Archive for the ‘Local Food’ Category
Filed Under (Agriculture, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Food, Garden State, Jersey Fresh, Local Food, New Jersey, Slow Food, Sustainability, Tasha O'Neill) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 07-10-2012
Double Brook Farm Autumn Zinnias by Tasha O’Neill
Those of you who know me, know [-- long before my own year in Provence --] that my favorite fragrance in the entire world is lavender. A close second, –with the added benefit of that pungent evergreen flavor–, is rosemary. When I lived in Cannes, lavender honey was the key treat of weekly visits to its marche/market. Fresh herbs were a given, in that land where the mistral infused the very air with rosemary. However, never did I expect to taste rosemary ice cream.
[As a food stylist in Manhattan, there was nothing trickier than photographing ice cream --Robin McConaughy's masterful image of their unforgettable new specialty: ]
Robin McConaughy’s Rosemary-Caramel Ice Cream!
I tasted this remarkable creation, –rich as Devonshire cream, darkly complex with caramel, redolent of rosemary–, in next-door Hopewell, at Double Brook farm. There is no better flavoring for lamb — but ice cream? Splendid, never-to-be-forgotten, and probably unequaled. Even Shakespeare insists, “rosemary — that’s for remembrance.”
Double Brook Farm Fresh Bean Array by Tasha O’Neill
Those of you who read D&R Greenway newsletters and the local media, know well that sustainable farming is alive and well in Hopewell, thanks to Robin and Jon McConaughy. This past Friday, friend and fine-art-photographer Tasha O’Neill attended Jon and Robin’s Friday farm produce sale, our first visit to the farm for that purpose.
Double Brook Farm Hot Peppers by Tasha O’Neill
(This energetic young couple had hosted D&R Greenway’s Down-to-Earth Ball a year ago. Their handsome cattle are carefully moved a prescribed number of times per day, from grass field to grass field, on D&R Greenway’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve off Aunt Molly Road in Hopewell.)
Double Brook Farm Tomatilloes, Tasha O’Neill
THIS day, Tasha and I encountered Double Brook Farm’s raison d’etre, FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE and salumi (exotic meats from their own tenderly animals — Tasha bought lardo and I soppresata) cameras in hand. She was kind enough to send her images this morning, so I’m sharing them with you.
Double Brook Farm Salumi, Slow-Food-Snail-Seal-of-Approval Tasha O’Neill
As we insist, over and over in these virtual pages, New Jersey is beautiful. She produces such spectacular produce, ‘right in our own back yards.’
Garden State Bounty, Double Brook Farm by Tasha O’Neill
Here is Double Brooks web-site — Robin herself could be a fine art photographer: http://www.doublebrookfarm.com/
Double Brook Okra by Tasha O’Neill
Put yourself on Robin’s e-mail list, so you’ll know when the farmstand is open again. When the store on #518 is fully restored and providing this sort of bounty year-round. When the restaurant, on #518, that exquisite red brick home, is brought back to life and its brick-lined paths trimmed and ready for visitors. Tasha and I and I had been invited to explore the flower paths, the herb gardens behind the soon-to-be restaurants. But we “had promises to keep…”, in another dear old NJ Town, Kingston. So we don’t have herb pictures for you.
Robin’s and Jon’s Rubies - Red Onions of Double Brook Farm by Tasha O’Neill
But we do have some of the essence of Double Brook Farm in these new scenes.
Succulent, Tender, Subtly Irresistible Shiitakes of Double Brook by Tasha O’Neill
I am awash in gratitude, as you know, to those who KEEP THE meaning of GARDEN in the Garden State.
Preserved Farm, Salem County, New Jersey cfe
I thank you for reading NJ WILD so often and so studiously. Last month’s statistics included 3500 viewers, most of you staying on for a page and a half, from virtually every country/continent. How can that be? Because New Jersey is beautiful and bountiful, and we’re lucky enough to live and farm-shop here!
Filed Under (Activism, Amphibians, Animals of the Wild, Birds, Brenda Jones, Edward Abbey, Farm Markets, Forests, Hamilton Trenton Bordentown Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, Indians, Lenni Lenapes, Literature, Local Food, NJ WILD, Native Americans, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, Preservation, Sourland Mountains, The Seasons, Trees, Wildflowers, books, habitat, native species, protection, rivers, wild, wildness) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 04-03-2012
“…unreconstructed and necessary wildness…” Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire
Enraged Osprey of Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Michael Pollan in general, and his Botany of Desire, in particular, is one of those authors everyone means to read. I hear protestations of intention all the time, always tinged with a kind of wistfulness. Recently, Public Television gave people a visual taste of this man’s paradigm. For me, the visual alone never suffices.
I’ll go so far as to insist that Pollan is an author to re-read. His subject matter is so unexpected (apples and ‘cyder’, marijuana, tulips and potatoes) and his thinking so original. It’s worth taking Pollan in hand, even if you don’t give a fig about nature. Just for the privilege of journeying with him.
Fierce Flight (Great Blue Heron), Brenda Jones
And savoring his pithy phrases, such as “Plants are the true alchemists.” His lament that now, “It is as though nature is something that happens outside,… as if we are gazing at nature across a gulf.” As he sets out in a canoe in quest of Johnny Appleseed’s seminal (couldn’t resist) journeys, Pollan relishes trusting in the river to take him wherever he wants to go.
WILD DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
In my case, re-reading The Botany of Desire reveals a delicious (pun intended) emphasis upon the WILD.
Trenton’s Apple Bounty, cfe
People can and do tease me for prating of the WILD in New Jersey. In the first segment of The Botany of Desire, Pollan takes an even more unlikely tack — seeking the wild, as did Thoreau, through apples. One of his theses is that Appleseed’s success came because he was not peddling mere fruit, but ‘cyder’ to the pioneers.
