Monday, August 3, 2009

Veg Out, Farm Stand Style

There are a few things about summer than are consistent markers of the season. Fireflies at night, the sound of crickets, and the luxury of being able to open all the windows in the house. I've added something to my personal list. Visiting Sudol's roadside farm stand.

My town doesn't have a farm stand. The next town over, Boonton, has a farmers market every Saturday, and the town just west of me has a small farmer's market at their garden center. These are great options for me to get locally grown produce, but the stand that feels most summery to me is the Sudol's roadside farm stand in my old town.

I live in suburban New Jersey, and though my town and those surrounding it are fairly small, I am always looking to make them smaller. I visit independently owned shops and restaurants, and keep that sort of stuff as local as possible. Most days, I go for a swim at my parents house, and when I take the back roads, it's just under ten minutes away. I love local anything.

On the way to their house I pass a family farm, Conklin Farms, that turns into a pumpkin patch in autumn, our favorite place to visit around Halloween. They are growing what look like Fir trees, which I assume they plan on selling at Christmas time. Currently, it only opens for pumpkin picking. However, just down the road is Sudol's family-owned roadside farm stand. The stand usually opens mid-July, and it's presence tells me that summer has really arrived. At least twice weekly, I stop there for some peaches, corn, and anything else that looks good when I pull up.

Last week, I drove by to get some corn for dinner, but the stand wasn't there. Had the economic climate caused it to shut down? I wondered. Every time I'd pass, I'd look longingly at the empty stand and feel a pang of deep sadness. I loved that farm stand. It was family run, and at any time you might be helped by one or all of three generations of women, or get barked at by the family dogs. I truly missed them.

But then, as I was driving by today, feeling the thick air blowing through my truck windows, I saw that the stand was, once again, open for business. Two of the three generations of women were there, grandmother and granddaughter, and the second generation son. I slowed to see if I was correct in my assumption (that it was, in fact, open), or if they were just cleaning things up. Oooh! There were veggies out. And fruit. I asked from my truck, "When do you open? And the man's reply, "We're open now."

Imagine my joy. The farm stand still existed, having just opened yesterday. I told the young girl how I was wondering what had happened, and she said that they'd opened later in the season due to the weather. What a relief. I got most of what they had, including zucchini (to make the wheat germ zucchini bread with), cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, and string beans. As soon as I arrived at my parent's house, I washed the string beans and began to eat them. 

Nothing beats eating raw string beans, picked up  at a local roadside stand in summer.

For some fabulous string bean recipes, click here.

Note: If you live in the Montville area, check out Sudol's Farms, it's the roadside stand I've written about. It's located at 76 River Road in Montville, just minutes off Route 287. Their card says they are open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. 'til 7 p.m., but it was open when I drove by at 1 p.m. today. Saturday and Sunday, they open from 10 a.m. 'til 7 p.m. You will love it. Sudol's Farms (973) 299-0852

Tiffany Palisi is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Fitness Coach, and Group Fitness Instructor. She has extensive training in Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness, and is a Johnny G certified Spinning Instructor. She trains women in their home, and will be doing Lifestyle Fitness Coaching in her home office (and by telephone) beginning in September. Palisi works exclusively with women.

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