Saturday, October 03, 2009

New Jersey fruit & vegetables at Delicious Orchards

Eggplants 2
New Jersey, Asian Bride & Japanese eggplants

In England eggplants are known as aubergines and only come in one colour: dark shiny purple (apart from the tiny Thai ones), and we never really understood why they were called eggplants. Revelation: until Saturday, I had never seen a white eggplant.

Italian, Pink Rain, White eggplants

Delicious Orchards on Route 34 is one of NJ's most widely known country grocery stores. A family run operation, with a retail business founded in 1950, it's developed into a vast barn with huge heaping piles of fruit & vegetables, most of them local and seasonal. They don't ever have just one type of anything: I counted seven types of eggplant (New Jersey is the largest producing state), fifteen types of chilies, eight types of mushroom and so on.

Three types of zucchini/courgettes/summer squash

Cherry Hot peppers, dried chipotles, fresh jalpenos, chile d'arbol peppers, dried habenero, Ancho (dried Poblano) peppers, New Jersey long peppers, dried Anaheim peppers

Baby artichokes
Lima beans, baby artichokes, globe artichokes

New Jersey apples
Lady, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Macintosh apples all from New Jersey

It's food porn heaven. There's also a nice line in bowls of free snackage strategically positioned throughout the store, so a gentle stroll through the wide aisles can be enjoyed whilst munching on shards of home made chocolate chip cookie, bits of local cucumber dunked in house made ranch dressing, and tortilla chips with corn & black bean salsa.

If the pleasure of dribbling freebie salsa down one's front pales, it is also possible to eat a proper meal outside in the covered café area, which sells, amongst other stuff, cups of extremely good soup (the minestrone tastes like mama used to make it), real cheeseburgers and apple fritters.

God I love this place.