Archive for the ‘Harvest’ Category
When both branches of the Millstone River, at #518 and Canal Road, show more pebbles than water
When you can see white rocks, like rip-rap, ringing islands and fringing land along the Delaware River
When the Mississippi River, in an aerial view, is more beige than blue - with surf-like curves of blonde sand like corn-row haircuts and her barges cannot carry full loads, and their pilots describe “the new river”, “the unknown” river when the Mississippi has turned from “The Big Muddy” to “The Big Sandy”
When a meteorologist shows you a pie chart that is 90% hot red, 10% blue - (pie chart representing the year 2012; blue sliver cold extremes; all-conquering red being heat extremes) and she terms this a mere “anomaly”
It’s time to face the C-words: CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE.
When Terhune Orchards reports most fruit crops coming in one month early at least
When any farm stand showed you that our strawberries not only began early, but finished bearing early
When corn was head-high by the Fourth of July, some even tasseling out, now browning, then blackening with ceaseless drought
It’s time to admit “the times are out of joint” weather-wise, as we have been warned for decades, re our ceaseless unremediated carbon emissions
When there is no more soft rain, but only monsoon-blinding-downpours on the heels of waterless weeks
Pollan and Hansen and Gore have alerted us for decades that extremes are the toll we pay for carbon excesses
When hours of thunder and lightning don’t even dampen paving stones out my study window
When trees along local highways, in July, sp0urt yellow brighter than highway stripes and it’s not flowers
It’s time to FACE IT
Not only is the weather severely out of balance in our time — it may well be past the famous tipping point.
What we are experiencing on all fronts is the logical outcome of runaway consumption, ice-cap melt, glacial melt, and so forth and so on, ad infinitum the sky IS falling and nobody’s drawing correct conclusions, let alone turning excess around
As your NJ WILD reporter, I cannot rhapsodize about nature, today, let alone insert pretty pictures.
Nature is turning into a corpse before our eyes, and we’re talking about the equivalent of curls and manicure upon a corpse.
Yes, I’ve been to what’s left of her beauty, a forest here, a river there, kayaking on the canal.
I feel no better than Nero, fiddling while my beloved Nature burns, sometimes quite literally up in flames…
Who is doing WHAT to turn this around?
(to paraphrase Pogo re meeting the enemy) — There is extinction on the menu, and it is us.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?
Winter’s Fruits from Farm Markets cfe
NJ WILD readers know I have been ‘hors de combat’ for some months now, recently remedied with hip/femur replacement. Beginning walks in nature — so glad to have feet on green growing matter and real earth after all those hospital and rehab strolls.
One of the first events I’ll be visiting, of course, will be Indoor Winter Farm Markets - always a treasure to me, as NJ WILD readers know.
Bill Flemer’s Riverside Bluegrass Band at D&R Greenway Johnson Education Center cfe
January 14, D&R Greenway, where I work, will host this constellation of foods, hand-made items, homemade music, and the like.
Brilliantly Crafted and Named Cherry Grove Cheeses at D&R Greenway cfe
Our barn is always a convivial setting for parties - usually art (new exhibit, Textures and Trails, awaits on its weathered walls.) Music reverberates among the ancient beams, most from 1900, some from the 1800’s. Horses, cows, chickens, pigs and eggs once filled the stalls where we now work and you enjoy art and science to further preservation.
Home from Indoor Winter Farm Market - Slow Food/D&R Greenway cfe
This from Jim Weaver, Founder/Chef of Tre Piani Restaurant at Forrestal as well as co-founder of Slow Food Central Jersey. Enjoy and join us! You’ll not only be happier for it, you’ll be healthier, And so will New Jersey land, farmland and her farmers.
New Jersey Farm Market Produce - grown and sold the ‘Slow’ Way… cfe
Contact: Beth Feehan, 609 577-5113, email@example.com
Stockton, NJ: Slow Food Central New Jersey presents an indoor winter farm market at the Johnson Education Center, a beautifully restored barn from 1900, on the grounds of the D&R Greenway in Princeton. D&R Greenway is located at One Preservation Place off of Rosedale Road in Princeton. This market will run from 10am-2pm. Visit www.drgreenway.org for directions.
