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High Summer 2017 Issue

Photography By Jim Connolly | Last Updated July 06, 2017
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"Food and community. With the polarizing pull of New York and Philadelphia at each end, and highways cutting a wide, fast swath through our core, it’s often difficult to think of New Jersey as one community that—just like a family—needs to be nurtured and supported. In the country’s most densely populated state, however, New Jersey’s food community deserves our attention. Local food is important." —N. Painter, Summer 2007 issue

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

AT THE TABLE: FULL CIRCLE

I remember setting up office in our un-air-conditioned attic with a “Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food” bumper sticker stuck on the wall for inspiration. It was there that, as a new business owner, I stared at the walls, trying to suppress the fear and doubt that would bubble up in my chest as the ‘great recession’ took hold in 2008.

Sitting at my attic desk, I had my first phone conversations with many of the writers, photographers and sales people who would eventually become part of our family business. There were calls from people who simply “wanted to help” and others who, incredibly, wanted to buy a subscription. Alone in that attic, I quickly came to realize that the most important asset to any new business owner are the people who surround you, one’s family, friends, work associates and the cheerleaders who share your mission. On the down days, they have been the circle that has lifted us up; on the up days, they have joined Ray and me in celebrating our success.

From our start, I have always believed that food is New Jersey’s story. It is the best of us, the way we come together, the path toward good health and a healthy future. As I wrote in our fi rst issue (above), “New Jersey’s food community deserves our attention.”

As Edible Jersey continues that quest to celebrate local food, in this issue we revisit some of the people and topics showcased in our very fi rst magazine. In “Oysters” (page 30), writer Jenn Hall provides an updated, defi nitive look at the industry today. We sit down again with Mikey Azzara (page 66) whose own story has evolved from those early days in 2007 when he served as outreach coordinator for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NJ (NOFA-NJ) to the farm-sustaining business he founded nearly ten years ago, Zone 7.

As for me, I eventually moved out of the attic and now sit in an (airconditioned) office that I share with others on our team. No matter where the business has been based, though, the best part of the job for me has always been the days when I’ve left the computer behind and hit the road, to the Shore, to the vineyards, to the cities and farms, to the Highlands and the Pine Barrens to talk about food. In the early days, it was in a car weighed heavy with magazine boxes as we delivered Edible Jersey to businesses and readers who, amazingly, seemed to like our new little publication almost as much as we did.

Over the years, the people I have met and come to know in my travels have become an integral part of Edible Jersey’s circle. Acquaintances have become friends and friends have become family. I have learned so much from so many people, from the shopkeeper to the farmer to the chef to the market manager to the brewer to the Rutgers researcher to the state’s agricultural leadership to the food bank coordinator and so many others. Those days of coffee, conversation and camaraderie continue to inspire every page of this magazine—and me.

A circle goes on forever, and there is no beginning or end to the list of people who I would like to thank for their role in carrying Edible Jersey to this milestone anniversary. Debra, Eric, Jared, Martha, Kathleen, Nan, Sandy, Joy, Marisa, Julia, Laura, Nicole, Joann, Aurora,Janet, Brendan, Ron, Doug, Mikey, Jim, Margaret, Grace, Bob, Fran, Marilyn, Grant, Beth, Chris, Barbara, Gary, Betsy, Andrea and Jim, Pam, Brad, Brant, Matt, George, Raoul and Carlo, Tracey and Carole, Gene…. The names could fi ll pages.

It’s a time to also acknowledge every single advertiser whose supporting dollars have made this magazine possible, including the indomitable Whole Earth Center. WEC has the sole distinction of advertising in every single one of our 51 issues and their ad appears here on page 4. We are grateful for the faith that they—and every advertising partner—place in us.

And, of course, there is my husband and co-publisher, Ray, and our son, Chris. Their willingness and enthusiasm to share in every aspect of this business from the start, whether handing out magazines at a farmers’ market or wine festival, calling Sunny Acres Pumpkin Patch to confi rm pick-your-own hours, sampling tomato purees, admiring the horizon at a farm-to-table dinner or following me into the dusty corners of antique shops, in search of milk bottle caps to grace a cover, have made this family journey even brighter with love, joy and fun. This fall Edible Jersey’s circle will expand again with the arrival of Teresa Politano as editor. Teresa, in addition to an exceptional journalistic resume, has an incredibly rich knowledge and passionate understanding of New Jersey’s food community. We are excited to welcome her voice and eagerly anticipate the new paths and perspective she will bring to our conversation.

A circle truly goes on forever. It has been my life’s honor to discover New Jersey through Edible Jersey over these past ten years. Thank you for being a part of the ride. I look forward to further adventures ahead.

Nancy Brannigan Painter Publisher

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