Tag Archives: Griggstown Quail Farm

Lunching Down on the Farm(s): Duke & Griggstown

Two of my favorite meals in recent days have been lunches at two very different NJ farms: Duke Farms, in its pleasant cafe at the newly and admirably re-purposed estate of heiress Doris Duke in Hillsborough, and outdoors next to the produce fields that service the CSA program at Griggstown Quail Farm.

Duke Farms

By now you have probably heard or read that Duke Farms has a new mission. Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress, left instructions in her will that her massive 2,740-acre property along Route 206 in Hillsborough serve as a model of environmental stewardship. After a $45 million refurbishing, the lands reopened to the public this past May as a haven for native flora and fauna – including us humans.

Best of all, there is no admission charge for walking, hiking, bicycling, photographing, or painting along the marked paths through its 14 miles of scenic meadows, groves, and woods and around its nine lakes. (Parents: many paths accommodate strollers.) Facilities include an orientation center, a tram for getting around, and a café inside the former horse barn – a gorgeous, formal, soaring structure that you’d never imagine ever saw horse or hay (even Ms. Duke’s thoroughbreds):

After taking a 2-hour class on the mint family of plants led by two of the estate’s longtime gardeners, I stopped in for lunch at the cafe. I was impressed not only with the open and light-filled space, but also by the helpful gal behind the counter and the spot-on menu of fresh-made sandwiches, salads, panini, and wraps that are rounded out with yogurt, fresh fruit cups, quality hot and cold drinks, milkshakes, juices, fruit, cookies, chips, and granola. (Soups will be added in cool weather.)

I got this half salad/half sandwich combo: impeccable mixed spring greens, cherry tomatoes, cukes, olives, and sweet yellow peppers with just the right amount of herb-Dijon vinaigrette, and the Coach Barn panini (recommended by the counter gal), a surprisingly stylish sandwich of thin-sliced turkey, brie, and strawberries smeared with basil aioli on excellent 7-grain bread. I was wary at first – strawberries in a sandwich can go very, very wrong – but wound up wolfing it down. Real homemade lemonade completed my meal, which came to a measly $8.76, tax included. By the way: did you notice the vintage china plate my lunch came on? The cafe uses a charming mishmosh of hand-me-downs.

There are also 3 different box lunches available, including one for children. Plus each day a special sandwich and salad is on offer – flank steak and tricolor salad the day I visited. You can view the entire menu here.

Griggstown Quail Farm

Griggstown Quail Farm

Griggstown Quail Farm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every Thursday and Friday for most of the growing season the folks at Griggstown offer a grilled lunch outdoors on communal picnic benches – covered with a white tent-like awning, thank goodness, given the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing. Behind the grill is talented chef Tiffany Millen, who I profiled a few months back in US 1 for her home-cooked meal delivery service, Simply Nutritious Meals.

Chef Tiffany. Photo credit: Chuck McEnroe

Three dishes are on offer each day, each costing $6 (tax included). One menu comprised turkey burger sliders, a black bean and barley burger, and grilled pizza topped with grilled peaches, goat cheese, arugula, and a drizzle of honey.

The Friday I dined under the awning I chose a tender chicken quesadilla with super-fresh pico de gallo on the side, while my friend George opted for the roasted veggie sandwich, bulging with excellent produce from the farm. It came on a soft roll smeared with really good mayo mixed with relish. The other choice was a chicken sausage sandwich – clearly, all items that showcase the farm’s poultry, veggies, and herbs.

Cold drinks and side dishes are available for purchase inside the farm store to round out your meal. Not to mention the farm kitchen’s excellent baked goods.

Thursday and Friday are the pick-up days for Griggstown’s CSA members, so the picnic lunches dovetail nicely with that. The farm’s homepage and blog provide info on what’s available for lunch, the CSA program, recipes, and much more.

Spring Dining & How This Year’s Taste of the Nation in Princeton is Different

2oth Year for Share Our Strength’s Princeton Benefit will be a Locavore’s Dream

Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve been attending this event over the years – in Princeton or elsewhere around the state – you know the drill. Tastes of great restaurant food and great drink – wine, beer, and spirits. Nifty foodie-centric auction items. You know that 100% of your money goes to an excellent cause because nationally Taste of the Nation has raised more than $73 million to fight childhood hunger.