West Windsor’s Apple Bounty — cfe
Michael sets the tone with phrases such as “A handful of wild apples came with me” (on his Johnny-Appleseed-Quest.) He insists that “sowers of wild seeds are to be prized.”
Cedar Ridge Preserve Meadow, cfe
Cedar Ridge Wild Mushrooms — cfe
Pollan laments that “we live in a world where the wild places where wild plants live are dwindling.” You’ve heard this line from me in ‘posts’ beyond counting, coupled with urgings to support your local land trusts, especially D&R Greenway, to preserve New Jersey’s wild remnants and to plant New Jersey Natives wherever we can.
Baldpate View, Ted Stiles Preserve, Brenda Jones
Let Michael define “the best of all possible worlds”: “WE’D BE PRESERVING THE WILD PLACES THEMSELVES.”
The next best possible world: “ONE THAT PRESERVES THE QUALITY OF WILDNESS ITSELF.”
Female Harrier Aloft, Pole Farm, Brenda Jones
Male Harrier, “The Grey Ghost”, in ice at Pole Farm — Brenda Jones
The generating thesis of NJ WILD is that the wild exists right in our own back yards:
Wild erupts with the whiff of fox along mown paths of The Griggstown Grasslands. This lovely lofty set of trails, with its compelling Sourlands and Watchung views, awaits but a mile or two north of me on Canal Road, before/beside Griggstown’s Causeway.
Fox Alert, Griggstown Grasslands, Brenda Jones
The wild surprised me last week In burgeonings of wildflowers, deep in the duff of the forest floor, on Bull’s Island in the Delaware. These petite fleurs lifted up the blinding waxy yellow of buttercups. 8 to 10 petals rayed out from yellow centers. These premature spring heralds were nevertheless inviting pollinators. On my hike, they seemed like pieces of eight flung onto the leaf-strewn forest floor.
Why call a delicate plant WILD? Because they arrived there on their own, blooming despite winter on the calendar, pushing through flood detritus that resembled the graphite dust of Thoreau’s pencils. A key quality of the wild is RESILIENCE — New Jersey specialty!
Sourland Mountain Rocks and Water, Brenda Jones
WILD in New Jersey, for me, requires Lenni Lenapes. The land was tended by these peaceful tribes, at least 10,000 years ago. Their vanished presence is palpable on many of my hikes, most especially among Sourlands boulders. Also on trails near Mountain Lakes House, and at Ringing Rocks just across Delaware at Upper Black Eddy. In each case, majestic boulders that render Stonehenge puny rest exactly where they were revealed by water wind and time, before time. The huge stones are frequently encountered in a massive ring. I FEEL Indian councils there, planning tribal actions for the season about to begin. Seasons which, for Lenni Lenapes, triggered travel either to or from hunting to gathering.
Mink at Play, Brenda Jones
In the Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh, the Lenapes convened with selected other tribes, before leaving central Jersey hunting grounds for Shore gatherings. This journey and the seasonal constellation of other indigenous peoples was triggered by natural phenomena. Spring’s took place when pickerel weed pierced still waters like arrows.
New Jersey’s Apple Bounty, cfe
Michael Pollan plants a wild tree in his own home garden. His hope - “that such a tree will bear witness to unreconstructed and necessary wildness.”
What can you do about wildness right now, as elusive winter gives way to spring?
Go in search of it.
Buy only native NJ species for your gardens.
Read Michael Pollan
well, you know….
REMEMBER, WILD IS ALL ABOUT HABITAT!
Rare Box Turtle, Camouflaged in Natural Habitat - Cedar Ridge cfe
Generously support D&R Greenway and other Land Trusts, preserving New Jersey’s wild wherever it exist.
BAHR’S — THE DOOR
In 2010, I gave myself two Sandy Hooks to one Bahr’s, treasuring every moment –
scintillation at ‘The Hook’ and succulence at Bahr’s.
Bahr’s - The Pause that Refreshes, near Sandy Hook
Friends who ‘excurse’ with me and NJ WILD readers know well that a good part of my errantry in New Jersey is food-related.
‘Errantry’ means ‘wandering around in search of adventure.’ I do a good bit of this in Central and Southern Jersey, as often as possible near the waters of our three [count them!] coasts.
My errantry tends to begin and end as a nature quest. But, in the middle, there is memorable food.
Home are the Fishermen, Home from the Hunt: The Long Shot
It has to be good, local, fresh and real. Bahr’s, across that new bridge from Sandy Hook, down at the base of ‘The Highlands’, scores on all points. All during lunch recently, I watched the mate of a returning fishing vessel, docked below my table, lift and dress (well, it’s more like undressing) striped bass after striped bass of a size about which fishermen dream. My waitress confirmed my guess, from sleekness, heftiness, rosiness and a kind of nobility, as to the species of their catch.
Talking later to Captain Mark McColgan, of Sea Bright, I would learn that there had been twelve aboard with fishing poles in hand, with a limit of three per person. They’d filled their quota, waiting in proud and quiet eagerness for fishy treasure brought back from the deep.
A child at the table next to me, –equally rapt at this transformation so prosaically termed ‘cleaning’–, spoke my personal longing: “I want THAT fish.”
Well, we didn’t have ‘that fish’ - buckets-full of luminous bass went home with the happy hunters of the morning, disembarking from the Long Shot.
I’m a sucker for anything nautical — happy memories of sailing on the France, the Mary, the QEII; simpler souvenirs of time in fishing towns of New England, especially Cape Cod, especially Chatham and Provincetown. Bahr’s transports me to simple joys of other eras, other regions — and yet, here it is, pristine, spic and span, by the sparkling waters of the Navesink and the Atlantic Ocean, the scrubby dunes and salt-pruned woodlands of Sandy Hook just across the small waves, as we feast.
