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Jan 12, 2009 04:37 PM

Eating Local: Princeton

On different posts I've read different rules about what is considered local--some say 50 miles, others same county, and then others, within a 7 hour drive.

The idea started here:

Trenton's Farmer's Market & Halo Dairy Farm: 9 miles
Brooklyn's Porto Rico (coffee roasters): within 50 (though with beans from around the world; I consider them a small, artisinal, local company which also has fair trade, organic, bird friendly, and shade grown beans).
Fishing in the Atlantic: 40 miles away
Pumpkins, squashes, and peppers: assorted farms within 11 miles
Hopewell Winery: 11 miles (favourite: Rosso Della Valle, $15 & their white port, $17
)Triumph Brewery: 2.5 blocks away
Jersey Fresh crushed tomatoes
Griggstown Quail Farm: 8 miles
Laird's Applejack: 33 miles

I've found that there's even bison, beef, lamb and other locally raised meats can be had also, and would like to start a thread to help out those wanting to eat locally.

I've started browsing some older Pepin cookbooks, and local as well as seasonal is usually cheaper. Some of the farm prices for bison and beef are on par, pricewise, with the meat sold at the local stores.

I was amazed that everything I might want to eat (aside from certain French cheeses and my Greek olive oil) could be purchased or sourced locally.


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  1. Caralien- have you ever been to the Rutgers co-op extension farmer's market they have every summer in New Brunswick? Local meats, farmstand bouquets, local fruits and veggies, local cheeses, even a local pickle stand! I think you would like it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: njchowgal

      not yet, but thanks for the idea! It's funny driving past the cows on Route 1 (what , cows?) . I heard about a lot of the markets, but many are closed for the season. It's been 2 weeks since I've been to the Trenton Market, which really is an amazing place.

    2. Locally pastured beef, lamb, and pork can be had at Cherry Grove Farm on Rte 206 between Lawrenceville and Princeton. They also offer several cheeses.

      Also on the cheese front there is Valley Shepherd Creamery in southern Morris County.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MercerChow

        What did you think of the cheeses (and meats) from Cherry Grove? I liked the eggs, but found them a bit pricey at $5/dozen. My husband liked their gouda.

        1. re: MercerChow

          Valley Shepherd Creamery is about 30 minutes from me. Their cheeses are VERY good and are sold at numerous farmers' markets and local restaurants.

          You can also purchase lamb here and while I've never tried it I've received favorable reports from friends who have.

          1. re: ambrose

            Whole Earth carries Valley Shepherd cheeses, so I may try that since I can't figure out from the website whether they're open on the weekends or not (anyone?). We're trying to visit farmer's markets, wineries, farms, etc. each weekend, so I'll definitely earmark this one.

            1. re: Caralien

              Whole Earth is wonderful, know it has been there forever but have been on an ice cream quest this summer, they carry Bent Spoon 1/2 Gallons. Parking is much easier here than downtown. The flavors rotate each week, they never know what flavors will be sent over, you can call and they are super helpful. A new shipment arrives on Weds or Thurs. Just a happy note to this super wonderful thread of information.

              1. re: shabbystorm

                I'm a huge fan of Halo, but appreciate the Bent Spoon offerings. It's fortunate that Whole Earth was across the lot from Tom Young Goong & Sultan Wok--2 places which were destroyed by a fire earlier this month.

        2. Caralien, thanks for starting this thread. I suspect that most of the places that will be mentioned by posters have already been discussed on Chowhound but it will be really useful to have them all listed in one place.

          For grass fed beef and pork, try Simply Grazin' on Route 206 north of Princeton. Some of their products are sold at the Princeton Whole Foods store but they do operate their own retail shop which is open on Thursdays and Saturdays.

          For bison meat, you could try the Readington River Buffalo Farm on Route 523 (near Stanton) . They too operate a retail shop on Saturdays and Sundays. If you go to the Buffalo Farm, you might want to combine it with a visit to the Valley Shepherd Creamery.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ambrose

            So far Saturday's plan appears to be Readington River Buffalo Farm, Valley Shepherd Creamery, and lunch at Long Valley Brewery...

            1. re: Caralien

              Suggest you phone Valley Shepherd before you go. Although the store seems to be open at this time of year, the web site says it is OFF SITE this year (look at the bottom of their home page).


          2. "Laird's Applejack: 33 miles"

            Sadly, Laird's hasn't distilled in NJ since the 1970's- that's all done at their facility in Virginia. NJ is just warehousing and aging (the latter, of course, a very important factor nevertheless).

            For other "adult beverages", tho', there's also the River Horse Brewery, in Lambertsville- a true bottling/kegging brewery- so their beers are available in liquor stores. (Unlike Triumph, which as a brewpub, by law can only sell beer on premise). RH has recently gotten new owners and a new brewer, and are putting out some very interesting beers and their older beers are much more consistent than they once were.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JessKidden

              Couldnt agree more with this comment. River Horse has been doing a tremendous job lately and really stepped up their game to make Jersey proud.

              The Oatmeal Stout was tremendous.

              1. re: JessKidden

                Keep an eye on Terhune Orchards in Lawrence Twp. Not only are they growing grapes and building a winery, but rumor has it that they will also be putting their wonderful apples to a new use, i.e., hard cider and applejack. Not sure of the time frame, though.

                1. re: MercerChow

                  Wow, that sounds interesting. Even tho' my primarily interest is beer, I wouldn't mind a local cider, and a true "Jersey Lightning" applejack again.

                  Seems that would require two separate licenses (winery and distillery) which would be a big start-up expense. I know some states (New York, in particular) recently created some sort of "Farm Distillery" license but I doubt NJ has a similar program.

              2. Today's journey:
                Amwell Valley Vineyard: under new ownership, slated to reopen in Autumn 2009
                Unionville Vineyards: under new ownership, slated to reopen in Autumn 2009

                Simply Grazin: closed for the season

                Readington River Buffalo Farm ( we picked up a 6lb brisket, 1lb of hot dogs, and 1lb of ground meat, and a pepperoni to eat until we found lunch.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Caralien

                  ps- Do you ever go to NJ wine festivals?

                  1. re: njchowgal

                    we just moved here mid September, so we'll be heading there this coming autumn!