SJHotChefs Utilize New Jersey’s Cornucopia
SJHotChefs recognize an advantage when they see it. There are some 9800 farms in New Jersey, the majority of which are in South Jersey.
That’s why so many of our 42 independently owned and operated restaurants use local locally grown products on their menus. We support the “Jersey Fresh” initiative in our state. Most New Jersey farms are small, and family operated. But they produce an abundance of produce.
The farms near our restaurants grow 40 different vegetables and 20 different fruits so we are never without variety. And no matter what kind of cuisine we prefer, there are plenty of choices available at local farmsteads that help make our recipes especially delicious.
While New Jersey is justly famous for its tomatoes and sweet corn, we find that our local red and green bell peppers are both tasty and popular among our patrons.
Starting in June, we tap into the “Blueberry Capital of the World”—nearby Hammonton—for that luscious fruit we use in so many desserts. Since New Jersey’s cranberry productivity is third in the U.S., that fruit is also favored by our chefs—and loved by our diners.
With such a profusion of Jersey grown fruits and vegetables virtually at our doorsteps, we know harvest dates by heart, So, this time of year, we are anticipating the early arrival of freshly harvested spinach (April 15), asparagus (April 23), lettuce (May 15), as well as peas and strawberries (May 20).
Summer season brings us wonderful fresh vegetables like sweet corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, onions, lima beans, and more. Among the ample selection of Jersey summer fruits that you will find on our menus—in addition to blueberries and cranberries—will be apples, cherries, grapes, pears, peaches, and strawberries.
One of the many local farms patronized by our chefs is Duffield’s Farm Market on Greentree and Chapel Heights Road in Sewell.
Truly a family operation, it has been owned and farmed by the Duffield family for more than eight decades. Dave and Mary Duffield own the farm along with their sons David and Dan, their daughter Debbie and daughters-in-law RuthAnn and Tracy.
Dave’s father, Claude, purchased the original property around 1930 and his crop consisted primarily of fruits and vegetables. He packaged and sold them in Philadelphia. Following his death in 1953, David Sr. took over the farm. He then purchased additional land, but in order to make sufficient income to support the family his wife, Mary, sold strawberries on the front porch. As demand grew, he opened a small market shed to sell a variety of fruits and vegetables
From that humble beginning, the farm and its market continued to expand and it now raises and sells over 50 varieties of vegetables and fruits, including peaches, strawberries, nectarines, and the “best sweet corn and tomatoes in South Jersey.”
The Duffield Family farm market now sells baked goods and deli items—in addition to fresh produce—to South Jersey residents—and to many SJ Hot Chef restaurants.
There are scores of family farms within a short drive of your home. When you are not dining at one of our restaurants, we urge you to patronize your local farms. Just like we do.