Jim Weaver

Jim Weaver (Photo credit: pplflickr)

This year’s event mixes things up a bit. Sure, there will still be impressive restaurants (Elements in Princeton and Michael White’s Due Mari in New Brunswick to name just two). But it will also be a celebration and reunion of sorts for the pioneers of our state’s locavore movement, whose stories are captured in the book Locavore Adventures. In it, chef Jim Weaver relates how he and a small group came to found one of the first Slow Food chapters in the US, and introduces readers to the wildly diverse cast of characters whose businesses have changed the way New Jerseyans and the entire New York metropolitan area eat.

Among those with products on hand for tasting: Atlantic Cape Fisheries (which brought the Delaware Bay Oyster to national attention), The Bent Spoon, Griggstown Quail Farm, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Mosefund Mangalitsa, Salumeria Biellese, and Zone 7.

Other key differences and changes this year:

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village

Tre Piani at Princeton Forrestal Village (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location: Tre Piani Restaurant in Forrestal Village off Route 1 – Jim Weaver’s own place, and the site of the first meeting of what would become Slow Food Central NJ

Day and time: Sunday afternoon, May 20, from 2 to 5 pm. (In the past Taste has been held on a Monday evening)

For a complete list of participating restaurants and vendors (I have only scratched the surface here), and to purchase tickets visit www.strength.org/princeton/

The Spring Dining Issue of US 1 is Out!

I’ve had the privilege of writing the cover stories for US 1 newspaper’s spring and fall dining issues for years now and the latest issue has hit the newsstands. In it I profile the folks behind six Central New Jersey ethnic restaurants – a couple of which you’ve read about in this blog (Alps Bistro & Mercer Street Grill) the rest of which are new finds that I haven’t featured previously: Antimo’s Italian Kitchen, El Tule, Ploy Siam, and Tete. Bon appetit!

Happy Fakesgiving!

First, accept my apologies if you received a “new post” notification earlier today. It was just me still feeling my way around this new site.  Here’s my bona new fide post, about the early Thanksgiving dinner I held a couple of weeks ago (and why), and it ends with one of my favorite holiday recipes.

Why didn’t we wait? Well, my daughter Alice won’t be able to make it home this year, so we decided rather than have it without her, we’d all come together when our schedules allowed. Which turned out to be October. If you live on the East Coast, forget for a moment last weekend’s record snowstorm and think back to the weekend of October 8 & 9 when it was 80 degrees out. Yep, that’s when we were feasting on turkey with all the trimmings. With doors and windows wide open.

At first we referred to the idea as Fake Thanksgiving, but then one of us shortened it to Fakesgiving. I got the folks at Griggstown Quail Farm to agree to allow one of their heritage breed turkeys, a Bourbon Red, to meet its demise several weeks ahead of schedule. As you can see, it was a bit on the scrawny side, causing pangs of guilt on my part. I picked up what had to be some of the first fresh cranberries of the season. I made chestnut soup with the windfall from a friend’s tree. I convinced six friends to join us for dessert, which included pumpkin pie (of course) and the prettiest apple pie I have ever made:

That tall brown bottle next to the pie, by the way, is maple liqueur from Vermont, which goes great with both pies.

I don’t know if it was the heat or the absurdity of pretending it was a holiday, but we all were a bit giddy. That didn’t stop us, though, from going through with our tradition of each naming one specific thing from the last twelve months that we are particularly grateful for.  Nice.

Come November 24, my family will dispersed among California, Sri Lanka, and New Jersey. My husband and I will dine at a friend’s house, and I’ll be toting along the aforementioned favorite dish: Potato Turnip Bake. It’s a very flexible, forgiving recipe, and the best part is you make it in advance. I have to admit that I never make it the same way twice. If the potatoes are on the soft side and the turnips a bit hard, I cook them together for the same length of time.

Happy Fakesgiving! Next up, Festivus???

POTATO-TURNIP BAKE

 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 large turnips, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

3/4 cup shredded cheddar

In a big pot, cover potatoes with cold water by at least an inch and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add turnips and onion and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and turnips are soft. Drain and mash with the butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove 1 cup of the mixture and place in a pastry bag with a large tip. Transfer the rest of the mixture to a 2-quart casserole and decoratively pipe the contents of the bag around the edge. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the cheddar and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Makes 2 quarts.

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