Jun 30, 2014 09:59AM
By Ana Rincon
Did you know that New Jersey has 10,300 farms covering 730,000 acres and is ranked third in the nation as a producer of cranberries, bell peppers, and spinach? Truly a Garden State,we produce 100 kinds of fruits and vegetables and 40 varieties of wine. As residents, we have exciting options for selecting and purchasing food. Consider buying local – you will support your own health, your neighbors, the local economy and the environment.
Eating fresh, organic, locally grown food is getting easier every year. You can find a farmers market in almost every town, and many restaurants are embracing the farm-to-table concept, usingmore and more locally sourced foods. Mainstream supermarkets have allocated additional space to local organic produce, and where local food in markets isn’t available, CSAs or direct home delivery usually is.
As consumers, one adjustment we may want to make is learning to eat in season. While it’s great to have blueberries all year long, we shouldn’t forget that they may have been shipped in from across the country or from overseas. Blueberries in season from the farm down the road will be more flavorful and nutritious than imported ones.
To know what’s in season you can check JerseyFresh.NJ.gov, or just visit a farm stand near you. A directory of area farmers markets was published in our June issue and can also be found online at NaturalAwakeningsNJ.com. In July, expect to see ripe blackberries, red raspberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, eggplant, okra, peppers, and tomatoes. Sweet Jersey corn should be ready to eat from early July through the end of August.
To celebrate the International Year of Family Farmers, Natural Awakenings is spotlighting examples of inspirational farmers across the country. In “Stewards of Earth’s Bounty” on page 21, we hear from Dick and Diana Dyer, who realized their dream to become farmers at the age of 59; Tarrant Lanier, who established the Victory Teaching Farm; and five other outstanding farm stories. We also take a look at the controversy surrounding “Fracking Versus Food.” Regardless of your position on fracking for fuel, questions must be asked and answered about its impact on the safety and economics of our food supply.
Enjoy the summer!