of Heritage Vineyards, at The Pelican Restaurant in Sewell.
Chef Wars Update! The first round dinners have been completed, and now we’re down to the Final Four: Ted’s on Main v Elements Cafe and Los Amigos v Catelli Ristorante. Both will take place in July, so check the schedule. If I were a betting man, I could see a Elements v Catelli final.
(And speaking of competitions…wow, can you believe that the US men’s soccer team beat Spain, the #1-ranked team in the world?!?! I didn’t see that coming.)
In the classroom this weekend, Kitchen Kapers has a Cooking for Couples: Pizza – Design Your Own class Friday, a Kids in the Kitchen: Way Cool Summer Supper class on Sunday, and a Cooking for Cardiac Patients class on Monday. Also on Monday is a Cooking for a Cure demo at Downtown on Irons for $40 starting at 6:30PM.
Blogging Out Hunger
In soup kitchens around Ocean County, they’re seeing an increase in demand – yet another sign of the affects of the economic crisis.
Manchester Township has farm market vouchers available for low-income seniors.
Gov Corzine urges state food banks to continue to buy local produce.
The Heritage Cookbook, with 260 recipes provided by local families, is now available for purchase. The proceeds will go to The Home for Aged Women of Burlington County.
You may have noticed that I have not been running the Recipe Rewind section on Friday lately. Truth be told – I have not been able to review a lot of recipes lately. I promise to have this section back up in the near future.
I would like to mention that Lisa made a Blueberry Crumb Cake from Patsy at Family, Friends and Food for Father’s Day. The cake came out with a nice crunch on top and soft and moist on the inside. Thanks for the recipe, Patsy!
And in the news…
Restaurant openings: Capital Grille in Cherry Hill, joining the fray of upscale bistro chains, and Fornelletto at the Borgata, which will open in July.
Prix-fixe meals at local restaurants are being used more and more to try to bring in customers during these bad economic times.
The state Board of Agriculture took a Jersey Fresh tour of Burlington County this week.
Do not pay $2074 bill to restaurant for party…go directly to jail.
Traffic heroin while running a restaurant…get indicted.
And Jon Paxton, owner of the closed JP Prime steakhouse in North Wildwood and embroiled in a controversy over the restaurant, has filed for Chapter 11.
Enjoy your weekend!