At some point during the summer, everyone becomes a barbecue connoisseur. Barely passable party food isn’t a novelty by mid-July. No one wants a dusty burger that gets dragged down by limped out buffet lettuce, hard, flavor-neutral tomatoes, or sorry, nasty beef. It is all about the ingredients and the fact is, if you are not eating local, and if you are not eating organic, you are eating worse.
Organic food doesn’t cost extra at the store because farmers are prima donna’s. It’s fresher. It’s better. It’s more delicious. And while blanket statements aren’t always enough to convince the average foodie to buy local, we at SJ Hot Chefs believe that deep deep down you might already be there.
So without further ado, here are five ways to identify if you are already a closeted local food lover.
You Love South Jersey:
Easy enough, right? Loving your home state but not loving its best edible exports is like saying you love your kids but hate their personalities. Sorry “Just because I love them doesn’t mean I have to like them”. Folks, if you don’t love sweet corn or jersey tomatoes, I’m sorry, you may as well be a stranger passing through. Doesn’t matter where your driver’s license says you’re from. Disrespect our food and you’re lower than Cowboys fans, and you do NOT want to be in the same company as Cowboys fans.
You’re a Fan of Flavor:
If you’re not, you’ve got a couple loose screws rattling up top. We’ve talked about this before, but a refresher on the effects of local cuisine on your taste buds is never a bad call. Sure, your standard table fare is well and good. But if you want to take your palate to Flavortown; all aboard the Express A-Train, because we’re TAKING you to that Farmer’s Market that you always drive past on the way home from work. We’re TAKING you to that butcher’s shop in East Berlin you’ve always thought about visiting. Your mouth will thank you.
You Enjoy the Finer Things:
You’ve got sixteen fur coats in the closet. Don’t tell me you like neglecting the top shelf grocery items. It’s not even that the local food is all that more expensive than the other stuff, but hey, money can be tight. We’re all trying to save a buck where we can. BUT, word of advice, don’t cut corners when it comes to what you put in your body. You get out of it what you put into it, literally. Maybe return one of those furs.
You’re Trying to be Healthier:
Yes, yes, the naysayers will say, “There’s no evidence that organic food is healthier than the other stuff” … Ok, technically, that may be. Can’t deny the scientists. They’ve never been wrong before, right? Anyway, sure, on their own merits, local organic food may not be healthier per se, but on the other hand, oh my goodness, does it tastes better. Does anything motivate you more to eat healthy than when the food tastes good? Throw some good tomatoes in an oven, dry ‘em out, put ‘em in some local whole grain pasta. Chop up some fresh basil. Throw that in there. We could do this for hours. Take something healthy and delicious from a Jersey farm, double down on it, and make it healthier and even more delicious.
You Do Care Where Your Food Comes from:
It’s 2017. You’ve seen Food Inc. or you’ve heard about it, at the very least. When restaurant chains and fast food joints declare recalls you involuntarily notch the TV volume up a few clicks. Some of the corporatized food we eat comes from suspect sources. Wouldn’t you feel a little better knowing where the food you’re putting into your body has been coming from? Seriously, you tell me, the last time a farmer in Mullica Hill had to shut down for a while because of a recall they had on a bad batch of E. Coli-flavored green beans?
Look, we’re Jersey folk. We don’t like being told to do anything. The last time someone from Jersey was given advice without then giving a profanity-laced reply was almost a thousand years ago. Look it up. But if there are two things that are true about us, it’s that we’re loyal to a fault and we love good food, and what better way to marry the two than to enjoy some good local eats together around the dinner table? Or if you’d like to experience what other local eateries are bringing to the conversation, come out to one of the participating restaurants in Farm to Fork Week. We hope to see you there.