View of Sandy Hook from Our Table at Bahr’s
View AT Our Table at Bahr’s
Notice not only my cherished scallops, which are, in effect, just-fried sushi! - luminous within their classic coating, though nearly too hot to eat, and never needing sauce atall. Check out those random real carrots - none of the fake baby sort, tough and hard and dry, curiously lacking in flavor. Every slice of Bahr’s carrots is different, determined by the carrot, not by some machine. And worthy of the journey in themselves. But no, that designation is reserved for their steaming biscuits, which arrive with the beer, puffing clouds of heat as they fall into fragments in eager hands. Not even needing the generous butter. Redolent, delicate, yet hearty. Their potatoes are the red ones, –merry healthy skins still in place–, a few herbs scattered here and there, perfectly cooked, and, again, full of welcome variation revealing their authenticity.
Legendary Biscuits and Slaw, and, oh yes, Yuengling of Pennsylvania
America’s Oldest Continuously Operating Brewery, and not always available
I try, I really do, to order something other than scallops. Cod, for example, although I thought there wasn’t any, any more. Well, they call it scrod, which is so Boston, bringing back other joyous memories with daughters in their college days, alongside other dancing waters. Oysters, but only if they’re not blue points — I’m sorry, I mistrust Long Island as a source for oysters I would want to eat. Once, with Betty Lies, we were given oysters from the Chesapeake that were so savory that we had to stop our intense (usually bookish) conversation over and over, in awe of their meatiness and memorability. My sister’s been with me there, she of the Midwest — satisfying her longing for lobster rolls that she remembers with us when we had our Chatham house on Nantucket Sound.
So often, memory deceives, or is deceived. At Bahr’s, memory is equalled and possibly surpassed.
There is merriment in the place, and a hearty crew always at the bar. Deep laughs at the blackboard ordering us to SAVE CHICKEN/EAT LOBSTER.
There are canned seafoods and stews to take home, and I always think I’ll try them. But they won’t be the same without the ’shining big sea waters’ just below our table.
ONE BELL, ALL’S WELL, BAHR’S, ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS
Then, Back over the high new bridge, to shimmering miracles of Sandy Hook
Driftwood’s Wild Tangle, Sandy Hook
Pristine Flotsam and Jetsam, Sandy Hook
“BY THE SHINING BIG SEA WATERS”, SANDY HOOK
AUTUMN CASCADE, PARKING LOT, SANDY HOOK
PARASAIL PARADISE, SANDY HOOK, LOOKING BACK TOWARD MAINLAND
and this is New Jersey — PRESERVE IT!
Filed Under (Agriculture, Cumberland County, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Food, Garden State, Jersey Fresh, Local Food, NJ WILD, New Jersey) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 14-09-2011
Why Choose Jersey Fresh: West Windsor Farm Market cfe
Cumberland County Fall Farm Bounty, CFE
NJ Wild Readers are well aware of my passion for farms, farmers, farmlands and farm markets.
The legendary Michele Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, gives me willing, even eager permission to quote her recent column on these topics. Because, after all, she exults, “It’s all about education, spreading the word.”
Count yourselves fortunate to have read and experienced the glory of NJ farms in these posts. And support Michele anywhere, everywhere, everyhow - in her campaigns to keep our NJ Green and Garden-y.
Farm Market Central - West Windsor Farm Market, NJ cfe
by Michele S. Byers, Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation
As a recent national poll demonstrated, farms and farming are “top of mind”
for most people who are asked about New Jersey. For years, many New
Jerseyans have been savoring “Jersey Fresh” produce - and appreciating the
tremendous importance of agriculture to our state.
Cumberland County Autumn, cfe
Buying New Jersey-grown fruits, vegetables and farm products has more than a
few benefits. One, it’s healthy. Two, it saves energy on transportation.
Three, it tastes better. Finally, it helps keep farming profitable - and
thriving farms stay in business and keep New Jersey green.
Cumberland County Harvest cfe
Gov. Chris Christie recently approved a new package of bills that reinforce
this link between “buying local” and preserving land. The bills raise the
profile of “Jersey Fresh” and “Made with Jersey Fresh” products and provide
$90 million to permanently preserve more of our state’s fertile farmland.
A Ripeness of Melons, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
One of the new laws requires “Jersey Fresh” and “Made with Jersey Fresh”
products to be clearly identified and displayed in prominent locations.
“Jersey Fresh” was developed by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture
back in 1983 to help farmers inform consumers about the availability and
variety of New Jersey produce.
Cumberland County Decorative Corn cfe
New Jersey grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and
herbs. And although the Garden State is small, it’s ranked in the top 10
nationally for blueberries (2nd), peaches (4th), bell peppers (4th), squash
(7th), tomatoes (8th) and cranberries (4th).
An Apple A Day, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
Only those growers who abide by the state’s quality grading program are
allowed to use the “Jersey Fresh” logo on their packages. “Made with Jersey
Fresh” is a similar program, open to food processing companies that use
products inspected through the “Jersey Fresh” grading program.
Cumberland County Bargains cfe
So if you can’t make it to your local farm market in the upcoming fall
harvest season, you can still help the cause by buying “Jersey Fresh” at
your grocery store.
Cumberland County, Jersey Freshest cfe
Just as New Jersey is a top national producer of fruits and vegetables, New
Jersey’s farm markets are also making a national impact. In the 2011
“America’s Favorite Farmers Market” contest, sponsored by the American
Farmland Trust, four of the top 20 farmers markets were from New Jersey!
