Jimmy Steal

Late July into August is the absolute BEST time for locally grown fruits and vegetables at the Jersey Shore, and these 6 are the tops on my list!

They call New Jersey “The Garden State” for a reason my friend. We might not have the premium arid conditions for growing year-round produce like California. Or, the consistent temperature for warm weather plants such as Florida’s oranges and other citrus. However, New Jersey farmers make the most out of their growing seasons, and that is most evident this time of year!

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

On a recent phone call with my Mother In Law, who lives down in Central Florida, we were discussing cooking. She wanted my opinion on how to cook a pork loin. At the end of our chat, I asked if she was going to have a nice Summer tomato salad with her pork. She immediately went into a rant about how awful the local tomatoes are in Florida.

I had to laugh since she almost came to visit us this Summer and would have had all the Jersey ‘Maters she could eat. Her reason for not enjoying the Floridian tomatoes was just. “They’re not the same”. No, I guess they’re not. I envy the from-scratch sauce makers out there too!

Let’s face it, great local veggies can complement any dish.

meal compliment

Furthermore, Carl Craft and I have a yearly quest going to find the perfect local peach/nectarine. We frequent different fruit stands, so it’s anybody’s guess when and where we will find our own firsts. Mine came just this weekend! I had scored some nice peaches at Silverton Farms in Toms River and had them sitting in a bag on the counter for a couple of days.

I brought one to our local beach on Sunday and was able to grab it before my wife, a peach fiend of sorts, got her paws on it. My God, it was a gastronomical orgasm. Perfect taste. Perfect texture. Meanwhile, the juice was not contained by a napkin! I had to jump in the bay to clean off! That, my friend, is the perfect Jersey Shore peach.

Perfect Summer Peach

With that said, here are 6 of the best fruits and veggies you can get (for another month or two), at your local Jersey Shore farm stand.

  • 1. Jersey Tomatoes

    From Beefsteak to Cherry. Roma to Big Boy. Oh and of course you cannot forget the amazing Heirloom varieties. The Jersey Tomato is the Stairway To Heaven of the Garden State’s delicious summer album. Besides, they are so good for you! They contain the plant chemical Lycopene –good for bone health and, as a potent antioxidant, may help protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer. Also, let’s be fair, White Bread, Mayo, Salt and Pepper never met a better friend.




  • 2. Jersey Sweet White Or Bi Colored Corn On The Cob

    The debate is almost as heated as Taylor Ham vs Pork Roll! Which is better – the sweet white small kernel cob, or the larger white and yellow bi-colored cob? The answer is YES! They both rock, and corn is really having a moment these days.

    From Corn Stands at fairs selling fresh hot grilled corn, to Mexican Restaurants upgrading cobs with melted Cotija Cheese and Hot Sauce, to Jersey Sweet Corn Ice Cream…Wait what?? Corn is without a doubt getting the Cauliflower treatment!

  • 3. Jersey Summer Peaches

    Sometimes when you get peaches they can be hard and not juicy at all. Usually I try and find ones on the softer side and most of the time a day or two in a bag or on the counter will do the trick. Then I like to keep them in the crisper so they stay “perfect” as long as possible. However, as Kramer taught us, every once in a while, you get a “bad peach”.

  • 4. Jersey Eggplant

    So simple, yet so versatile. The Eggplant is easy to grow, multiplies quickly, and can be used is many different and delicious ways. Eggplant Rollatini and Lasagna are two instant winners. However I like them in a succotash as well, and even thick sliced and grilled with S&P, Italian seasoning, and a drizzle of EVOO.

    Plus, according to Web MD, findings of animal studies suggest that nasunin, an anthocyanin in eggplant skin, may help protect brain cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals. Nasunin also helps transport nutrients into cells and move waste out. Anthocyanins also help prevent neuroinflammation and facilitate blood flow to the brain. So Eggplant can make you an Egghead!

  • 5. Jersey Blueberries

    They are all over the stores right now. They are practically giving them all away, 2 bucks a pint, 3 for 5, buy one get one. Ahhh but hurry, because before long, the farms will have stopped picking, and before you know it, the lovable but limited supply of Jersey Fresh Blueberries will be replaced by the “almost but not quite as good” other blueberries you get the rest of the year.

    The good news is, these antioxidant super food champs, are one of the few fruits that you can freeze for up to a year without losing any nutritional value!

  • 6. Jersey Cucumbers

    Whether you like the traditional long cuke sliced up on a salad, or a nice Kirby for pickling, you can’t go wrong with those sticky big-leafed climbers, the Jersey Cucumber. Perhaps second only to the tomato in Jersey Shore veggie love, the cucumber is nowadays added to health smoothies, cocktails, and baggy eyes after a night out at Bar A.

    Don’t sleep on the cuke water either! From Canning to a good ol’ Tomato Cucumber Salad. Cucumbers are the Robin to Tomato’s Batman for sure!


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