Winter Can’t Stop The Garden State

Where else but at a Slow Food chapter meeting could you see a guy selling logs to grow your own mushrooms, among other things?  Gotta love that entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s easy to forget that it’s still actually winter here on my beloved East Coast, even though walking out into 50 or 60 degree weather in recent mornings is royally screwing my internal clock up.  Winter is normally the time to batten down the hatches and almost forget what summer is like – to yearn for that perfect sun-kissed ripe tomato while crying into your 80th bowl of chicken noodle soup in a failed attempt to stave off that inevitable cold.

Holing up in our places of residence over winter makes me appreciate meetings like the one Slow Food Northern NJ had a few weeks ago in Morristown, where you almost forget what it’s like to see a large group of people congregating.  And I love that the conversations I overheard there while volunteering dealt with topics such as what the farmer at Good Field Farms serves his pigs and cows over winter, the best way to serve Griggstown Quail Farm‘s mouthwatering chicken and turkey pot pies, and what exactly are nettles in Valley Shepherd Creamery‘s Nettlesome cheese (of which I’m still not certain).

I love that one of the picture captions is "Taking a swim."

It’s so heartening to see how many more vendors we had at this one than we did last year – over 30 in total – with the vast majority being based here in the Jerz.  I sampled an opulent duck fat ciabatta, which is currently frozen in my freezer awaiting the perfect dinner accompaniment, from Nina at Bobolink Dairy & Bakery (Milford, NJ), tangy and sweet apple cider from Best’s Fruit Farm (in Hackettstown, NJ) and decadent organic toffee sprinkled with pecans from Charley’s Toffee (from Mountainside, NJ).  Our state is rich with local food producers, and it’s great that the general public has an outlet in which to see them.

Being at the door, I got to see people coming and going.  For me, there was nothing better than seeing family units come in – often with small children and empty canvas bags – and leaving with grins on their kids’ faces as they snacked on a muffin from Made With Love and hauling newly purchased goodies out in Shoprite bags because they ran out of room in the totes.  Never will I be happier to see a plastic bag.

om nom nom

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