Monday, June 20, 2011

Farm Fresh Produce: What's in Season?

NJ Farm Fresh Produce
New Jersey, known as the "Garden State," is home to a succession of seasonal farm fresh products. We are delighted to use these at the Scarborough Inn for Breakfast and for Afternoon Refreshments, too.  We even have a small garden at our bed and breakfast that supplies the kitchen.

This year, we have planted a selection of herbs and we recently added several varieties of tomatoes.  One unique variety of tomato was developed by Rutgers University and is renowned for its delicious flavor and suitability for growing in New Jersey.  It was difficult to obtain for awhile, but is experiencing a surge in popularity and, as a result, is easier to find.  I can't wait to see how the "Rutgers Tomato" performs and tastes!

Right now, New Jersey farmers report strawberry season is ending and new crops are appearing.  These include peas: English, snap, and snow varieties, plus several kinds of beans - the familiar green and yellow string beans... and purple beans.  Yes, they really are purple.

I just started reading a book called, The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love (Kristin Kimball).  It is a very personal look at the movement to re-create family farms that supply a wide variety of naturally raised fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats to a community.  It also includes this recipe for fresh-from-the-garden peas.


Peas in Milk

2 cups milk (they use whole, farm-fresh milk)
2 Tbls. butter
2 cups shelled peas
salt & pepper to taste

few mint leaves, finely chopped (I'll try this, but I'm not sure about the mint)

Shell the peas and set aside. Heat the milk and butter over medium heat in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.  Add peas, salt, and pepper, and gently simmer until the peas are bright green.  Remove from heat, add mint (if using) and correct seasoning.

On Essex Farm, they serve this with boiled new potatoes as lunch.

Next time you visit the Scarborough Inn, we hope you'll enjoy the farm fresh produce and/or locally made ingredients on your plate!

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INNsider Tip:  If you're lucky enough to find fresh Purple Beans in your Farmer's Market, serve them raw to appreciate the unique color.  Cooking changes their color.

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