Friday Foodstuffs 9.10.10: Tour The Farms of South Jersey…Except for Ours

Our front yard garden is starting to close up shop for the year. Despite mold and damaging buggy invasions, our garden produced quite a bit of food for us. Here’s the report on what we were able to harvest over the summer:

Our cucumbers and tomatoes were the clear winners in terms of production. It was the best year we have had for growing tomatoes, which have always run into some kind of blight or lack of sunlight issue for us in the past. And the cucumbers just didn’t quit for a while there.

The zucchini got off to a great start, but then bugs attacked the main stem of our plants and really crippled them. We did not get a plentiful supply, but the plants were able to produce enough for us to enjoy.

While we were happy with our string bean plants, we realized that we needed to plant more to get a good supply of them. I will say this: the sweetness of fresh picked string beans is something that store bought beans can never duplicate. There’s simply no comparison.

Our herb plants, by and large, did very well. Our mint plant flourished, which forced us to have to make more mojitos (such a hardship, I know). We were a bit disappointed with out basil plants, which we usually have no problem in getting ample supplies.

The onions and shallots seems to be growing just fine, but then when we pulled them out of the ground they were, erm, a lot smaller than we expected. Still very tasty, though. Our watermelons were also a bit on the small side but still were pretty sweet – and they actually got better the day after we chopped them up, which was surprising to us.

The big disappointments this year were our carrots and pumpkins. The buggies that attacked our zucchini plants also did a number on our pumpkins. The plants produced flowers but no fruit. And as for our carrots…let’s just say that the pathetic little things we pulled out of the ground looked remotely like carrots, but certainly didn’t taste like carrots.

Would you like to enjoy some of the beautiful farmland here in South Jersey? Here are some events that promise to be much more enjoyable than our carrots. If you love cycling, there is an event that’s starting tomorrow morning Vincentown. It’s the South Jersey Tour des Farms, and it starts at The Jack Allen Memorial Early Country Living Museum on Landing Road. Over the course of the day, you can visit as many as twelve different farms, depending on which route you feel like taking.

If all that riding seems a little too much like work, how about a nice Feast in the Fields? Spinalla Farms in Winslow will be holding their feast on Sunday starting at 4PM, with the food being prepared by Scaturro’s Restaurant in Marlton. You must buy tickets for this event in advance, so give them a call at 856.985.4560.

With the change in the calendar to September, and with the weather starting to (finally) get a bit cooler, it’s time to start thinking about fresh apples. Mood’s Farm in Mullica Hill will be holding it annual Apple Festival on Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. The move towards the fall also marks the time for harvest festivals, and Amalthea Cellars is having its Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday from 1PM to 6PM. It’s free to attend, and only $12 to enjoy their Italian buffet.

The rest of the weekend goes thusly:

The rest of Saturday’s events include the Wood Street Fair in Burlington, a Taste of Medford at Freedom Park, and the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Amphitheater at the Burlington County Library in Westampton. Sunday’s events take you to the shore for the Beach Plum Festival at Island Beach State Park and the Seafood in Seaside Seafood Festival on Grant Avenue in Seaside Heights.

Here’s your farmers’ market report…

Farmers’ markets are starting to wrap things up for this season, but there are still events that will be a-happenin’. Got a tasty apple recipe and a competitive spirit? The Woodbury Farmers’ Market is having an apple recipe contest next Friday.

Chef Nunzio Patruno will be having a cooking demo tomorrow at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market. There will also be a cooking demo from Chef Vipul Bhasim of Coriander tomorrow at the Burlington County Farmers’ Market.

What’s the cooking class schedule this weekend? Why you looking at me? Oh yeah, because we have a list of cooking classes. Heh heh…silly me.

Today you have Best of Class: Cocktail Party and Date Night: Enchanted Evening at the Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s in Atlantic City and Bon Appetit: Lessons in French Techniqueat Sur La Table in Marlton.

Tomorrow’s classes include a Pizza Workshop and Sous Vide Cooking at Sur La Table as well as a Steak Workshop at Viking Cooking School.

And for Sunday, enjoy Family Fun: Brunch with Grandma and Grandpa at Sur La Table, Kids in the Kitchen – Breakfast for Dinner at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown, and the Foods of Italy at Viking Cooking School.

And in the news this week…

Jersey is now under a drought watch due to the dry summer we have had. Check out Robin’s post with some water conservation tips over at South Jersey Locavore.

The storms back in May, not the current drought conditions, caused enough damage to local farms that federal assistance has now been made available to six different counties in South Jersey.

Meanwhile, more farmland is being preserved in Burlington County.

A&P pulls out of a deal to set up shop in Atlantic City, which has not had its own supermarket since 2006.

A bit of a scare for the soon-to-be Landis Marketplace: a debris fire in the back of the building. Thankfully, there was no serious damage to the building. (Nice reporting by Alex from A Food Coma, by the way).

Pizza boxes find a new use: concealing illegal drugs.

Would your kitchen pass a restaurant health inspection? Here’s an interesting study that was done out in California.

Here’s an article in the Asbury Park Press about Chef Tom Griffiths, Campbell’s new head chef.

And a window table at BridgeTowne Restaurant gets a special dedication to the late Ronald “Blue” Bowman, a local businessman and counselor who helped many young people through difficult times.

Have a great weekend, and take a moment to remember those who lost their lives nine years ago on that horrific Tuesday. May we see a day in our lifetime where we truly believe that on a round planet there is no choosing of sides.

– John


4 thoughts on “Friday Foodstuffs 9.10.10: Tour The Farms of South Jersey…Except for Ours

  1. What kind of string beans did you plant? After last summer's disasterous bush bean experiment, we decided to forgo the string beans. I do love fresh beans, though, and would like to try again.

  2. I have no idea,lol!We got them from a local organic farm, and they do quite well, despite some periods of neglect. Julian had a bean plant from school that did really well- until we planted it!-Lisa

  3. Tomatoes and cucumbers were the winners over here in Atco as well. Everything else has been pulled up…I sold alot of basil this summer, which is cool and some oregano.My front flower garden is starting to look rough…getting ready for hibernation.

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