Spring 2016 Issue

By Jared Flesher / Photography By Jared Flesher | Last Updated April 15, 2016
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Edible Jersey Spring 2016
Oysters on the Delaware Bay mud flats



The cover story of this issue of Edible Jersey is defined by, in my opinion, one of the fundamental questions of the 21st century: How will humans strike the right balance—or not—between short-term prosperity and long-term sustainability?

The thrust of the story is this: On the Delaware Bay, the New Jersey oyster farming industry is poised to expand rapidly. Locally grown oysters are now in big demand. There are jobs that will be created and money that will be made. The benefits to the aquaculturists and the surrounding community are tangible and immediate. Also, the oysters are absolutely delicious.

Casting a cloud over the oyster party, however, is a warning from conservationists. They say the location and style of aquaculture practiced by the oyster farmers will have a negative impact on the survival chances of a threatened bird called the red knot. This bird species (technically a subspecies) faces extinction due to the actions of humans, both in New Jersey and around the world.

So why does the survival of the red knot matter? For starters, it’s one of the more remarkable creatures to wander the Earth. (To learn more, borrow a book called Moonbird from your local library.) If you appreciate the value of less-tangible things like good music or good poetry or a bite of good food instead of Twinkies every day, then it’s simple: New Jersey is richer and more interesting because red knots exist.

There’s unresolved tension in this story, and that’s okay. There are some who will believe the business interests of the oyster farmers should be given priority over the habitat needs of the red knot. Others will decide red knots should be given priority over oyster farmers. There’s also hope that a compromise can be reached that satisfies both sides.

As someone who cares deeply about New Jersey agriculture and New Jersey’s biodiversity, a workable compromise is my hope as well. Then again, sometimes a society needs to decide what it values most of all, and make a choice.

Jared Flesher, Editor

The Skinny on Asparagus

Plate of Asparagus
When my son was very young he was a binge eater. One fall he ate tomatoes and apples. Just tomatoes and apples. The following winter it was...

Shaved Asparagus, Pea and Pea Shoot Salad

Asparagus, Peas, Pea Shoot Salad
I have served this surprisingly rich salad as a second course after a pasta dish, on top of a piece of broiled fish and garnished with croutons: They’re all good! When choosing pea shoots, look for...

Asparagus Pesto

Asparagus Pesto
This puree is great to have on hand. It makes an excellent sauce for broiled fish or for pasta or ravioli, or a poached egg on an English muffin.

Asparagus Stock

Asparagus Stock
I make asparagus stock with the trimmed-off ends of asparagus spears. You can hold the stock in the fridge but it tends to ferment in a few days, so it is best to freeze or pressure can it. There is...

The Refreshing Health Benefits of Mint

Mint Leaves
Nothing wakes the senses quite like the smell of freshly crushed mint. This common herb offers an invigorating boost to food and drink, and many health benefits as well.

Grilled Chicken with Mint and Pine Nut Gremolata

A grilled chicken recipe featuring mint and pine nut courtesy of Meredith Yorkin

School Work in the Garden

A wooden plow with kids
Nine-year-olds wielding scythes working side by side in a wheat field. Third-graders harnessed eight at a time to a wooden plow, like oxen. Grade-schoolers making sachets of dried blood to ward off...

Water Questions for the New Jersey Highlands Coalition

Julia Somers, executive director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition
To learn more about water in New Jersey, Edible Jersey recently interviewed Julia Somers, executive director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, one of the leading advocates for clean water in the...

New Jersey Oysters and Knots

Cape May Salt oyster
Atlantic Capes Fisheries’ oysters, branded “Cape May Salts,” are increasingly sought after by today’s booming high-end oyster bar trade, where single specimens can command prices of $2.50 and...

Oyster Castles

Using recycling shells to let oysters grow
Resembling castles made of oversized Lego-like concrete blocks, an oyster reef breakwater project meant to buffer a vulnerable shoreline has been taking shape just offshore in Cumberland County.

Edible Jersey's 2016 Local Heroes

Edible Jersey Local Heroes
Every year, we ask Edible Jersey readers to vote for some of their heroes in the local food movement— farmers, chefs and food entrepreneurs who have made a positive impact in their communities.

On The Rise: Jersey City

Jersey City
Everything is hitting new heights in Jersey City—especially the food

Story of a Dish: Oxtail and Tomato Stew with Orecchiette

Chef Craig Polignano of Ryland Inn
Sensory memories formed during Chef Polignano’s own childhood are the inspiration behind his Oxtail and Tomato Stew with Orecchiette

Oxtail and Tomato Stew with Orecchiette

Oxtail and Tomato Stew with Orecchiette
This Oxtail and Tomato Stew recipe is by Craig Polignano, Executive Chef at the Ryland Inn

Five Craft Beer & Spirits in Fairfield

Magnify Breweing Company
In the first of a new Edible Jersey column devoted to craft beer and spirits, are the highlights of a tasting trip to Fairfield Township, population 7,500.

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