Food Highlights at the Sourland Music Festival

Plus: Other food festivals and dinners in Wildwood, Sea Isle City, Clifton and more.

Wherever good food and good music collide, New Jersey tends to gather. The Sourland Music Festival—happening this Saturday, June 23 from 3PM-10PM— just so happens to add a good cause to the mix.

Sponsored by the Sourland Conservancy and hosted by the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club in Hillsborough, New Jersey, the festival is in its 15th year. It started in 2003 as a way to raise money and awareness for the conservation of the Sourland Mountain region, a natural expanse in Central Jersey that contains the “largest contiguous forest” in the entire state. A decade and a half later and both the event and mountain region are stronger than ever.

If you’re lucky enough to snag VIP tickets (they’re $100, but they go fast), you’ll be treated to a special menu from Chris Albrecht. Head chef at the Ryland Inn, Albrecht has a special farm-to-table VIP menu planned with appetizers, entrees, and desserts all highlighting local product. But even if you come regular admission—at a slightly more wallet-friendly $15—you’ll still have access to Jersey produce thanks to the festival’s first-ever Mini Farmers Market. Among producers to look out for are places like Cherry Valley Co-op, Morganics Family Farm, Cherry Grove Farm, and Stonybrook Meadows.

Of course the big draw is the music, and the Sourland lineup doesn’t look like it’ll disappoint. Among scheduled acts are the Caribbean-tinged Verdict, who’ve opened for Sting and jammed with Stevie Wonder, blues-rock powerhouse Stolen Rhodes, and guitarist J.B. Kline, who played with Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and the Beach Boys. And since the event is increasingly foodie-centric, there will be plenty of good eats on hand. You can juggle eclectic veggie fare from Basil Bandwagon and juicy pulled pork from Brick Farm Market while Verdict jams away in the background, or overload a hot dog from Tower Dogs before you snag a front row seat for Jersey-bred singer-songwriter Joshua Branson. Obviously you should finish out your night’s eating with something sinfully called “cheesecake on a stick” from Maddalena’s, based out of Ringoes, New Jersey.

Wash any and all of that down with local wine from Unionville Vineyards or cocktails featuring gin and vodka from Sourland Mountain Spirits. And of course there’s always the specially crafted “Sourlands Rock n’ Ale,” a hoppy wheat beer brewed just for the occasion by Hillsborough’s own Flounder Brewing Company. (Bonus: if you buy a commemorative mug, you get a discount on beer refills.) The event is family-oriented, so there will be kid-friendly drinks as well.

For more information on food vendors, the lineup, or tickets (discounted in advance), look here.

Other events:

North Wildwood Italian-American Festival
Friday June 22-Sunday June 24

If you were looking for somewhere to take your meatball relay race skills to the next level, you found it. But even if you weren’t, no doubt something among the 40 “authentic Italian-American food and merchandise vendors,” grape stomping, live music, and Little Miss Italy contest will be a draw. Admission is completely free and the festival’s open until 10pm every day except Sunday, when it closes at 6pm. Find more information here.

Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival
Friday June 22 – Sunday June 24

No better way to ring in summer than down the shore, and no better time to be down the shore than when someone’s gone ahead and gathered some of the area’s best food trucks for you. The 4th Annual Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival goes from Friday through Sunday, meaning you’ll have at least three days to (maybe) pace yourself with offerings from Marie’s Lobster House, Olde World Cannoli, Beast of the Street, and The Empanada Sonata, to name just a very few. Admission is free. Just pay as you eat. Vendors and directions can be found here.

Sparkling Wine Dinner at Spuntino’s
Thursday June 21, 7PM

If you’re in the habit of honoring “Thirsty Thursday” in general, you can class it up this week at Spuntino’s in Clifton, where the already ample in-house wine savvy will decadently turns its attention entirely to bubbles. The Sparkling Wine Dinner is $79 (plus tax and tip), and includes four courses and a chocolate creme brulee, each paired with its own sparkling wine. (We’d go for the Peach Foie Gras-Spanish cava pairing alone.) For tickets, check here.

Allair Bacon, Bikes, & Brews
Saturday June 23, 11AM – 5PM

If you need more than one reason to visit Allaire Village, the non-profit education and historic site in Farmingdale, this Saturday gives you three. The 3rd Annual Bacon, Bikes, & Brews is the largest fundraiser of the season, complete with historic interpreters, 19th century hearth cooking demos, crafts and games for the kids, antique motorcycles, and, of course, plenty of bacon and beer. Admission is only $10, anyone under 18 gets in free, and pets are welcome. Register (early) here.

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