Friday Foodstuffs 7.31.09: South Jersey Wineries – Our Culinary Secret Weapon

When talking about what food comes from South Jersey, everybody -and when I mean everybody I mean those who know that South Jersey does actually have farms and stuff – knows about our tomatoes. And our corn. And our blueberries and peaches. BUT…

…do they know about our wineries?

And if not, maybe more people should.

I believe that the wineries here are a truly under appreciated culinary asset. Locals and out-of-staters I’ve talked to are surprised when they hear about the number of wineries that exist right now in South Jersey. And the wines that are being produced are getting better and better all the time. Bobbi Lee Hitchon wrote a great piece this week in the Courier Post about the up and coming wine region that is South Jersey; I think you should give it a read.

And then, if you’re more than a bit curious, I think you should come on down to Heritage Vineyards in Richwood next weekend for the Jersey Fresh Wine and Food Festival. As of right now, 26 of the wineries in the state will be there for you to sample their varieties, and most of the South Jersey wineries will be present. Also present will be Jersey Fresh produce and gourmet items. Having been to Heritage ourselves last year, we can say that it is a very pretty and unassuming farm and winery. It’s peach season, so if you tire of the wines you can go out and pick some peachy goodness.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we don’t have to put a paper bag over our heads when it comes to South Jersey wines. Good stuff is being made here. Right now.

Speaking of food and wine (what a segue!)…there’s this Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival thingy going on this weekend. I may have mentioned it before…like last week. From what I hear, ticket sales have been excellent, and some events are sold out; so, if you’re going, just be aware of that you may not be able to get in to some of the activities.

On the rest of the Festivals of Food schedule, we have dueling peach festivals and seafood events. On Saturday, you have a peach festival going on at Dutch Neck Village in Bridgeton and at the Mount Laurel Friends Meetinghouse in Mount Laurel. Then it’s a holy war of seafood treats as both the Seafood Festival at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Stone Harbor and Crabfest at Lacey United Methodist Church take place on Saturday. And let’s not forget the county fairs: Camden County 4-H Fair (7/31-8/2), Salem County Fair (8/4-8/7) and the Atlantic County 4-H Fair (8/6-8/8). More details can be found by using the Festivals of Food link on the right.

For special dining events, let’s start with a Jamaica Independence Celebration on Saturday from 12PM to 8PM at Island Taste Restaurant in Mount Holly. On Monday, you got your choice of wine or tequila: Annata Wine Bar in Hammonton will be having a special Wine Tasting Dinner and La Esperanza in Lindenwold is having a Tequila Dinner. And – Monday starts the 3-day celebration of Jersey peaches by SJ Culinary Events, aka Just Peachy. In addition to these, you might want to check out the Country Concert and Pig Roast tonight at Renault Winery or the
Carriage House Crab Fest on Sunday with special guest Russ Newberry from the popular ‘Deadliest Catch’ show (the show that makes me think twice about eating king crab legs).

If cooking classes and demonstrations are for you, Chef Steve Annable of Chophouse in Lindenwold will be doing a demo at the Burlington County Farmers Market Saturday morning. Then it’s all about the kids: a Kids in the Kitchen: Hot August Nights class on Sunday at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown, followed by two week-long programs at Lower Cape May Regional High School: a Fun Food Cooking Camp for kids Grades 1 to 6, and a Fun Food Baking Camp for kids Grades 4 to 8.

Blogging Out Hunger

Deb Smith of Jersey Bites is working with the ShopRite Partners in Caring program, and a box of cereal will be donated to a local food bank for the first 30 people who leave a comment.

Recipe Rewind

I just wanted to point out that Lisa from Jersey Girl Cooks has entered yet another recipe contest, and this time it’s a Tangy Blueberry Almond Broccoli Slaw, using Jersey blueberries or course. Good luck Lisa!

And in the news…

The fungal disease called ‘late blight’ is hitting tomato crops early this year. Robin at SJ Locavore has a video on her blog about ‘late blight’.

The Port of Cape May is now the fourth largest seafood landing in the country.

Local farmers are finding a nice niche in the growing of herbs.

Nice article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the growth of community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms in the area.

Auctions for groceries? At Big Harry’s Auction in Atco, absolutely.

The factory where a worker died from falling into a chocolate vat is fined $1,151.

This delivery guy gets no tip. And this vending machine employee was just a bit too thirsty.

Hey – nice shout out for Forked River’s own German Butcher! Woo hoo!

AND, don’t forget: today is the last day before the tax increases on wine and liquor!

Enjoy your weekend!

– John


3 thoughts on “Friday Foodstuffs 7.31.09: South Jersey Wineries – Our Culinary Secret Weapon

  1. You are so right about the wineries – Renault blueberry champagne – so good! $15.99 – a bargain for a unique NJ sparkling wine. I really like some of the Alba wines also – I grew up in Hunterdon County! So true – NJ's best kept secret – our great wines!

  2. Thanks for mentioning my article. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll be at the event this Saturday. Hope to see you there.

  3. Jen – glad you support Jersey wines!Bobbi – we're pretty sure that we'll be going on Saturday. Looking forward to it. – John

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