Being a small state with a big appetite for food, it is not surprising that there are many recipe preparations and ingredients that have emerged over time in this state.
New Jersey, also called the Garden State, does not come by this name by accident, having established a prized reputation for it's blueberries, tomatoes, corn, cranberries, and peaches.
Because of the limited land available for farm production, New Jersey farms are generally small family run operations with a niche for higher quality, tastier, more costly cultivation methods than the large commercial farms in other states.
Most New Jersey farms sell their produce within the state and/or directly to the consumer in their road side stands.
These are the foods that are enjoyed by New Jersey residents and are either widely available or are known for their exceptional quality or taste.
These are also the foods that ex-Jerseyans who have moved outside the state are no longer able to obtain and have a nostalgic longing for.
Jersey Bagels - The origin of bagels in the United States began when the Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York and New Jersey created the Bagel Bakers Union between 1910 and 1915 in 36 union bagel shops in New York City and New Jersey. A good bagel should be a rich tan color, and should be crispy and crunchy. A bagel should be eaten fresh out of the oven, warm and, ideally, should be no more than four or five hours old.
The blueberry picking season begins in late June in Southern NJ and runs into late August through the state.
Jersey Salt Water Taffy - Salt water taffy is a soft taffy that originated and sold in Atlantic City, beginning in the late 19th century. Whatever the origins, Joseph Fralinger is credited with popularizing the taffy by boxing it and selling it as an Atlantic City souvenir. Salt water taffy is sold widely on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and other Jersey Shore boardwalk and beach front towns.
Jersey Sweet White Corn - Sweet Corn is a delicacy found at the many farm stands that spring up every year along the highways and back roads of North Jersey. The extra sweet taste comes from the sweet corn varieties grown on New Jersey's small farms that do not turn the sugar into starch during growth. Unlike most of the other states with large commercial farms that grow yellow dent corn for livestock or for commercial sale, they produce a corn with a high starch content and little sweetness. Sweet corn needs a fertile, well-drained, moist soil. New Jersey's clay loam is ideal for sweet corn. Farm stands selling fresh sweet corn can be found through out the state during the season, beginning around July first and continuing up to early October.
Jersey Taylor Ham or Pork Roll - Taylor ham is the common name for pork roll, a food developed by John Taylor of Trenton, NJ. The pork roll is a sausage-like meat product available in and around New Jersey. In North Jersey it's called Taylor Ham and in South Jersey it's generally called the Pork roll. It's generally eaten sliced and grilled, like Canadian bacon as part of a breakfast sandwich on a hard roll and usually with egg and cheese.