Monday, July 18, 2011

The Garden State

Around this time of year I am really happy to be a resident of New Jersey. We have such incredible produce. New Jersey tomatoes, corn, and blueberries are abundant. Of course there are early asparagus and strawberries, and then lettuce, broccoli, garlic, eggplants, cucumbers, spinach, peaches, apples, cherries, pears, plums, and more. Later come the cranberries and pumpkins. There are lots of pick-your-own farms, some organic, for the freshest produce possible and even more farm markets for the next best thing. And more supermarkets are carrying local produce from farms around the state.

This year we planted tomatoes, three different Jersey varieties, in my side yard. Yesterday I harvested the first one! It was warm in my hand as I gently tugged it off its stem. It felt as if I was holding sunshine. The watermelon vine we planted at the same time is slowly snaking its way around the plot which already seems way too small for it; if it produces viable fruit, next year we will offer its successor more space. We are learning, going back to our roots, so to speak. After all, our house sits on what was once a potato field.

One of the state nicknames is The Garden State, well earned I believe. There are others to reflect different times in the state’s history and development, not always flattering. But then everything is flexible, even states. People change, society shifts, culture moves along. I seem to have as well, from former city girl to harvester of Jersey tomatoes, in my New Jersey garden. Nice.

More historic nicknames for New Jersey:

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