Symphony of Yellows, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
The farmland preservation funds approved by Governor Christie will help
ensure that the Garden State’s agricultural heritage continues into the
future. Preserving local Jersey farms means greater food security and access
to healthy food. Less energy is used, and less pollution is produced,
because products don’t have to travel so far to market!
Home From the Trenton Farmers Market cfe
For more information on the nation’s most popular farmers markets, go to
www.farmland.org and click on the “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” link
on the homepage.
Peach Abundance, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
To learn more about Jersey Fresh products, including
recipes and buying tips, visit www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov
Awaiting Vincent West Windsor Farm Market cfe
And if you’d like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious
land and natural resources, please visit the New Jersey Conservation
Foundation’s website at www.njconservation.org
<http://www.njconservation.org/> or contact me at email@example.com.
Filed Under (Agriculture, Bucks County, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Garden State, Harvest, Jersey Fresh, Local Food, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 07-06-2011
EXCURSION TO THE BARRENS
I like to watch old farms wake up
ground fog furling within the turned furrows
as dew-drenched tendrils of some new crop
lift toward dawn
three solid horses bumble
along the split-rail fence
one rusting tractor pulsing
at the field’s hem
just over the horizon
the invisible ocean
paints white wisps
all along the Pinelands’
blank blue canvas
as gulls intensely circle
this tractor driver’s
frayed straw hat
from rotund ex-school buses
long green rows suddenly peppered
by their vivid headgear
as they bend and bend again
to sever Jersey’s bright asparagus
some of which I’ll buy
just up ahead
at the unattended farm stand
slipping folded dollars
into the ‘Honor Box’
before driving so reluctantly
away from this region called ‘Barren’
where people and harvests
still move to seasons and tides
CAROLYN FOOTE EDELMANN
This old farm is Hobler Park, Great Road and 518, Blawenburg
That at the top is a Bucks County Barn
I work in Robert Wood Johnson’s working barn, D&R Greenway Land Trust off Rosedale Road in Princeton
Johnson Education Center, D&R Greenway Land Trust
Bill Rawlyk (Hunterdon County) Farm Blueberries in
D&R Greenway’s Pergola, Summer 2009
There is NO SUCH THING as TOO MANY FARMS!
SAVE GARDEN STATE FARMLAND!
When April is the Cruellest Month - Go to Leeds Point
“I must go down to the sea, again!
the lonely sea and the sky…”
When the tidal urge is upon me, I set off through the heart of the Pine Barrens, in quest of bays and inlets. I relish every inch of that drive, especially alongside tidal creeks and over named ditches. I cross the Rancocas, the only Pine Barrens River to flow to the Delaware. All other rivers lead to the sea. I must re-enter Bayside fishing villages, where oystermen and clam-men and the rest of their noble tribe, bring in real clams and real crabs and real fish to noble structures of other times, beside the briny waterways.
At Leeds Point, my haven, the funky and memorable Oyster Creek Inn, won’t let you order lobster until the these feisty crustaceans arrive with their lobsterman. I’ll savor local oysters on the half shell and attend to each morsel of their bountiful seafood pie. Every moment at Oyster Creek, I feel surrounded by revolutionaries and smugglers and bootleggers and surely pirates of other centuries, who stomped those bare wood waterside floors.
I go to Leeds Point to stride among clam baskets and sneak boxes, photograph buoys and weir nets, to breathe as deeply of salt tang on the air as did the first water creature ever to crawl up onto land.
Overhead, fish crows complain and great blue herons squawk.
Underfoot, already crushed clamshells crush more.
Sunlight sharpens every angle of venerable working fishing village buildings. The same sunlight somehow softens every wavelet.
For centuries, New Jersey Baymen and Pineys have been masters at rolling with punches. In our Revolution, they rowed with muffled oars along the Mullica River to swarm aboard British merchant ships and men-o-war, towing them triumphantly into hidden towns tucked along that river without which we wouldn’t have a nation. Privateers, they were called and sometimes officially so. They’d offload British ’stores’ from captured ships, selling them through Philadelphia newspapers (some of them Ben Franklin’s brainchildren) in ads that can still be read in local historical societies. You know, the ones where the ‘f’s look like ’s’s, or is it the other way round?
TYPICAL PINE BARRENS, BAYMEN’S SNEAK BOX, CAMOUFLAGED
When market hunting was over, people of the Pines and bays would gather pinecones and sphagnum moss, which actually healed wounds upon which tufts were placed as bandages in WW I. During blizzards, they’d carve new decoys by lamplight. In really wild weather they’d fashion camouflage of local, earlier gathered grasses to disguise their flat boats, at home in any tide.
WEIR NETS READY TO SET
Baymen of today remain proud of these hardy skills. They let 21st-Century tides pull new fish into old weir nets. Winter is a time to repair lobster traps and repaint buoys. They know when bluefish’ll be running and crabs a’sheddin’. It’ll be blueberries in June and Cranberries in October. By which time, hunting will tug them again - after the hunters’ mass in St. Phillips chapel on the eve of this year’s hunt.
Never at a loss, the entire upheaved world of the 21st Century has much to learn from the men and women of the SEASONS and the TIDES.