Why NJ Farmstands, cfe
On February 19th, Tre Piani Restaurant in Forrestal Village in Princeton hosts the Market from 11am-3pm. Tre Piani is the original site where the Markets started seven years ago with Slow Food Central New Jersey. For directions to Tre Piani, visit www.trepiani.com.
Terhune Orchards at Slow Food/D&R Greenway Indoor Winter Farm Market cfe
Saturday, January 14
D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton
609 924-4646 www.drgreenway.org
For more information, call 609 577-5113. For up to date information on vendors, visit Slow Food Central New Jersey on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/279661868722992/.
NJ WILD readers know that, –long ago, when Ilene Dube of the Packet, insisted I create a blog for their publication–, it include nature, New Jersey, Preservation and Poetry.
That last facet has been all too often overlooked, as the urgency of preservation takes over the world and, therefore, my own creative and professional life.
I remember ‘meeting’ wild rice at the Marsh with my dear friend Mary Leck, Botanist of Rider and forever student of/teacher about the Hamilton/Trenton/Bordentown Marsh. It never ceases to amaze me that wild rice is an annual grass, growing to 8 to 10 feet of height each season.
Mary and Charlie Leck, her husband, Ornithologist of Rutgers, –my treasured guides on so many nature walks–, teach me that wild rice is red-winged blackbirds’ favorite food.
Red-Winged Blackbird, Brenda Jones
When D&R Greenway Land Trust was fortunate enough to bring David Allen Sibley to our side, –to share this legendary bird artist and author with donors, trustees and landowners–, David knew to follow the wild rice as we wandered our Marsh in autumn migration-time. We found red-wings beyond counting, bouncing ecstatically upon the laden stalks.
All of this is earth-reasoning, justification if you will, for giving you my wild rice poem.
When it came to me, the sensations were tactile, visceral, auditory, hyper-real. I could hear the water whisper-slipping under the canoe, which was only of birch bark, and therefore not in New Jersey but probably in my native Michigan or my early-marriage Minnesota. I knew the sound of rice falling onto birchbark, as though I had heard it a thousand thousand times. I could feel the silken grains, cascading on all sides.
Picture the autumn nearly upon us.
Settle into your own canoes, of whatever construction.
Look high at first changing leaves, and reach, reach for the wild rice:
I seek a canoe
still on the silk shore
of some broad Minnesota lake
spice on the air
red-gold bittersweet twining
high among lakeside pines
water more green than blue
stiff/supple grasses parting
as we nose our silent way
to that center to which ancestors were led
by Grandfather Sky/Grandmother Moon
we make no sound
in whisper water
every clump of grass
bending in seasonal submission
my paddle enters the lake
noiseless as the sharpest knife
as my partner thrashes grasses
they bend to right/to left
filling his sweet lap
then our entire canoe
with brown black heads of rices
that have never been anything
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!
Le Claire, Iowa’s, Buffalo Bill Museum of Prairie Life and River Life
My sister and I made it to the Mississippi from Chicago’s western suburbs, due west on straight 88, — Farm Central, where the harvest was everywhere underway on every side. Corn is still king, west of Chicago. Farmland stretches to the horizon, so far as the eye can see. In all those 247 miles, there was barely a tree. The cornfields were studded with barns and silos, most barns red, some white. Silos of dun color, of almost cloisonne enamel blue, of metal like spacecraft rose rose among palomino-pale cornstalks, reminding me of my first view of Chartres in her wheatfields. As though we ourselves were pioneers, we arrowed due west until we literally hit the river.
