Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Just any Peach…A Jersey Fresh Peach!


By Millicent K. Brody

Long awaited, eagerly anticipated—New Jersey’s fresh peaches have arrived. Juicier than ever from early summer rains, and perfectly blushed with golden undertones, they’re appearing at restaurants, supermarkets, farm stands, and farmers’ markets. According to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, the state’s primary source for selecting and handling peaches, “This year’s crop is just what consumers should be looking for.”

“We have a near full crop,” says Santo Maccherone, Peach Promotion Council president. “Cooler weather during bloom did a good job of thinning flowers. Enhanced by timely rainfalls, the fruit size is excellent. With no major disease or insect problems, sunny weather has brought out the sugar to produce nutritious, delicious, locally grown, yellow and white peaches and nectarines.”

The beautiful peaches found at Dreyer’s Farm in Cranford arrive from Circle M Farms in Mullica Hill and Salem. Farmers there also grow white peaches, nectarines, white nectarines, and yellow and white Saturn peaches.

“Our peaches are best for eating, preserving, and baking,” said proprietor John Dreyer. “Be sure to ask your favorite farmer for his peach selection of the week.”

Jersey Fresh peaches are being celebrated with special events and promotions at 13 farmers markets, 26 restaurants, and supermarkets throughout the state. On August 1st, the Collingswood Farmers Market has packed a full-day celebration of “The Peach” with music, story telling, raffles for a peach basket, peach-dish tastings, and more. Throughout the state, participating farmers markets and restaurants have created their own special events.

For more information, visit the NJ Peach Promotion Council website. www.jerseypeaches.com You’ll find recipes from participating restaurants; nutritional information, (a peach contains only 68 calories and is packed with vitamins, minerals, Omega 3 and other nutrients); what to look for when purchasing peaches, and how to handle, freeze and can this versatile fruit.
Want a peachy dinner? Find a restaurant near you that's celebrating peach month!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Jersey: More Than Just Corrupt Politicians



By Brianne Harrison

It seems like New Jersey really can’t catch a break. Just when we start clawing our way toward respectability, some new corruption scandal erupts, and we’re back to being the subject of national jokes, much eye-rolling, and comments of “Of course, it’s New Jersey!”

Which really isn’t fair at all. New Jersey has a lot of good things going for it, although out-of-staters seem to think it’s one giant mob-run garbage dump populated with characters from the Sopranos and the Real Housewives. I grew up in and very near New Jersey, and when I think of the state, I tend to think of charming small towns like Lambertville, where I now work, and Princeton, where I now live. Or Collingswood, Haddonfield, or Westfield. I’m not na├»ve—I know there are lots of non-idyllic places in the state, but the charming spots are out there. People don’t think of small towns when they think of New Jersey—they think of dangerous cities. I’ll admit to falling victim to that once myself, feeling nervous the first time I had to go into Trenton on my own, but what I found surprised me. The area I was in (granted, it was the nice area of town, near the Capitol building) was lovely, and the people were quite friendly. They smiled at me as we passed on the sidewalk. When was the last time someone did that to you in New York?

New Jersey is a small state, which means it’s easy to criss cross it and take advantage of everything it has to offer. You could, theoretically, spend your morning strolling along the Delaware or popping in and out of antiques shops in Lambertville, perhaps sipping a nice, house-roasted coffee from Rojo’s Roastery; then head north and enjoy the nightlife and views of the Manhattan skyline from Jersey City or Hoboken. After you’ve slept off the night’s revelries, you can cruise down to the shore, choosing from a wide array of towns to suit your mood (hip and happening? Laid back and quiet? You’ve got it!) and work on your tan. On our way home, pick up dinner fixings at one of the many farm stands, farmers’ markets, or mom-and-pop specialty shops that dot the state. There aren’t too many places where you could accomplish all this in a single weekend, if you have the stamina.

Does New Jersey have its problems? Yes, but what state doesn’t? New York’s politicians certainly can’t brag about their squeaky-clean noses, but I don’t remember too many “Oh, of course, it's New York,” comments after the Spitzer scandal.

There will always be corrupt politicians out there. Another scandal will come, and we Jersey defenders (or apologists) will roll our eyes and cringe. When that happens, we’ll do just what we’re doing now—smile grimly at others’ jokes at our state’s expense, try to put our faith in the good politicians out there (and we do have a few!), and remind ourselves of the many great things New Jersey has to offer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sipping & S’mores



By Maureen C. Petrosky

Warm nights around a campfire, with twinkling fireflies and glowing lanterns, are about as nostalgic as one can get. Add a great glass of wine and you’re off to a great start to making more memories. Yet, swirling wine with a face full of smoke from the fire pit isn’t my ideal downtime. Here’re a few tips to let you enjoy this summer fun and your wine at the same time. A few lessons we’ve learned to avoid a full on smoke- out:

1) Make sure your fire is safely situated away from your home, and that includes your deck.

