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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

July 2012

Jun 26, 2012 07:22AM ● By Ana Rincon

I’m envious of my friends and neighbors who have the patience and knowledge to grow their own vegetable gardens. They spend many happy hours outside and are exceedingly proud of their harvests. And I am exceedingly appreciative when they share.

Although I am able to keep a few indoor plants alive, my flower beds are perennially weedy, and real gardening — of food — intimidates the heck out of me. There seems to be so much to learn about: timing and soil, fertilization and seeds, watering, harvesting, pest and deer deterrence.  Luckily, there are many gifted farmers nearby — friends, neighbors, and professionals — so I can still eat farm-fresh without growing my own.

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, we did not garden.  Even my grandparents, who lived in a more rural area, usually bought their vegetables at the supermarket. Only occasionally did we take a trip out to a roadside stand to pick up ripe tomatoes and freshly picked corn.  I remember those trips intensely, though. We would pile in the car on a warm summer afternoon and head out toward the small Ohio town where my grandmother grew up. She knew which stands had the best produce, and how to choose the sweetest corn, the ripest tomatoes, and juiciest peaches and plums. The dinner to follow was equally memorable, and usually ended with one of her fruit pies à la mode.

The easiest way to re-create that here is to head off to a local farmer’s market or your favorite farm stand.  Not only do they have the freshest produce around, but many offer specialties such as local honey, baked goods, cheeses, jams, eggs, wine and naturally raised beef and pork.  I’m pleased to present a Farmers Market Guide this month on page xx. The markets are open throughout the summer, and some into October or November.

We’ve paired the Farmers Market Guide with our Conscious Eating article (page xx), which features backyard and picnic foods that you can prepare with your farmers market haul. We don’t include my grandmother’s pie or southern fried chicken, but our recipes are healthy and equally delicious.

Other articles to help make your summer healthy and happy discuss natural summer skincare, Fourth of July kids’ activities, and our FitBody column about the inner game of tennis.

Enjoy, and make some great summer memories!

Ana

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