Check-in was swift. We could barely bear to leave our bedroom windows, with the the Father of the Waters stretching unendingly north and south right outside. Eager to learn about the town of our Twilight steamboat embarkation, we drove straight into tiny Le Claire, so I could kneel and touch those waters. The next two days, we would be sailing upon them, on The Twilight steamboat. Tonight, I had to connect on my knees…
The Delta Queen, painting in Buffalo Bill Museum
A sleepy town, Le Claire is bordered by that broad and deceptively sleepy river (which had yet to crest, we would learn). Marilyn and I studied river buildings of a curious characteristic boxy shape; marveled at river pilots’ houses (famous for safely and heroically running the Le Claire rapids, and obviously generously rewarded); checked out riverside Saloons with names like Sneaky Pete’s that, initially, we found somewhat daunting. A Mississippi Brewery was under construction. We didn’t voice our puzzlement - does that mean they’ll use the waters of the Big Muddy?
With my sister and me, however, there is no discussion of priorities when there’s a local history museum at hand. Arriving at the above sign at 4 p.m., we had exactly one hour to learn all we could about Le Claire.
Hurriedly we studied relevant facts about the entire life of her famous part-time resident, Buffalo Bill. But, first, we turned to hand-knapped tools, hunks of obsidian that didn’t make it to arrowhead or spearpoint, exquisitely beaded mocassins crafted for a child, by Sioux and Potawatomi natives to whom this river and its ever changing banks once belonged. Although, of course, with Native Americans, it was more that they belonged to the river and the land - it’s European, this ownership-fixation.
Spinner’s Chair - Wouldn’t Antiques Road Show Love this Three-Legged Treasure?
The venerable custodian of the Buffalo Bill Museum, overhearing our enthusiasms, began to tell us stories. That Buffalo Bill was known first of all for being a crack shot, outmaneuvered only by Annie Oakley, who could put a bullet through a dime, and even through the hole her bullet had made in the dime. That Buffalo Bill was good to the Indians, paying them handsomely for their participation in his internationally known shows, (he disdained the term, you can be sure.) That he only lived in Le Claire a few years, many of them in various fairly primitive log cabins.
Buffalo Bill Life Images in Needlework
We were really riveted by the story of moccasins beaded on the bottom. “For the grave,” our interpreter explained. Nobody’s going to walk on them… Visited a woman just this week who had a pair on her wall. Turns out they were Red Cloud’s.” “‘What’d'you plan to do with them?,’” I inquired of my hostess. Our storyteller waved a languid hand, “O, my son wants ‘em,” was her reply. “‘Those moccasins,’” I blurted, “‘…they belong in a museum!.” There was a long sad silence followed by, “No tellin’ what she’ll do with ‘em.”
As he talked, we trailed from handsome Victorial garments of former residents, past musical instruments used by the famous of the town, over an early fire engine - so red, it seemed to throb. Our mother’s father, Fred Foote of Bowling Green Ohio, had been fire chief in his town. Each day he had to exercise his horses. If there hadn’t been a fire by the time school let out, the scarlet fire wagon would make its noisy way to the gradeschool where Mother and four little sisters waited to be driven the mile they otherwise walked.
For my mother and her sisters, it was a sad day when the fire horses were replaced by such a truck.
Essentials for Turning Milk to Butter in Le Claire, Iowa
When we were girls, our favorite museum was Henry Ford’s, in Dearborn, sporting everything from snazzy cars of other eras (of course), to (OUR) Edison’s laboratory, through the Wright Brothers’ Cycle Shop. Stephen Foster’s home was on some stretch of water, evocative of the Mississippi, I now realize. Most harrowing of all at Greenfield Village was the chair from Ford’s Theatre, in which Abraham Lincoln had been murdered. I think his hat was near the chair, but I can still see that faded red-to-pink velvet upholstery and the dire stains. There was nothing sinister at Buffalo Bill’s museum. Unless you count this travesty of the Red Man:
The Tools That Broke The Prairie
Or, for a preservationist whose emphasis is farmland and native species, these handsome and historic and essential tools, that nevertheless destroyed the sea of grasses that once stretched even farther than the mighty Mississippi.
Hitting the Trail - How the West was Won
Many pioneers, of course, set out from St. Louis, not that far from us in Le Claire. Our Brandywine River Valley claims the invention of the covered wagon - first to keep the flour dry that was ground in mills along the steady Brandywine (steady current meant no lumps), and then to keep the black powder of the French (Revolutionary refugees) the du Ponts, dry en route to wars beyond counting.
