Rachel's Table

An Open Apology to New Jersey

Dear New Jersey,

You are known for a lot of things. Mostly bad things like pollution and high property taxes. And even worse things like Jersey Shore, The Situation and Snooki.

Snooki Sandwich

So you can imagine my very low expectations when I visited the Jersey shore this weekend. Not THAT Jersey Shore–Wildwood Crest. While I was packing for your beaches a montage of spray tans, fist pumping, and purple running board lights crashed through my head. I wondered if I should buy extra hair products and some brass knuckles.

As my friend and I headed south, I was struck by the farm land and produce stands dotting the road. I even saw a sheep farm. I started to regret packing four pairs of bedazzled sunglasses.

Much to my surprise, the Jersey shore was delightful, picturesque even.

My Jersey Shore

After a pleasant weekend on the sand and an evening on the boardwalk, I drove home, anticipating a produce stand stop. My anticipation was not in vain; I never knew that only a mere 20 miles from my house, a wonderland of locally grown goodness existed.

So, New Jersey, I would like to apologize for my low expectations and negative thinking (I blame it on MTV a little though). You are much more than Snooki’s bangs.

In fact, I would like to propose a new montage–one that replaces bikinis and trash talk with finer things like Sicilian eggplant and fresh-picked corn.

Jersey Farm Market

Local Bounty

Long Hots – I wonder if Peppermeister grows these?

Pretty Sicilian Eggplant

Jersey Fresh Potatoes

Lima Beans, one of my favorites

Some of the best tomatoes I ate all summer. Thanks, Jersey!

Cabbage heads as big as Snooki’s hair!

Jersey even knows how to do honey right

Jersey nectarines

Who knew, Jersey? Forgive me for misunderstanding the complexities of your diverse culture.

Yours in mutual fresh-picked produce love,


P.S. – The final season of Jersey Shore airs in October. I’m sure you’re relieved, just like the rest of us.


  1. I’m glad NJ showed kindness to you. NJ really is the Garden State. If you enter NJ from the South or the West, you will see our bucolic splendor for all it has to offer. If you enter NJ from the North. you’ll see and smell what most people associate Jersey with. If you enter NJ from the East, you are a mermaid/merman. P.S. The term “Long Hot” pepper is too vague for Peppermeister. That being said, yes I buy those often in the Spring when I’m almost out of my own peppers. They have good heat but lack flavor inmnsho.

    • I thought they called NJ the “Garden State” just to trick people into coming there. I was so wrong.

      One thing about your peppers–they all had flavor, not just heat. I ate a yellow one, too, which I cut from the video (not enough eye-watering to keep). It was so light and herb-y. I’m discovering a whole new pepper world, so thanks! And another point for New Jersey!

  2. I prefer the Jersey Shore at the END of your post. I am clueless about anything television. (That and my husband looks WAY hotter than those other two guys.). TV is the black thing on my wall that I dust every week, that my kids watch stupid YouTube Annoying Orange videos on. Oh…and sometimes I view pics taken, viewed there directly from my camera. I digress.

    Really, I am salivating for those veggies. That’s truly something. We are seriously lacking “nice” markets here. I’m really hoping that changes.

    PS – I still can’t believe that your Roulette wasn’t FP’d. I’m gonna have to tell Matt his folks are falling down on the job. I haven’t clicked on a single FP post in the past few days…not a single one has intrigued me.

    • Honestly, I’ve only ever seen a total of two episodes of Jersey Shore because it’s THAT ridiculous. I don’t have cable so anything I see is at someone else’s house.

      I agree about FP lately. I’ve read one in the last two weeks. Maybe we should start a Peppermeister Roulette petition????

  3. Everyone I’ve ever met who says they hate New York has never been there. It’s pretty much the same with New Jersey — or anywhere else. Television has a way of distorting things. I think that’s one of the reasons most Americans are ignorant about the rest of the world. I’m glad you made the trip and enjoyed the real-life reality.

    • I’ve been to New Jersey before but never to the shore. And never to any of New Jersey’s farms and produce stands. It was a great Snooki-free experience.

      I agree–most of the people I know that hate New York are from the sticks and have never visited. Thanks for stopping by, bronxboy. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Tomato Addict « Rachel's Table

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