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best produce?

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Where do you like to go for produce in the Middletown/Holmdel area? I can usually count on Dearborn for decent prices, but I've been charged with bringing fruit for a large group so I want to find good quality too. I'm in the market for a good watermelon in particular. Thanks!

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  1. I always prefer the farmer's market -- particularly the Red Bank farmers market on Sundays. Right now you can get good peaches and blueberries. I've had some excellent black raspberries, but those might be gone until Fall. I've been buying peaches from Casola Farms and they've been good.

    If you'd rather shop at a store and/or need produce that is not locally in season, I prefer Dearborn Farms. Their produce management is quite good. If I'm only making one stop, I'll go to Dearborn for the best chance of good quality at fair prices. Though I've never seen any decent organically grown fruit.

    I think Whole Foods produce dept has improved lately. Sometimes the quality is as good as Dearborn. And of course, they have a much better selection of organic. Generally they will be more expensive than Dearborn.

    I also like Sickles Market in Rumson. But it is pricey.

    1. I'll throw in another vote for the Red Bank Farmer's Market, however I also like Delicious Orchards (Colt's Neck), Campobello's Market (Holmdel), and Samaha's Farm Market (Aberdeen).

      1. I love the Farmer's Market in Red Bank as well. Am hoping to try out the ones in Keyport and Atlantic Highlands soon. Will report on them.

          1. i can report on the market in keyport. while a limited number of stands, 2, nice quality squash, peppers, tomatoes, corn, cabbage, blueberries and cucumbers. saw peaches, but were not ready, will wait a couple more weeks. "the farm" in freehold off 537 always had great stuff, nice people as well. used to get my blueberries from "earth friendly organic farm" in cream ridge. dearborn has beautiful stuff, and agree, whole foods has great organic selection.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefMD

              Don't forget the Collards!!!!!! Collards, banana peppers, jalapenos, white corn - at the (small but hopefully soon to grow) Keyport market. Samaha's on Lloyd Road in Aberdeen is starting to get some nice local stuff as well, Jersey tomatoes are starting, they also have their own corn, honey & cream, as well as white. Also golden zuchinni, string beans, and while it's not NJ - really good watermelon.

            2. So I checked out Atlantic Highlands Farmer's Market this past Friday, their first one. Only a handful of stands. I didn't get there til about 6:30pm and it was on til 8pm. Most stuff was gone. Lithuian bakery from Elizabeth had one loaf of bread left. There were two produce stands, also pratically wiped out. Bought some nice yellow zucchini and squash, red onions, and some yellow plums, which are fabulous. There was also a pickle vendor there and one jewelery vendor (with great stuff I must say). The one produce stand was from Old Bridge and they are the same vendors who go to Keyport (will be trying that one this week).

              2 Replies
              1. re: dani0622

                In my experience of visiting farmer's markets, getting there much later than a few hours after kickoff usually ensures slim pickings, regardless of how late they plan to keep the market open (mostly for the vendors selling non-foods). Also, the growing is still young for most of the locals, which could also account for small number of farmstand sellers.

                1. re: aklein

                  I noticed that too. Luckily for me I can get to the Red Bank one early on. It's these weekdays one that force me to attend later on due to work. Darn work! The Red Bank one is probably the best one around as they have the most vendors.