CLAM HARVESTS PAST - April 2011 -
LOBSTER SHADOWS, LEEDS POINT
TOOLS OF THE TRADE, LEEDS POINT
LEEDS POINT FISHING VILLAGE CLAM HOUSE
21st-Century Shell Midden, Leeds Point
SNEAK BOX, READY TO LAUNCH, LEEDS POINT
PINE BARRENS SNEAK BOX, UNCAMOUFLAGED, AND CLAM BASKETS
WORKING FISHING VILLAGE, LEEDS POINT
LEEDS POINT ABSTRACT: CLAM SHACK
COMMERCIAL FISHING — NOT JUST A SPORT
MULLICA PRIDE - LEEDS POINT
TETHERED — HOW I FEEL WHEN I FINALLY REACH LEEDS POINT
WORKING BOATS WAITING FOR SPRING - LEEDS POINT
There is nobility in these structures and these crafts, these workmen, this way of life. Honor resides here, courage and integrity. Baymen and women know how to waltz with nature. She is their partner, rewarding in all seasons, even winter…
STROLLING LEEDS POINT
SUFFUSED WITH SALT AIR
WIND IN THE RUSHES AND THE REEDS
WAVES SOFTLY LAPPING
SUN LIKE GOLD COINS UPON THESE TIDAL WATERS
COME WITH ME -
Find Brigantine Wildlife Refuge/Edwin B. Forsythe, near Smithville
Take Leeds Point Road north and east alongside the fire station when you leave
You won’t regret your time in the village of timelessness!
Sundays are the hardest days for expatriates, even in Provence.
Old Cannes — Le Suquet — from Old Port
It was on Sunday that I most missed family, when I languished without familiar people, views and rituals.
Typical View as I’d Set Out for St. Tropez on Any Day But Sunday
Any other day, I’d be off on a jaunt, –through the Esterel Forest to St. Tropez; up to Nice for real Provencal foods at Lou NIssarda (where even my neighbors in the villa had never been!); over to the Picasso Castle, then the Musee Napoleon in Antibes; a walk out the back way, away from the sea, toward Vallauris; Roman days in Frejus. But Sundays, no. On Sundays, the French were likely to be out on their roadways, with their own unique responses to traffic, signals, signs and laws. On Sundays, I didn’t want to learn new things. I needed something familiar. Hard to come by in a strange land, even one I’d chosen with my entire being.
View From My Cannes Balcony - though I was closer to hotels
In my Cannes life, I quickly learned the only antidote for the homesickness of the expatriate - a very early visit to the Marche Forville in the steep and stony Old Town. The part of Cannes nobody knows - on rue Meynardier in Le Suquet, where I would attend Midnight Mass given in Latin, French and Provencal with dear new neighbors in a matter of months.
What would be somewhat familiar, of course, was food shopping.
What was anything but familiar was the sight of all those farmers, at 8 a.m., literally belly up to bars strung all alongside the old market, downing the local red wine from glasses more like tumblers than ‘ballons’. They’d had long hard drives into ‘the city’ from the country. They had a long day of sales ahead of them, followed by another drive back to their carefully tilled fields. One must be fortified.
Open-Air-Sided Marche Forville, Rue Meynardier, Cannes
It was fortification enough for me to stroll those echoing (open-air-sided) lanes. What always surprised was that the weather followed us IN there. Yes, certain rains - during my first days there, Nice Matin headlines blared, “The Rains of One Month in One Week-End” That was more urgent news than the dire stock-market plunge back home, October of 87. Pompiers - Firemen - were called and called, to pump out wine cellars… I was definitely not in Kansas.
Probably the only truly familiar food was olive oil. The charming man (all the Cannes stall people were charming - real, hearty, hardy, in peasant garb, proud of hands most often in the soil, and eager to share and to teach) asked me what kind of olive oil I preferred. I didn’t know there there was more than one kind. “Well, what kinds are there?,” I managed to ask. He answered at length, and I chose the one with the most beautiful name – ”fruitier”. He absolutely beamed: “C’est mon favorite!”, and gave me the bottle. As in, refused my francs. He had grown and harvested and pressed all the olives that rendered these varying hues and flavors of oil. His full life and pride were in every bottle. Needless to say, I went to him every time I needed olive oil thereafter! Which happened a whole lot more frequently than it had in my American life.
Tomatoes look this ripe in Provence all year round
I knew chevre (goat cheese) - so I went to the chevre lady. “Which chevre to you prefer?,” she inquired, glowing like the parent of a newborn. “What kinds are there?,” I asked anew. This belle dame offered me the chevre of the morning, the chevre of the week, the chevre of last month, or aged. These came four to a squat canning jar; submerged, of course, in olive oil the color of the sun. It was divine. In later weeks, I would try each ‘vintage’, savoring major and surprising differences. What really amazed were “crottins”, which the no-nonsense Provencals loved to offer to foreigners, because “crottins” are goat droppings - in other words, smaller rounds of chevre.
Next came the honey lady. “I would like to buy some honey, s’il vous plait,” I began. You KNOW what she asked. You know my response. This savvy apicultrice took me on a tour of the products of her very mobile bees. Acacia, I remember, and wild flowers (des fleurs sauvages), orange blossom of course. Absolutely new to me, and irresistible forever was lavender honey. Milky in color, slightly granular and yet so smooth - I who never put honey or sugar in tea or coffee, who don’t even LIKE sweets that much, could not sip tea at home from that morning on, without lavender honey.
You would think shopping for chicken for Sunday dinner would be normal (same word in French), familiar. Wrong! I had to wait for the chicken lady to finish her previous transaction (actually, I really wanted to buy her eggs.) A man bought a chicken. It was alive. She tied its legs together. After weighing it and the exchange of francs, she handed it to the man who walked out of the market, chicken flapping like an upside-down angel, until he faded from sight in the increasing crowd.
Very obvious foreigners were rare in the Marche, except for the date sellers. Childhood’s had come in long gold packages from my California aunt, the only good cook in that (former Ohio) family. Her dates had a kind of skin that was papery, a little unpleasant to little girls’ tongues. We usually chopped Aunt Helen’s dates into ‘her’ cookies or ‘her’ date/nut bread. The dates of the datesellers of Cannes came on a long gold stem, fresh from the tree! I had to have a golden string of dates- even though it looked like a life supply. When I sampled the first one, back home on l’Observatoire hill, the fruit was stunningly moist - as though the honey of my new apicultrice had somehow been infiltrated into these strange brown things.