Marilyn and I would take off on an historic voyage ourselves at eight a.m.
“The Eclipse”- written about in my Mark Twain “Life Upon the Mississippi”
Ours would not be a paddlewheeler, but in many other respects, these two evocations of steamships in the Buffalo Bill Museum set us off on our journey.
First, dinner would be in order. On land, but as near to the river as possible. But that’s another story.
To Be Continued…
Memorial to Pilots Lost Upon the River
Salem County - Summer Central
NJ Wild Readers know that every so often, I need to run away from home. Not far. Still New Jersey.
You know, I take the dappled roads, to watery reaches, to peace and beauty, where traffic does not exist and there’s no such thing as road rage. Instead, peace surrounds me on all sides.
One of my favorite destinations is idyllic Salem County on the Delaware Bayshore. There, I ride alongside healthy crops, even the soybeans higher than my knees. In Salem County, my favorite signboards, the ones trumpeting PRESERVED FARMLAND are the norm, not the exception. On the Delaware Bayshore, I take every road that says NO OUTLET, because the outlet is the Bay. Or a marshland. Or a meadow. Or a swamp. Or a forest. Or a fisherman’s haven.
I wrote about the fishing haven, Fortescue, last week. Today, I’m lonely all over again for Salem county vistas and history.
Salem County Perfection
In Salem County, there doesn’t seem to have been any drought.
“Beneath the spreading XX Tree…” Salem County - No Drought Here!
In Salem County, peace reigns.
Salem County Peace –Alloway Creek
In Salem County, water is a constant companion.
Salem County - Alloway Souvenirs of Yesteryear
In Salem, history throbs at any crossing; above, alongside and below any bridge.
Hancock’s Bridge Pilings
Over this bridge rushed furious Redcoats, smarting from a recent defeat at a nearby bridge. Whipped into fury over having been conquered by our ragtag and bobtail army, they burst into the idyllic Quaker home of Mr. Hancock, slaughtering right and left, soldiers sleeping the sleep of the just after their recent victory. The Brits did not take kindly to being outsmarted by ordinary people fighting for liberty. Hancock House is open almost every day of the year, where Alicia, the Ranger, will tell the proud sad tale anew, and guests may walk from room to room and floor to floor, even on the Fourth of July, pondering what it takes to win through to freedom.
Hancock House’s Majestic Facade Belies Massacre…
Summer shadows bless Hancock House today, reminding us to pay any price, bear any burden to remain free of tyranny. In this house, the sleeping soldiers sacrificed that which our Founding Fathers were willing to barter for liberty - their lives, their fortunes - but not their sacred honor.
Hancock House - Where Summer Shadows now Whisper Peace
From this peaceful waterway, belligerent redcoats came.
Past an herb garden bearing these very varieties, soldiers rushed, bayonets at the ready.
Salem County Held Swedish Dwellings Such as This, Before the Advent of Quaker brickwork.
Quaker Brickwork Includes Initials of Mr. and Mrs. Hancock and 1734 Date
In Salem County, The Past Lives On
In Salem County, PRESERVED FARMLAND SIGNS Greet Travelers at Any Bend in the Road
Before or after watery wanderings and farmquests, I wend my way into beautiful downtown Salem, which is being courageously and assiduously restored by proud and determined residents.
Jewel in Salem’s Crown is the Salem Oak. Under this majestic tree, the founder of this town negotiated with and paid the Indians of the region for his land. This was unusual even then.
Now that we have lost the Mercer Oak, this may be the most famous tree in New Jersey. It has the shape ours once bore on Mercer Street, purportedly beneath whose boughs General Mercer, though bayoneted, conducted the Victory of Princeton.
To my eyes, the Salem Oak looks healthier today than the last time I was there. What do you think?
Salem Oak - New Jersey’s Most Famous Living Tree?
