2018 Resolve: Eat NJ Every Day

How about trying a year of hyper-local eating?

Many in New Jersey were snowed in—or chilled in—the past several days  and, in the process of facing pantries and refrigerators with foods that can be labeled junk or processed or otherwise not exactly conducive to achieving a state of being “in fine fettle,” broke resolutions to eat a healthier, more nutritious diet in 2018.

Confession: I ate six large chocolate chip cookies stored in the farthest reaches of a freezer. Four one day and the other two before 10 am the next day.

OK. So we’re coming clean. Time to start over. Today, January 8, 2018, is the first day of the rest of this year.

Here’s the resolution I’d like us all to make—together.

In 2018, Eat NJ Every Day.

What does that mean?

Eat at least one food every day that’s grown by farmers in New Jersey, that is made with ingredients grown in New Jersey, that is fished from Jersey’s shores by our fishermen and women, that is from farmers who tend to livestock raised in our state, or that otherwise uses Garden State ingredients.

Be it quintessential New Jersey produce (tomatoes, apples, peaches, blueberries, corn, cranberries), or famous fishes (blue-claw crabs, clams and oysters, flounder and fluke, sea scallops), or artisan products (cheeses from cows, goats and sheep raised here at, for example, Valley Shepherd Creamery or Bobolink Dairy; honey, jams, jellies, maple syrup)—Eat NJ Every Day.

This winter, look for local seafood, which might include flounder, cod, whiting, trout, clams, squid and oysters. Buy in the markets and eat preserves made from NJ’s fruits and vegetables. Patronize restaurants and order from menus and nightly specials’ lists dishes made from and with NJ ingredients. For example: With Rutgers’ hazelnuts back in season, Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City recently began making and serving its Hazlenut Project Pie again. (While you’re there, order anything made with the buffalo milk from Sussex County.) Think about making a trip to the farmers’ markets open year-round (typically open limited days and hours, including those in Sparta, Trenton and Pilesgrove (known as Cowtown Farmers’ Market).

When you’re looking to pop a cork on a bottle of wine or flip the top on a bottle or can of beer, think NJ’s wineries and breweries. Spirits? NJ’s distilleries are on the rise. Have that glass of wine, brew or cocktail with a salsa or a cheese made by an NJ food artisan. If you’re brave enough to eat ice cream, grab a pint or quart from newfangled-flavor specialist Bent Spoon in Princeton or legendary Nasto’s in Newark, which uses local ingredients to drive its seasonal ice creams and develops new flavors to better serve its evolving local community.

Do you get the idea? There’s a lot around to fuel Eat NJ Every Day right now, even in frozen winter. By the time it’s spring, and asparagus and greens, peas and strawberries, alliums and herbs start appearing in the markets, you’ll be in full Eat-NJ-Every-Day swing.

If you’re 100 percent on board, Eat NJ Every Day can dominate your meal plans. If you’re looking to tip-toe into this concept, simply find one NJ ingredient or food to eat every day.

Chances are, you’ll be eating healthier foods. You definitely will be contributing to a healthier New Jersey economy by putting your food dollars in Garden State producers’ wallets. Win-win, wouldn’t you say?

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