Friday Foodstuffs 5.28.10: Strawberry Love

Before I met farm fresh Jersey strawberries, I was convinced that I hated strawberries.

Those things they call strawberries in the supermarket? They were hard. They were muted in flavor. And crunching down on the seeds? Unnerving. It took mounds and mounds of whipped cream for me to gulp down those dreadful things.

And then, strawberry love found me in a small patch in Silverton Farms in Toms River a few years ago. We went as a family (then only a threesome) to pick fruits and veggies, and to let Julian see some farm animals. Lisa was picking a whole bunch of strawberries, then started to sample them…and lost all sense of reason and logic. She swooned. She couldn’t go ‘mmmmmmmm’ enough. She was overcome by strawberry love.

And then, she insisted that I try one. Reluctantly, I did. And it has never been the same. Now, I love those sweet, juicy and tender little packets of joy. And if a little strawberry juice dribbles down onto your shirt, let it go. The shirt will probably feel privileged to have such yummy goodness spilled upon itself.

Where can you feel the love? You could go to Silverton Farms on Silverton Road in Toms River (A small, certified organic family farm). They say they will have strawberries for the next couple of weeks, so there’s still time. Or, you could head over to Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford for their Strawberry Festival happening this weekend and next from 4PM to 8PM.

Next Saturday, you have dueling festivals celebrating the strawberry. There’s the Strawberry Festival at Wilbraham Park in West Cape May from 9AM to 5PM. And then, there’s the Strawberry Festival at Dutch Neck Village in Bridgeton from 10AM to 5PM.

So what’s going on this holiday weekend? Not much – maybe a barbecue or two…why do you ask? Oh – you weren’t asking me…you wanted to know about food events this weekend, right? Right.

The 2010 Greek Festival at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Anthony in Vineland started yesterday and will be running through Sunday. The food there is good, and the Greek pastries are excellent. Gotta love the ladies at the pastry stand; they’re doing God’s work. You can read about my experience at last year’s festival here.

The Powhatan Renape Nation American Indian Arts Festival starts on Saturday at the Rankokus Indian Reservation (Rancocas Road, Westampton Township) and will run through Monday. It’s not just about art, music and dance; if you want to sample some traditional American Indian cuisine, this is a great opportunity.

On Sunday, Natali Vineyards is having its annual Blues and BBQ Wine Festival from 2PM to 7PM.

As far as cooking classes, this holiday weekend is when the Viking Cooking School down in Atlantic City opens its doors. Saturday starts things off with a Best of Class: Steakhouse class and a Tuscan Dinner Party class. A Best of Class: Casual Dinner Party class and a Fish Cookery class will be offered on Sunday. And on Monday, learn about making Sushi Maki as well as creating that Chicago Steakhouse experience.

Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown will also be open, with Cooking for Couples – Caribbean Cuisine for Couples on Saturday night, and Kids in the Kitchen – Eema’s Boys Brigade on Sunday afternoon.

And in the news this week…

Hilton in Atlantic City is adding some new restaurants as part of their overhaul.

Vineland is hoping to get UEZ funding to help market the new downtown farmer’s market.

Good for Medford: a ‘Taste of Medford’ cookbook will be available later this year.

Not so good for Medford: a worker at the Rustic Grille gets charged with harassment of a co-worker.

Be careful when frying your chicken! A woman in Salem started a stove fire while frying her bird. Thankfully, nothing else caught fire.

And here’s a staggering fact: in 1960, there were 71 dairy farms in Springfield. Today, there are none. Zero. Wow. Talk about an industry that has just disappeared here in South Jersey. I wonder if there will ever be a day when dairy farming will come back here.

And, if you like NJ wines and would rather order them online instead of driving out on the wine trail every time you want a bottle, read this post by our blogger friend Robin at South Jersey Locavore. Then click on the links to quickly let your representatives know how you feel. Don’t delay, because if the Assembly doesn’t schedule a hearing by June 3rd (that’s shortly after the Memorial Day weekend), it won’t happen this year. Act now!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

– John

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9 thoughts on “Friday Foodstuffs 5.28.10: Strawberry Love

  1. You know I am glad you posted this, I had read that the Jersey strawberry window was closed already, so it is nice to know there are some options!When I read 'woman frying chicken' that smell of my mom's kitchen came back like a lightening bolt, lol! She never caught our house on fire, but the electric burners took a beating!

  2. For those in Gloucester County Duffield's Farm in Sewell also has amazing fresh strawberries. You can pick your own or buy them in the market. They're closed on Sunday but you can also pick your own Strawberries at Rowand's, which is down the road is closed Saturday and open Sunday.

  3. Chef E: OMG, your mom's fried chicken was probably soooooo good! I haven't mastered that art yet.Carol Anne: Thanks for the info! Everyone in Sewell, get out there and pick some!-Lisa

  4. I am really enjoying fresh strawberry season this year also. NJ strawberries are so good! Happy Memorial Day!

  5. All these years living 1/2 mile away from Duffields and I still have gone to pick strawberries. I was never too thrilled with them until these year and I can't get enough. I have to have a fresh picked one. We were going to go picking today and then got too busy and were planning on going tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up Carol Anne, I didn't know they were closed but will try Rowand's. It's a sin to live surrounded by so many farms and not take advantange of them. It's so easy to just pick up things at the supermarket but we need to keep these farmers in business. I plan on being so much better this year and shop local.

  6. Just went to Rowands for strawberry picking and was surprised how many perfect berries we found. Must say though that the sweet cherries we picked there were way better. $1.50 a pound for the sweetest, juiciest cherries I ever ate. Thank you for this post, I would have missout on going without it.

  7. ahh i love love love greek festivals. do you know of any ones closer to cherry hill? there's a great one in the lehigh valley that i used to go to when i went.i miss delicious gyros….

  8. Brian – There's the Agora Greek Festival at St Thomas in Cherry Hill every October. Info about this year's festival doesn't seem to be online just yet. – John

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