Across the road, travelers may refresh themselves at the Salem Oak Diner. Even though it has some exotic red-leafed tree on the cover that bears no resemblance to any oak of any species or era. Even though it has red white and blue flags over it now, to urge people to come there.
Under New Management
They never USED to need to urge us. I found out the reason for the changes — why there’s no longer a grilled corn muffin on the menu. Why the motherly and venerable waitresses who know their way around what used to be a unique menu are no longer there. Change comes to Salem County. The first owner was ill, and sold it to a long-time waitress. She kept the old spirit, the heart of the town, the place where all the locals gathered and the many lawyers of the region knew they could come for reliable meals in the middle of complex cases. The waitress sold it to what the Germans call ‘auslanders’, what Cape Codders call “people from away.” Why that should change it, I don’t know. But it did. The food’s ok. The spirit of Salem, however, is no longer palpable inside. There are few enough restaurants in the region, that you might as well stop there if you’re feeling a bit ‘peckish.’
But no longer will the people at the next table plunk down a bottle of ketchup as a poet friend and I finished ordering our food. “For breakfast?!”, we queried. “Oh, you’re not from around here…”, they realized. In other words you didn’t either grow the tomatoes or pack them when Heinz reigned above Salem fields….
They Still Have the Weekly Specialty - Made by a PA. Dutch Cook - one day a week!
We’re Not Only the Garden State - Where the Diner Capitol
The Salem Oak Diner IS real…
But Salem is also known for preservation of its vital farms — Learn from them!
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?
NJ WILD readers know that I choose farm markets for restoration on any number of fronts. The Trenton Farmers’ Market is what my father would call, “The Grandaddy of them All”, showcasing the treasures of our Garden State long before there was that marketing word, ’showcasing’.
When I go to the Trenton Farm Market, my ‘trick’ is to make several circuits.
I ‘eat with my eyes’, up one aisle and down another.
Then with my camera.
I apologize that their hefty, hearty peaches outshine Russo’s truck on the pavement behind. You know I often stop at Russo’s farm. It’s in the Pine Barrens (Tabernacle), and my source for first blueberries from their own bushes, first strawberries from their fields. The last spinach of November comes from Russo’s, along with Pine Barrens wines - Chambourcin a favorite. A major delight is to find bulging bags of applesauce apples outside on a wooden table at Christmastime. You’ll fold three dollar bills for a year’s applesauce into the slit of a metal box. You’ll find Russo’s apples so spicy, it is a travesty to add sugar or even a cinnamon stick. It freezes beautifully, and actually lasts longer than a year, I just discovered.
Then, and only then, with my ’sustainability bags’ and coin purse.
That way I know who has the most luminous corn despite dire drought. Whose tomatoes come from their own fields, more precious than rubies to your writer. Whose onions equal those of Renoir, Sterling Clark’s favorite of all masterpieces in his museum overflowing with Impressionists in Williamstown, Mass.
An interesting facet of the Trenton Farmers’ Market now is that the food shows, the existence of ‘Foodies’ in our midst (interesting that we’re not to call ourselves gourmands, let alone gourmets, any longer…) brings exotics to the weathered wooden stands on either side of strolling shoppers.
New Jersey Exotics
Some of the fruits of last week’s pilgrimage follow.
Words pale beside the jewels arrayed for us by New Jersey farmers.
Rejoice, Nj WILD readers, that we still have farmers in our midst.
My favorite road sign is the yellow and black icon for tractor crossing…
Be thankful for every tractor that still lumbers up one row and down another, turning over rich New Jersey soil for purposes of nourishment and delight — not for yet another crop of McMansions.
Do everything you can to preserve farmland: in the voting booth, at your computer writing to legislators, and especially all year round in New Jersey’s vital farm markets.
Otherwise, Rutgers scientists predict New Jersey will be the first completely built-out state, in close to thirty years (if that). You can alter that prediction by your shopping choices. And, besides, it is not only gastronomically thrilling, shopping farm markets brings aesthetic delight.
Remember, when spinach was poisoning Americans recently, New Jersey spinach was safe and healthy.
