LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
At the Table: Brimming with Possibilities
I met a New York restaurant owner this summer. “I don’t know New Jersey food,” she said. “I guess I should, but I don’t.”
I argued that she does know New Jersey food. Our farmers at Union Square Greenmarket. Our seafood at Fulton Fish Market. Our free-range chickens. Our Mangalitsa pigs. Our grass-fed cows. Our beefsteak tomatoes. Our mushrooms. Our Barnegat Bay scallops. Our oysters. Our clams. Our homemade mozzarella. All the executive chefs, sous chefs and line cooks who cross the river to work in New York (and Philadelphia!) restaurants.
Her reply, distilled, was this: “You’re right, I guess I never thought about it.”
Phil Murphy, in an exclusive interview with Edible Jersey, echoed the same sentiment. (See Phil Murphy Talks Environment, Sustainability and Health, Page 34). New Jersey, he says, isn’t punching its weight.
We could dwell on the reasons. Is it our collective inferiority complex? Is it because we have no specific center of gravity? Do the reasons matter?
Those who do think about New Jersey food, and those who debate the future of New Jersey from the prism of food—the farmers, the chefs, the artisans—have argued to me, in conversation after conversation, that New Jersey is entering an era brimming with possibility. That these are exciting times.
It’s true that perceptions are changing. The Garden State, after nearly 150 years, is no longer a nickname, but an official designation, signed into law last month.
In this issue, Edible Jersey celebrates James Beard Award-winner Maricel Presilla (page 46), whose most recent book, Peppers of the America, was released last month. We share a poignant story from best-selling author Christina Baker Kline (page 21). We reveal the concerns of environmentalists regarding the fragility of the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer (page 24). We tell the stories of an educational farm (page 40) and a Pinelands brewery (page 30). And we share the ever-growing list of those Garden State artisans who craft wine, beer and spirits (page 60).
It’s a privilege to work for a magazine that honors, as I see it, the terroir of New Jersey. A patina of grit and beauty that is without peer.
A portrait of Teresa Politano by her son Alex, who sought
to capture, in his words, a smile and a necklace.