There are so many places in South Jersey that I want to visit – stores, restaurants, wineries, breweries, markets… I know I’ll never get to all of them, but I thought I’d set a goal for myself to pick out five of them and make sure I get there during this calendar year. Five doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’ve got a family to care for, a home to manage, two blogs to write, a book in the works, and a few various one-off writing assignments to focus on. I’m in my home a lot more than I thought I would be when I chose to write for a career. ( Of course I had visions of working from coffee houses every day and joining writing critique groups and a much more bohemian style of life. Turns out it’s a job – a wonderful job, but still a job.) So I’m setting my goal at a conservative five.
- Natural Harvest Food Market in Mullica Hill – Late last summer, Darrol and Tracey Wilson, huge supporters of all things local, bought the Natural Harvest Food Market. Every time I read the market’s Facebook page, I want to jump in the car and go. Part of the store is dedicated to local foods and small producers. They sell Capogiro Gelato from Philadelphia (if you’ve never had this Gelato sourced from local ingredients, you don’t know what you’re missing), cheese from Cherry Grove Farms in Lawrenceville, pasta from Severino in Westmont, meats from Wellshire Farms in Swedesboro and much more. What’s not local is natural, organic and wholesome, and they make sure they have options for vegetarians, vegans and those on a gluten-free diet.
- Vincentown Diner – For a NJ food lover, I’m not that big on diners. They’re great at 2 am, but the rest of the time, I can make the same foods most diners make at home. I’ve heard differently about the Vincentown Diner, though. They use organic eggs, local produce, all natural pasture-fed beef from local New Jersey farms, and they serve wines from New Jersey. I’ve been told the food is really great. Even the New York Times says it’s “worth it.”
- Flying Fish Brewing – Even though it’s right around the corner in Cherry Hill, I’ve never taken the time to visit Flying Fish. I need to remedy that. They do free tastings/tours on many Saturday afternoons (see their schedule of events to find dates and times). The brewery will be moving from its current location to one that’s three times as large in Somerdale (Yay for local businesses doing so well they need to expand!), but that won’t be for a while. I hope to be able to check out their old digs and their new digs once the new location is up and running.
- (& 5.) Landis MarketPlace and Bellview Winery – I hope to tackle two of my goals in one day by heading to Vineland and visiting the Landis MarketPlace to check out the Amish market on the bottom floor and the merchants on the top floor (including Martha’s Spice Shop owned by the former principal of the school I used to teach at). Then, I’ll head to the nearby Bellview Winery for a tasting and stock up on a few bottles. And, since I’m in the area, I’ll make it a point to pop into The Sweet Life Bakery and grab a treat or two. It’s a foodie day trip just waiting to be taken.
Tell me what local businesses and producers you’re hoping to finally visit this year.