The best part is, many of those fruits and vegetables were picked that very morning - it’s as though the dew were still inside those corn husks when you open them for the feast.
Tomorrow, I am returning to the Carousel, to the scent of lavender brushed by hot summerwinds, to the buzz of very happy bees, to Pennsylvania’s soft rolling hills outside Doylestown. Here’s how it was last time. How will tomorrow be different? Stay tuned…
NJ WILD READERS know how I am about preserving and utilizing farmlands…
Provence-in-Pennsylvania : Carousel Farms Lavender
Carousel Farms Barn
When is a farm more than a farm? When it’s a source of lavender, –the color, strength, extent and fragrance of lavender fields of my beloved Provence. Near Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we are privileged to have not one but TWO lavender farms to visit.
For beauty alone, these sites are worth the journey. For scent alone, –admittedly arriving on gentle Pennsylvania breezes, not upon the strafing mistral. One is Peace Valley Lavender Farm, the other is called Carousel.
The pictures are of Carousel Farm, taken last September. This haven is named for stage animals kept there for use on Broadway and at the Met, in those heady years when New Hope and Doylestown were star-studded, literally.
Algonquin Round Table bons vivants visited, bought homes, a remarkable coterie of our most successful artists and writers, residing and createing in Bucks County. They brought along friends, enemies, lovers and family for inspiration in the country. And when they needed live creatures for all those Broadway plays, from Carousel Farm they would come.
Nowadays a man from Crete, whose air is Provencal, instead tends various lavender species. A splendid photographer, from him, you can buy not only true lavender oil, la vraie essence, but also soaps, candles, hand and body cremes [that really nourish the skin while imparting my favorite scent upon earth], as well as this superb photographer’s book of remarkable scenes.
All this and all organic! Open only on Saturdays from 9 - 5, I made the excursion because I’ve bought Carousel Farms lavender products, in Frenchtown, in Clinton, and always been amazed (1) that the scent is that of Provencal lavender; and (2), the products work! http://store.carouselfarmlavender.com/index.html
His lavender products, of two French and two English species of the flower, do not simply just smell good and feel good. Hours later, my hands and arms and anywhere else are still soft, even gleaming.
One of my favorite products, –bought from a farm wagon last September, in addition to creams and real lavender oil–, is their lavender candle. One burns it after certain cooking tasks, such as making soup or bacon… NJ WILD readers know that I love cooking and cooking aromas, but not several hours later. Carousel Farms’ lavender kitchen candle, –studded blossoms of real lavender embedded in opulent wax, in its square tin with the handsome Carousel label–, solves that dilemma.
5966 MECHANICSVILLE RD, MECHANICSVILLE PA. 18934
PLEASE ENTER FROM ENTRANCE ON SHEFIELD DRIVE
Here is the all-too-humble owner’s description from his website:
The Carousel Farm, first established in 1748, has had many lives over the centuries, –once a dairy farm, later a horse farm and, in the mid-20th century, an exotic animal farm.
When we moved to the farm 7 years ago, our challenge was to put our unique imprint on the farm, maintaining its rural beauty, yet enhancing it with something beyond.
Our farm, with its fieldstone farmhouse, 18th-century stone barn and rolling fields broken only by fieldstone walls, seemed the perfect place to replicate the South of France.
Our fields, now over four years old, are nothing short of amazing. Despite our initial worry that the harsh Northeast climate might not be ideal for the project, after testing the soil we carefully selected four varieties of plants, both French and English, and the plants are flourishing.
We have over 15,000 organically-grown plants, each one planted, pruned and harvested by hand. The beauty of our fields is attested to by the many of local painters and photographers who spend their days drawing inspiration from the fields.
Good for the Bees, Good for the Butterflies
As you can tell, we are proud of our lavender fields, but perhaps we are most proud that, despite the striking natural beauty of Bucks County, we have found a way to enhance this historic community with something at once rural, beautiful, unique, and–yes–all organic!