2) If you do not have a built-in fire pit, avoid placement directly on the grass. A large piece of slate or other rock base is much more visually appealing than an expanding patch of dead lawn.

3) Don’t burn wet wood. This is sure to force you from the fireside and most likely will smoke out your nearest neighbor, not to mention it’s so not S’more friendly.

Maybe you’ll be congregating with friends around a custom fire pit or simply sharing a log while toasting marshmallows with the kids; either way, the light from the flickering flames and smoky aromas from the fire create the perfect ambiance for a toast to summer.

A Sip For S’mores- Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee, 2007, $22, is a fun pair with warm S’mores. Simply made with Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate, graham crackers and lightly roasted marshmallows, this sweet treat goes beautifully with the Pinot. Together they tasted like chocolate cherry cordials. The chocolate was bitter and the wine had the acidity to take it like a champ- an adult indulgence for the kid at heart!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

120 Years Old and Still Going Strong

image courtesy of noyesmuseum.org

By Brianne Harrison

In the late 19th century, when the art world was even more male dominated than it is now, five female artists--Grace Fitz-Randolph, Edith Mitchell Prellwitz, Adele Frances Bedell, Anita C. Ashley, and Elizabeth S. Cheever—formed the Women’s Art Club after they were shut out of the National Academy of Design and the Society of American Artists. The Women’s Art Club grew by leaps and bounds over the years, joined by such artistic luminaries as Mary Cassatt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Alice Neel. In 1941, the organization was renamed the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA), the moniker it retains to this day.

This year, NAWA is 120, and just as strong as ever as it continues to support women artists through exhibitions, merit prizes, lectures, scholarships, art demonstrations, and awards. To celebrate the organization’s and the artists’ accomplishments, the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville is staging an exhibition of works from 47 members of NAWA. Works run the gamut from painting to printmaking to sculpture by Alice Chan, Judith Cantor, Lolita Bronzini, Eleanor Golstein, Pam Cooperm and others. The show runs through the end of August.

If you can’t make it to the special exhibition, NAWA maintains a permanent collection at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. The collection houses works that cover NAWA’s entire history, from its founding in 1889 through the present day. For more information, visit zamweb.rutgers.edu

The Noyes Museum of Art
733 Lily Lake Rd.
Oceanville
609.652.8848
noyesmuseum.org

Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum
71 Hamilton St.
New Brunswick
732.932.7237

Nawanet.org

Monday, July 27, 2009

‘Tis the Season for Feasting on the Farm


By Pat Tanner

There’s plenty of time to hop on the bandwagon—or more accurately the hay wagon—and feast plop in the middle of Jersey farm fields, on mulit-course meals prepared by top-name chefs using ingredients from the host farm and nearby. Here are just a few upcoming farm-to-fork dinners:

What: Fourth Annual Farm-to-Table Family-Friendly Grill-Out
Dinner, cooking and wine demos, nature hike, hayrides, kids’ games, s’mores around a bonfire
Who: Terra Momo Restaurant Group and Fernbrook Farm
Where: Fernbrook Farm, Chesterfield (northernmost Burlington County)
When: Saturday, August 8, 4-8 p.m.
Why: Raise funds for non-profit Fernbrook Farms Education Center
Details: $29 (or $39 with wine tasting). Kids under 10 are free with an adult. For reservations, phone Eno Terra restaurant at 609.497.1777

What: Sustenance-on-the-Farm Dinner
Five-course meal prepared by Andrea Carbine of Cranford’s A Toute Heure with dessert by chocolatier Diane Pinder and earth-friendly wines
Who: Sustenance-on-the-Farm and Starbrite Farm
Where: Starbrite Farm, Andover (Sussex County)
When: Sunday, August 23, 4-7 p.m.
Why: Support Slow Food Northern NJ’s earth stewardship and food justice programs
Details: $145. For information and to order tickets, visit sustenanceevents.com

What: Outstanding In the Field Dinner
Who: Host farmer, Kelly Harding of Cherry Grove Farm and guest chef Scott Anderson of elements in Princeton
Where: Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville (Mercer County)
When: Tuseday, September 1, 3 p.m.
Why: Outstanding in the Field, which mounts farm dinners throughout the U.S., originated the concept
Details: $180. To make reservations, visit outstandinginthefield.com