Lavender Crop at Abbey of Senanque - which I did visit, but not in Lavender Time
(all pix from internet - not easy to come by old Provence nor La France Profonde…)
Fish - o.k. — Cannes is a working fishing port. I love fishing villages. This should be familiar. No, indeed! The small fishing boats of my new town, –brightly colored, very Van Gogh–, were only out for a handful of hours. The men would arrange their catch upon oilcloth, UNDER which was ice. The fish came from salt water, you see; Provencals insisted it dies in fresh water - loses all flavor, than which there is no greater crime in France. Each fisherman’s table was right out of Cezanne’s The Card Players – rickety dark legs, the top small and square.
A slendr tuyau, tube, drained meltwater from invisible ice into a bucket that had seen better days. Each fish table looked like a relief map of the mountainous region between Cannes and St. Tropez, without the cork oaks and the stunted pines. Lying on the mountains and slanting down into the valleys were fish. Only they didn’t lie. They actually leapt! into air, flipping bright tails, arching supple necks. Sometimes launching themselves right off that cold oilcloth and onto the Marche floor.
The Old Port, the hill of Le Suquet
There was absolutely not one whiff of what my daughters had called, wrinkling their pretty noses, “eau de fishmarket.” On the contrary, a hint of sea breeze was the present at best, ever enticing. No fish fresher. Living bouillabaisse.
By this time, my string bags were cutting into my fingers. If there were a wind, let alone a mistral, it would be whipping around my ankles, chilling feet and legs despite serious walking shoes and thick socks. Time to return to the car. (that tiny little, tinny little, expensive Renault, then Peugeot which passed for a car…)
First, however, to read with my Sunday meal - a new copy of Nice Matin. In the kiosk outside the Marche, I stopped to buy the paper (they don’t have Sunday papers on Sunday in Provence.) The venerable woman behind the cashregister, also waved away my francs. “Mais, pourquoi?”, I protested.
“Vous etes Americaine. Vous avez sauvez nous,” was her heartfelt answer.
“You are American. You saved us.”
I wasn’t homesick any more.
Filed Under (Adventure, Local Food, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ State Parks, Nature, Nature Writing, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Pine Barrens, Preservation, The Seasons, books, native species, protection) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 13-10-2010
Howard Boyd, who has written books on the plants and animals of the Pinelands, makes his way up an observation deck overlooking old cranberry bogs.
Howard Boyd doesn’t hear well these days, but that doesn’t stop the naturalist from asking questions.
He wants to know exactly how many acres are in the newest tract of the sacred Pine Barrens land. He wants to know how the old cranberry bogs are being returned to their natural state. After collecting information and cataloging species in the Pine Barrens for half a century, he wants to know more.
Boyd was standing on an elevated platform with Louis Cantafio of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, overlooking the bogs and a reservoir at the new 9,700 acre Franklin Parker Preserve, the former DeMarco cranberry farm. He was getting a tour and a key to the gates of the preserve, so he could come and go as he pleased.
“If it weren’t for Howard, there would be no Pine Barrens,” said Cantafio, a Ph.D. conservationist. This may be true. If the body of ecological science Boyd and people like him discovered was never publicized, the Pine Barrens might well have been sprawled upon and the federal Pinelands National Reserve wouldn’t exist.
“There is a uniqueness to this place. The acidity of the soil, and lack of nutrients in the sand, force vegetation that you don’t see in other places,” Boyd said. And that attracts weird bugs, all of which Boyd has cataloged.
As Cantafio answered his questions, they watched a bald eagle perched on a distant stump, its regal white hood almost luminescent against a backdrop of gray water and green scrub pines. Another eagle flapped by, not 20 feet over the water. This one all brown.
“That’s an immature one,” Boyd said. “It takes about five years before they go white.”
Howard Boyd turns 96 this week, He doesn’t get into the woods much these days, not that he’s incapable. He still drives the flat Pine Barrens roads like he did at 60, doing 60.
Howard Boyd talks with Louis Cantafio of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pinelands.
“I better watch my speed,” he said, riding through the village of Tabernacle on Route 532 in Burlington County, where he lives.
He still knows exactly which sandy dirt road leads where, slowing down his old forest green Honda enough to lessen the bounce of ruts and point out some not-so-obvious plant species. And he still dresses the part: layered plaid-on-plaid woolen shirts — the quilted one on top — work pants and heavy black shoes. The top shirt, and his green field cap, are as weathered as their owner.
“I’ve probably been on 80, 90 percent of the trails in here,” he says. “Look hard enough, you always discover something. There’s always something new to see.”
After decades of discovering and exploring and collecting and studying, Boyd wrote the naturalists’ bible of the Pines. “A Field Guide to the Barrens of New Jersey” (Plexus) was published 20 years ago. It is an illustrated catalog of most everything that flourishes there. There are thousands of entries, beginning with algae and fungi and liverworts, and working up the ecological food chain to fox and deer and eagles. Man’s history, and industry, from Colonial bog iron to modern cranberry production, is also documented.
His latest, “The Ecological Pine Barrens,” came out in 2008 when Boyd was 93. That one was subtitled “An Ecosystem Threatened by Fragmentation.” It is dry science, but necessary to keep the place 100,000 tourists will find unspoiled when they descend on Chatsworth next weekend for the annual October Pinelands cranberry fest.
“I stay away from that. Too crazy,” Boyd said.
