Power to the Pantry: Jersey-Made Products Abound

Jersey foods fill the shelves.

Jersey-Made Products

Severino Pasta (Collingswood; est 1971) Italian immigrants Joseph and Anna Maria Severino make artisanal pastas by hand. severvinopasta.com

Pickle Licious (Teaneck; est 1991) Robyn Samra replicates the pickles she and her family ate on their food pilgrimages to New York’s Lower East Side. picklelicious.com

First Field Jersey Ketchup (Princeton; est 2009) Husband and wife Patrick Leger and Theresa Viggiano combine her passion for growing tomatoes with his love of ketchup made without tomato paste and high fructose corn syrup. first-field.com

Mazi Piri Piri Sauce (Asbury Park; est 2000) Chef Peter Mantas was so taken with the fiery piri piri sauce he tasted in Portugal’s Algarve region he decided to start making his own. mazi401.com

Born to Hula Hot Sauce (Navesink; est 2010) Ed Bucholtz was flipping through his recipe box when he came across a photo of his late father hula-hooping. Suddenly he had a name for his future company, which now makes six kinds of sauces from mild to hot. borntohula.com

Muirhead Foods (Ringoes; est 1974) At Doris and Ed Simpson’s Muirhead Restaurant, diners so often asked for jars of Doris’s salad dressing that Ed began selling it along with other of her popular condiments. Now daughter Barbara runs the company that succeeded the restaurant, making syrups, chutneys, mustards and more. muirheadfoods.com

Herbertsville Honey Company (Point Pleasant; est 2005) Retired carpenter Alf Berg and what he calls his “amazing creatures” produce unfiltered, unprocessed wildflower honey, “the way the bees intended,” he says. herbertsvillehoney.com

Jersey Jams & Jellies (Perrineville; est 2011) To wean her young children off processed, preservative-laced jams and preserves, former journalist Nina Rizzo started making her own. Then her friends tasted them. A supporter of the Slow Food movement, Rizzo soon launched her company, not least to support New Jersey organic and sustainable farms. jerseyjamsandjellies.com

Ciara’s Komboost Kombucha (Toms River; est 2010) Proponents of kombucha—a fizzy, fermented tea known in ancient China—believe it boosts immune systems and has other healthy effects. Owner Ruth Patras had been drinking it for a while when her daughter, Ciara, was diagnosed with liver disease at age eight weeks. Patras started giving her kombucha every day. Now 18, Ciara has so far not needed the transplant her doctors once thought inevitable. Patras sells “pure, raw and living kombucha” in a variety of flavors. happyliverinc.com

Crazy Steve’s Pickles & Salsa (Robbinsville; est 2009) Former commodities trader Steve Zielinski laid the groundwork for his company when he grew more cucumbers and tomatoes in his home garden than his family could ever eat. “I decided to make pickles and salsa because I like pickles and salsa,” he says. His favorite is the Cajun Cukes pickles. His gluten-free product line also includes dill and half-sour varieties and salsas like the Mango Raspberry and the Mesquite Fire Roasted. crazystevespickles.com

Jean-Claude Tassot, owner of Tassot Apiaries (Milford; est 2004), learned beekeeping as a child in France. His company offers honey and whipped spreads infused with cinnamon or hot pepper. “He’s very creative,” says his wife, Bea. tassotapiaries.com

For Christmas one year, Theresa Belfiore wanted to give her famous brother, Frankie Avalon, something special. She decided on Jersey tomatoes, and thus her company, Avallone Tomatoes (Cherry Hill; est 2010), was born. “They’re just the best tomatoes ever,” she says. avallonetomatoes.com

Sandeep Agarwal brought his family’s ghee (clarified butter) business, founded in 1889, to the United States from India. Wife Nalini’s and his Pure Indian Foods (Princeton; est 2010) have literally spiced it up. And it’s all made from organic, unhomogenized milk from grass-fed cows. pureindianfoods.com

Run by the Rude family, Griggstown Quail Farm (Princeton; est 1973) hired chef Matthew Sytsema in 2002. His farm-store menu features Griggstown poultry, including this chicken pot pie. “This is the closest pot pie you are ever going to get to field-to-table,” he says. griggstownquailfarm.com

Booskerdoo (Monmouth Beach; est 2011), a nickname given to owner James Caverly by his wife, roasts its own beans (including fair-trade organic and single-origin coffees) and ships them the same day. Or visit the cafe and try a cup first. booskerdoo.com

Donna & Company Cocoa Bee Chocolates (Kenilworth; est 2005) When critical care nurse Diane Pinder couldn’t find the right chocolates for her side business, she decided to make them herself. Now a celebrated chocolatier, Pinder, whose company is named in honor of her late sister, offers Tuscan-style treats as well as a Jersey-centric line, Cocoa Bee. “That’s all about what’s locally sourced,” she says. For her caramels, she uses honey from New Jersey bees and blueberries and cranberries when she can. shopdonna.com

Lifelong baker Chris Gargiulo perfected his signature milk chocolate chip cookie recipe at age 10. His company, Chris’s Cookies (Teterboro; est 2000), offers 50 kinds of cookies, plus 25 types of bars and four styles of brownies and blondies. chriscookies.com

Geetha Jayaraman models her Grab ’Em Snacks (Basking Ridge; est 2006) plantain chips on those her mother made in her native Malaysia. “It’s a healthier snack,” she says. She uses safflower oil and organic spices for hers. grabemsnacks.com

Eileen Mizrahi makes her gourmet granola, Treats by Eileen (Ocean Township ; est 2005), from scratch. “It’s not like bird seed,” she says. “We use whole nuts.” She and her husband, Marty, roast and chop the ingredients themselves. treatsbyeileen.com

Click here to read more about homegrown New Jersey foods.


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