Listen – I don’t want to rain on the parade of Jersey asparagus, because that’s pretty awesome as well, but I get really excited when I hear that strawberries are coming to market. And it looks like that moment has arrived! Not to be snobbish about it, but the only strawberries that I really like are fresh Jersey strawberries picked and eaten the same day. If you’re like me, or if you just like strawberries period, then it’s time to load up. Sparacio’s in Bridgeton have their strawberries ready for purchase, as well as Springdale Farms in Cherry Hill. You will be able to pick your own at Springdale at the end of the month. I checked with our favorite local organic farm, Silverton Farms in Toms River, and they will also have strawberries ready for picking by the end of May. If you can’t wait until the end of the month, Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford will be running their strawberry picking hayrides starting tomorrow!
This means that your local farmers’ market will start to have strawberries available for purchase. Tortilla Press’ Chef Mark Smith announced on Twitter that Viereck Farms of Swedesboro will be bringing strawberries to the Collingswood Farmers Market tomorrow, so get there early and stock up!
Strawberry festivals? Of course there will be strawberry festivals! Gandy Farmstead in Cape May County will be having its annual Strawberry Fest next Saturday (5/21). A couple of weekends later, you will have your choice of festivals pour les fraises: a three-day celebration (6/2-4) at Sweet Life Bakery in Vineland, a Strawberry Festival at Wilbraham Park in West Cape May, and another Strawberry Festival at Dutch Neck Village in Bridgeton. The following week, get another dose of strawberry fun with a festival at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Oaklyn.
And just to end the list, Slow Food South Jersey Shore is offering a Learn to Make Strawberry Jam! class, which will be held at the Cape May County Vo-Tech kitchen in Cape May Court House on May 20.
And you thought the beat slowed down…
This weekend is chock full of fun food frolicing. Tonight you have A Gourmet Gathering & Wine Tasting at the Moorestown Community House starting at 6PM for $65 per person. You can also enjoy Swedes Inn in Swedesboro tonight as they Fire Up The Fish! for a special wine dinner that begins at 7PM.
Saturday looks pretty decent for weather, and that’s good for all of the outdoor food festivals taking place. Ocean City’s Spring Block Party on Asbury Avenue runs from 9AM to 5PM. The festivities include a Greek festival, so you know the eating will be good. The first annual Toms River Food Fest an Washington Street runs from 11AM to 8PM. Tony Boloney’s is going all out for its annual Pizza Slaughterfest, which is much more than just a pizza-eating competition. It is an honest-to-goodness street festival, complete with ?uestlove providing the soundtrack as guest DJ. And then there’s the Spring Bash & Ox Roast being held at Six Packs Tiki Bar & Grill in Egg Harbor City. Now tell me: how often do you get a chance to attend an ox roast? I thought so.
Now, if I wanted to capture in one day what South Jersey has to offer for food festivals, Sunday would be a great example. Start off with a Porch Brunch and House Tour in Collingswood, followed by a Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival at Tuckerton Seaport, then a Spring Homebrew Contest at High Street Grill in Mount Holly, and finally an Oyster Sail on the Schooner A.J. Meerwald down in Port Norris (Bivalve). Now that, my friends, would be a day to treasure. Too bad they all happen at about the same time.
And finally, Sunday is the first day of the Upper Township Restaurant Week down in Cape May County.
For your cooking classes this weekend, here is the schedule:
Tomorrow: Chocolate Workshop at Sur La Table, On The Grill cooking demo at Phillips Seafood at The Pier Shops in Atlantic City, Teen Cuisine – Pastry at the Cape May County Library in Cape May Court House, and French Steakhouse at Viking Cooking School.
Here’s the Farmers’ Market Report (the first one of the year):
The farmers’ markets in Burlington County and Maple Shade open tomorrow. At the Burlington County market, a gardening class on starting your garden will be taking place. Also, The Silver Diner in Cherry Hill will be having its own weekly farmers’ market on Fridays starting today.
Blogging Out Hunger
Robin posted on her SJ Locavore blog about being able to donate your extra home-grown produce to local food banks via Ample Harvest.
And in the news this week…
The state is expanding its Fresh Fruits and Vegetable school program for next school year.
A bill has been proposed to help the microbrew/brewpub industry in New Jersey.
A nice article in the Press of AC about CSAs, featuring Seventeen Farms and Slow Food South Jersey Shore.
And Weber’s Candy, a Bridgeton institution since 1888, will close for the summer on May 25. Here’s hoping they open up again in the fall.
Have a great weekend!