At the Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store, which is a Pine Barrens gift shop and book store, owner R. Marilyn Schmidt keeps Boyd’s books in stock for the serious ecological tourist. It is surrounded by Pine Barrens folk tales and ghost stories, and picture books and casual memoirs. But the heavy stuff, the bibles? They’re Boyd’s.
“He is a remarkable man,” said Schmidt, an author herself. “No one has accumulated his knowledge.”
A bald eagle sits on an exposed stump in a reservoir at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pinelands.
There will be no more Boyd books.
“Oh, hell, no,” Boyd said. “It’s too much work. I’m cleaning house now.”
Boyd’s wife, Doris, died last spring, after 71 years of marriage. Some things you can’t catalog, like a lifetime spent together. Other things, you have to find a home for.
“I’ve been a naturalist my whole life,” said Boyd, who grew up on a farm in Billerica, Mass., and got every nature merit badge as a Boy Scout. In 1938, he got a biology degree from Boston University, with a concentration in botany; 41 years later came a master’s in entomology from the University of Delaware. He has a university-worthy library.
His rare entomology books are going to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. His personal papers will be archived in the academy’s department of entomology.
In this, his lifetime of knowledge is preserved, like the land he explored and studied, and loves.
And there will be one more piece of the Boyd legacy.
A new generation of entomologists studying Pinelands insect life have discovered a new variation of the Crane fly. It will be named after Howard Boyd.
Filed Under (ART, Adventure, Agriculture, Birds, Cumberland County, Delaware Bayshores, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Fishing, Food, Garden State, Local Food, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ WILD, Oceans, Preservation, Solitude, The Seasons, Tranquillity, protection) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 13-09-2010
Help Yourself Heaven - Salem County, New Jersey
NJ WILD readers know what has to happen, “when the world is too much with me, gathering and spinning…”
I must take myself off to New Jersey beauty and solitude, in this case some of our Land’s Ends.
Thursday morning, I ‘flew the coop’, heading to the Delaware Bayshores. It was a scintillating day upon which to snatch a bit of Labor Day Weekend, before it officially opened to the rest of the world.
90-some miles from my Canal Road door, Salem and Cumberland Counties beckoned. In a matter of hours, I had made the most of our least known ‘maritime provinces.’ A few pictures follow - other posts are ‘brewing’…
Enjoy scenes of tiny Fortescue, on the Delaware Bay. Those waters knew a storm was in the offing. Humans did not. Sunbathers and fishermen fringed the last stretches of New Jersey land, as though sun and summer would last forevermore.
“Old Fisherman Crossing, Creek Road.”
When I’m near signs like this, I know ‘I’m not in Kansas any more.’
Fishermen’s Quest — Higbee’s Marina, Fortescue
Gull Heads into Pre-Earl Winds
Sun and Summer Last Forever
Fortescue Stilt Houses — Horseshoe Crab Heaven in Late May
The Brooding Bay Knows Hurricane Earl is Coming
Fortescue is birders’ heaven, especially in spring - when horseshoe crabs tumble ashore to lay eggs by the millions. This narrow strip of sand, –along with a handful of others along the Delaware Bay, including Reed’s Beach–, must nourish the last of the red knots, surviving ruddy turnstones, laughing gulls beyond counting.
Arctic journeys await knots and turnstones. If they cannot fatten sufficiently on these delicate sand bands, these shorebirds either cannot reach their breeding grounds, or cannot breed when they arrive.
We don’t see these rarities in obvious swarms in autumn migration. This year, they face the peril of oiled marshes surrounding the battered Gulf of Mexico.
Salem County is mostly agrarian, then, abruptly maritime.
A handful of hours in her green, then along her sand and blue reaches refreshes, me as though I’ve been away for weeks.
Give the Delaware Bay a try. Nobody seems to realize -
New Jersey is the only state with three coastlines…
On my way back to the ‘mainland’, and on over toward Cumberland, I stop at a Help-Yourself farmstand for pristine, luminous produce.
It’s because of Salem and Cumberland that New Jersey remains the Garden State. Keep them that way.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LAND TRUST, such as D&R Greenway, which has preserved over two thousand Salem acres recently, keeping New Jersey GREEN.
Art and Freshly Harvested Tomato on my D&R Greenway Desk
Produce Fresh from Bill Rawlyk’s Farm for Staff at D&R GReenway’s Kitchen
Bill Rawlyk Blueberries One Hour Old -
on bench in D&R Greenway’s Meredith’s Memorial Garden
The Barn in Princeton from Which we Save Land in Seven New Jersey Counties
Filed Under (Adventure, Agriculture, Delaware River, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Food, Garden State, Harvest, Local Food, NJ WILD, New Jersey) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 31-08-2010
New Jersey’s Mantra:
My beloved New Jersey has food markets that attain the heights of art museums, for me, with the additional joy that one can bring home their art and enjoy it in one’s own rooms, share it with friends, nourished at many levels by the experience and the art — including the aesthetic.
Some weeks ago, my food-writer friend, Faith Bahadurian, and I made good on a long-time promise to explore the Stockton Farm Market. She’s written beautifully about her experience there, in her Packet blog, NJ SPICE. [I chose NJ WILD to link to Faith's clever title.]
Cheery Stockton Market Entryway in Spring
I did not try to cover it then, because her reportage was more essential, more factual, and, frankly, far more thorough than my impressionistic response would have been.
Rudimentary Food Display of a Friday at Stockton
Now, I have been back to the Stockton Farm Market with my other food-writer friend, Pat Tanner. Pat and I chose a Friday afternoon (open 1 to 7 p.m. now), whereas Faith and I had breakfast at Meil’s, then entered this Artful Market early, before the day’s heat could descend. On Saturdays and Sunday’s Stockton Market is open from 9 to 3 or so, and truly worthy of the journey.