All Organic Means, Good for the Bees
Old Ways Are Best, Where Real Farming is Concerned
Lake Oswego Heaven - Fourth of July Late Afternoon- NJ Pine Barrens South of Chatsworth
NJ WILD readers know that ‘the world is too much with me’, too often. The world of oiled birds and abandoned fishermen’s families waiting for checks so that they may buy toilet paper and dish detergent. The world of catastrophic weather as the new normal. The world of governments’ having changed without dire conditions changing for the better. ["Yes We Can". "Yes We Did". And so what?]
The world in which migrating shorebirds will soon be staging for their southward journeys, expecting to feed in marshes covered in oil the color of rusting tankers, before setting out to cross the interminable poisoned Gulf.
What Will be Happening Soon at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge near Smithville
Next stop - oiled Gulf
Pine Barrens Byways photograph
So I take myself to New Jersey Wilderness to be restored. Sometimes it is enough simply to be there, especially among the Pines and the sands of our so-called Pine Barrens.
Lake Oswego Pines and Sedges cfe
Sometimes I do have to bring back photographs, at least.
Ripening Grapes, Historic Building, Tomasello Winery, Smithville, Pine Barrens cfe
Ideally, farm markets are open and I can return with treasures grown by real people in real soil in our own very real state. Not thousands of miles away, growing stale dead and flavorless as they cross interstates. Pine Barrens markets are rich in foods alive with the best energies of earth, blessed by those who planted, weeded, tilled, tended, harvested and sold them to this eager customer. Foods whose prices are so low, you think they have to be a mistake.
Home from the Markets, July 4 2010 cfe
Here are cameos from yesterday’s trip to the ‘Barrens’. The market for the pristine and slender Jersey asparagus and the first berries is Russo’s. Those berries come to them from nearby Indian Mills. They preside at a key corner in dear little Tabernacle, on Route 532 just slightly east of #206. The last Lenni Lenape, Indian Ann, is buried in the Tabernacle churchyard. I want to wake her up and get her to talk of her life there, teach us her language. Instead, I talk crops with the real farmers of Russo’s.
Freshly Hard-Boiled Organic Eggs from Market cfe
The dark and hearty pumpernickel bread under the smoked salmon is from The Bakery, a tiny place whose origins, in Smithville, are pre-Revolutionary. They used to age the hams and sausages upstairs. I tell my favorite waitresses, “I drive 80 miles for your sausage patties.” The eggs taste like eggs. I mean, you can close your eyes and know what is in your mouth, what is blessing your palate. The coffee is hot, steamy, non-sophisticated (no &*(&^ hazelnuts!), and constantly refilled by joshing waitresses who’ve been there forever. When I first went to the Bakery, its current owner was a baker there. He saved his money and now it’s his. On the walls are antique farm implements, signs for Provisions, “God Speed Ye Plow” and a wooden plow, Campbell’s soup tins of long ago, and saltine tins, and wire whisks and, well, go see for yourself.
The smoked Atlantic Salmon and the avocado are from Trader Joe’s, which store is local if not these food items — but it feels like a farm market in there. That is my highest praise, as NJ WILD readers know.
Pine Barrens Blueberries from Indian Mills via Russo’s cfe
What I don’t have on the table is the blueberry champagne, bought as gifts next-door at Tomasello’s Winery - wine of the Pines. Everyone expects it to be in some way a joke - it is sublime - outdistanced every bottle of Prosecco at a recent dinner party here.
All the way down and all the way back, except of course for 295 and 206, there was no one on most of the roads but us. On the Fourth of July. Try me - try Labor Day. But only if solitude is blessed to you.
Lake Oswego Solitude, Fourth of July cfe
Only if solitude, for you, pushes away that too-much world.
I go to the Pines to watch grapes ripen and peat waters ripple and rare birds feed…
Good news re Refuges about to be funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife for our birds — my beloved ‘Brig’ - Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge near Smithville - point of yesterday’s journey.
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Ocean County, New Jersey – Protect 243 acres of wetlands and upland fringes, the last natural open space on the northern portion of Barnegat Bay. The area provides essential migratory habitat for waterfowl and passerine birds species, as well as several state-listed endangered and threatened bird species.