jersey fresh.

It’s true, I’ve been having a hard time lately. I’ve been tired, uninspired, depressed. Just feelin blah. So I made an executive decision to spend some more time in my homeland in a van down by the river. And down by the river we keep it Jersey fresh.

Today, much to my surprise and absolute DELIGHT, my mom took me to a farm stand in Ringoes. She had a gift card. Who receives a gift card for a FARM STAND?!

My mom does, that’s who.

We were running around doing errands as folks who have off on a weekday do and all of a sudden she sharply cut the wheel of her Mazda CX-5 and we looped through a jughandle and boom we were at Sweet Valley Farm Market and our lives would never be the same.

You may not be aware but New Jersey is the Garden State. That means we have gardens, in our state. Not only do we HAVE gardens but we are KNOWN FOR GARDENS and mostly we’re known for giant gardens and another word for “giant gardens” is “farms.”

What we brought home! Eggs are from my mom’s chickens though.

We are known for farms. Farms that churn out Jersey fresh produce at a rate of one million tomatoes per minute. Also we invented the greatest tomatoes of all time. With science. At Rutgers. They’re called Ramapo tomatoes and they are The Godfather of tomatoes. I don’t even care what you have to say about it because they are everything worth loving in our state and I can’t be convinced otherwise.

Beyond that, this farm market was everything I needed and more. I have recently been feeling shitty and I blamed it on the time of year like “oh it’s the dog days of summer” or some shit. But today I did a full on 180 and realized I actually really love this part of the summer. Everything is at peak green lushness and ready to be harvested. But it’s like the first part of harvest time. When everything still feels fully alive and not dying like it is in the fall. It’s like you pick something to eat and it still could grow back, or grow more for you to take later this year. It’s not too late. It’s still summer.

It felt nice to realize this. But it took spending some quality one on one time with some tomatoes and peppers and peaches and eggplants to come to this realization. And I thank my mom for bringing me to this beautiful temple of crops to worship the gifts bestowed upon us by our incredible state. The 3rd state to ratify the US constitution.

Upon entering the farm stand I first noticed some peaches. I love love LOVE peaches but only NJ peaches in the summer. Or Georgia peaches OBVIOUSLY but you have to be in Georgia to get those…OBVIOUSLY.

At this point in COVID-19 history I feel like it’s straight up asshole behavior to squeeze at things before you buy them to see if they’re ripe so I had to make an educated guess on which basket of peaches to choose. They had white and yellow peaches and I prefer yellow. That’s all I have to say about that.

As I was excitedly wandering and taking pictures my mom told this old dude working there that I was “in from the city” and maybe not used to all of this farm-fueled excitement. She’s wrong because I WAS BORN INTO THIS FARM-FUELED EXCITEMENT but maybe she said it to make him give me free stuff. Because quicker than you can say “elotes” he swooped over, scooped up a random ear of corn, tore it open, and told me to take a bite.

So I did. As a sample. It was incredible. I will tell you one thing about Jersey corn in August and that is that it is JERSEY FRESH. DON’T YOU FORGET IT.

We browsed some more and I came across some lovely cucumbers.

Some perky peppers.

A very sassy eggplant.

Beautiful flowers.

And of course miles upon miles of luscious, red, perfectly ripe, height of their season and prime of their very lives, Jersey tomatoes.

There is nothing more beautiful.

And there you have it. Jersey fresh. That’s all I really wanted to say. I feel Jersey fresh, personally. And REfreshed. And renewed. And it was produce that did it. The end.

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