Appetizing Possibilities at Stockton, Spring
Pat and I lunched at Meil’s after visiting the Highland Co Gourmet Market (343 County Road 519, Stockton, 908-996-3362 turn Right at the Rosemont Cafe) — famous for its resplendent Highlands cattle - orange fur and long horns. When I first encountered these beasts in Cornwall, in a quest for Dozmary Pool (where Sir Bedivere was to jettison King Arthur’s sword), I answered my baffled photographer friend’s, “But Carolyn, what are those?!” with a quick, “I think they’re wooly mammoths.” As it turns out the meat of HIghland cattle is renowned, which Pat and I will discover as we cook our gustatory treasures this week. I’ve already sampled their Shepherd’s Pie, from the Faith trip, when we went to Highland AFTER Stockton, finding it hearty, generous, succulent and memorable.
Proud Family of Highland Cattle, Highland Co. Farm Market, Spring
The Highland Market is unique in the excellence of its accoutrements, as well as the ruddy beauty of its freshly cut meats. The finest handmade pasta, the best bean soup package I’ve ever used - [I am now famous for it at D&R Greenway because I took it in when it was still soup weather. Even now, people sail past my desk, murmuring, “I miss that bean soup!” Glorious olives which brightened my first major dinner party in the new apartment - vivid colors, hilarious title: “Sexy olives”. Valley Shepherd cheeses. A plain real handmade angel food cake in the bakery department. Chatty, homey people to wait on you who are eager to share, and who seem to know all the other customers by name. Most amazing, a wine section divided as Cool Vines is, by qualities of the wines. So, under “Rich and full”, or “Fruity and Refreshing”, signs of that ilk, I can find my favorite red, such as Chateauneuf du Pape, then learn what wines of other lands would be like that. Or my current white, Pouilly Fuisse from several negotiants, and their American, Chilean, Australian, etc., counterparts. Pat’s more up on wines of other lands than I — France is my limit. Both of us spent an intense interval in there, as though we were scholars in a library.
‘Wooly Mammoth’ of Highland Farm
Each of us came out with our Princeton Library red bags full. Her bill was around $30, mine around $40. — and mine went from a hearty steak I had them cut vertically so I could freeze for two thick rich adventures into Highland beef, through merguez sausages, essential to memorable cassoulet, through another Shepherd’s Pie, hefty container of just ground beef (”ground everything”, said our helper, and we knew that would mean flavor.)
Hearty Beef of Highland Market at Stockton Market
Other treasures at the Highland Market, which were echoed at Stockton later that afternoon, were the unique, flavorful, grass-fed-cow cheeses of Valley Shepherd.
Valley Shepherd Cheeses at Highland Market, at Stockton
And the luminous, multi-faceted olive oil of Italy to taste, to take home.
Italy’s Olive Oil to Taste, to Take Home, at Highland Market, at Stockton
Pat Tanner and I agreed, over our savory (too bountiful) lunch at Miel’s, that there is no better appetizer than browsing among our state’s local produce and meat, displayed at the hands of committed growers and purveyors:
Tomato Richesse, Stockton
At dinner tonight with two other food pilgrims, the topic of unhealthy food came up - an egg recall, a ground beef recall. I recalled when I bought meat loaf mix at WEGMAN’s, of all places, only to be advised by e-mail, AFTER I’d made and eaten some of the meat loaf and frozen the rest, that I “May have purchased contaminated meat.” That was the end of supermarket beef for me. I also recalled that, when spinach was poison all over everywhere, New Jersey’s was fine, especially that of the PIne Barrens.
I remember having to drive all over everywhere to find raw milk for my younger daughter, in the 1980’s. And I would give ANYthing to be able to buy raw milk cheese. This is a start…
Pastured Chickens! Hurrah!
OK, everyone knows it’s wise to buy local, save gas, save pollution, support our local farmers. But how many realize the sheer aesthetic pleasure of farm market shopping. To say nothing of the joy of talking to the people who planted and tended and harvested whatever I am buying. Safety is important, yes. But other factors really matter to me. Nutrition - the closer the fields, the more alive the food. I am more alive in times of harvest, because my food has its own vitality. Flavor - well, Garden State gardeners and shoppers know, NOTHING compares with OUR tomatoes, warm from the vine.
Tomato Heaven, Stockton
We will ACHE for these scenes in a matter of weeks!
Other factors delight at the Stockton Market — the hearty handmade baskets, the equal of any I ever saw in childhood in northern Michigan, made by the Indians. Glass Gardens, tiny and healthy and vibrant, and not expensive. One cluster of greenery hides a fox. Another reveals a quail. Christmas Present Central - but this day I was there for food.
Handsome, Capacious, The Art of the Future, Stockton
Glass Gardens, Stockton
If any NJ WILD readers are suffering from jaded palates, Stockton is the place to take leaps to new levels of gastronomy:
Rainbow of Carrots
Weird Beans, Stockton
Baker Will Be In on Saturday and Sunday
also the seller of my favorite cremes and lotions and wild lavender of Provence, from Carousel Farm. And the chocolatier about whom Faith Bahadurian raved and with good reason. And the fishmonger. And the Barbecue Man… The bee honey and beeswax candle man… The mushroom man… and not in ‘Drury Lane’ - in Stockton New Jersey, on our Delaware River - reminding us all, we are all in the Delaware Valley, the Delaware River Watershed, and deeply enriched thereby.
Here is the Lesson for Us All:
NO FARMS/NO FOOD — NEVER FORGET!
NOT OBVIOUSLY LOCAL, BUT FASCINATING:
Exotic Flowers at Everyday Prices - we may as well be in Hawaii!
Find your local Farm Market - What Adventures are You Having?