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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Cyclists Embark on First Annual Tour de Farm NJ: A statewide bike tour of the Garden State celebrates New Jersey’s home-grown bounty

Beginning on September 18 and ending on September 22, the first annual Tour de Farm NJ features a dozen passionate cyclists who will zigzag their way from Cape May to High Point in a five-day, 400-mile tour of New Jersey’s farms,sustained solely by the food grown on the farms they visit. The tour is part of an initiative spearheaded by the New Jersey Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and sponsored by Economic Green Solutions of Sparta and Donnelly Industries, Inc. of Wayne.On September 22, the tour’s final day, the public is invited to participate as hundreds of cyclists join the ride and finish at a monumental Farm-to-Fork Celebrationat the northernmost farm in New Jersey. The purpose of Tour de Farm NJ is to raise awareness of the importance of eating local, farm-fresh food and to share the stories of the farmers whose lives and livelihoods are rooted in the rich soil of the Garden State. The entire journey will be documented by a film crew and press team.

RJ Donnelly of Donnelly Industries, Inc., and Mitch Morrisonfrom Economic Green Solutions and a co-founder of the Sparta Farmers Market are the tour’s co-chairs. As Donnellyexplains, “Our mission is twofold: First, we aim to highlight New Jersey’s local food community: our farms, farmer’s markets, CSAs, farm-to-fork restaurants, school gardens, and urban farms. Second, we are calling New Jersey to action. We hope this event inspires people to seek out their local food producers and vote with their dollars. Let’s support our farmers and buy food that is local and seasonal before we just rush to the grocery store.”

The route for the tour’s final day, open to the public for a $25 registration fee, begins at Green Valley Farm at Crystal Springs Country Club, 3621 State Route 94, Hamburg, and concludes at Fair Acres/Kittatinny Mountain Farm, 1339 State Route 23, Sussex. Riders who register will have the opportunity to experience the tour firsthand as well as sample delicious farm-fresh fare. 

The Farm-to-Fork Celebration, restricted to the first 150 people whoregister at $100 each, is a gourmet outdoor feast featuring local, seasonal ingredients as prepared by top New Jersey chefs including George Mandakas of Innova Cuisine; Andre deWaal ofAndre’s Restaurant and Wine Boutique; Dan Rothman of Whole Foods Market NE Region; Joel Cain of St. Mortiz; Brad Boyle of Salt Studio; Kirk Avondoglio of Perona Farms; and Ben Del Coro of the Sparta Farmers Market & Fossil Farms. As Del Coro says, “This event highlights and puts a focus on the current state of New Jersey’s farms while also providing a fantastic opportunity and venue to host people, families and friends for a locavore farm-to-table dinner.” 

Tour de Farm New Jersey is not a fundraiser; its sole purpose is to spread awareness about the importance of local, fresh, farm produce, meats, poultry, milk and cheeses and the farmers who produce them. 

For more information regarding the USGBC-NJ’s Tour de Farm NJ or Farm-to-Fork Celebration,visitTourDeFarmNJ.com. Early registration for the Farm-to-Fork dinner is $50 a person until 8/15; $100 per person from 8/16/ to 9/22. The fee to join the last leg of the ride is $25, regardless of date.

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