Certainly there is no short of culinary treasure in the Garden State. New Jersey is rich in real food, that comes artfully prepared. The state possesses a wealth of locally sourced food and is filled with culinary talent including personal chefs and caterers. This is a great perk to residents to have so many delicious options available. The array of choices allows us to eat well everyday.
The Jersey Tomato
The Garden State is known for several culinary treasures that have achieved renown far beyond the Jersey borders. The Jersey tomato is likely the best known food from the state. Tomato lovers prize the garden beauty for its rich red color, “sweet-tart” flavor and sumptuous juiciness. Culinary historians source the Jersey tomato to its original cultivation in 1829 at Morristown. A combination of factors including genetics, sandy-acidic soil, a humid climate, and cultivation techniques present in the state are responsible for its unique creation.
Pork Roll (or Taylor Ham)
A dish that both brings New Jerseyans together and splits the state right through the middle. Referred to in the northern parts of the state as Taylor Ham and Pork Roll in the southern parts, since 1856, when John Taylor first conceived it, anyone living in or traveling through the Garden State finds this dish to be a breakfast staple. However, if you happen to be an out-of-stater it’s unlikely you have ever known of this delicious porcine product.
So what is this Jersey native dish? It’s not like ham, sausage or bacon but resembles bologna and tastes like a cross between canadian bacon and bacon. The pork is packed into a canvas and sliced thin then grilled until the edges are crisp and blackened. Usually served on a Kaiser Roll with egg and cheese, but depending on the area it might be served on a toasted bagel, with potatoes, and almost always with SPK (or for the non-Jerseyan salt, pepper, and ketchup).
Italian Hot Dog
Originating in Newark, NJ, the Italian Hot Dog is nothing less of a tradition in the state. The man behind this dish, Jimmy Buff, served his first creation in 1932 at his restaurant of the same name. Much like what a cheesesteak is to Philadelphia, the Italian Hot Dog has been made the same way throughout the decades. The original recipe is a deep fried frank topped with deep fried potatoes, sauteed onions, and peppers all wrapped in an Italian roll.
New Jersey isn’t called the Garden State for nothing. Home to the Blueberry Capital of the World, Hammonton, it’s believed they have bred the perfect blueberry. By teaming up with a USDA botanist, the White family bred blueberry bushes for the first time in 1911 and by 1916 the first crop was harvested. Since then, the southern Jersey climate and superb geographical location has created an almost $80 million blueberry industry.
They aren’t the served hot, messy ground beef sandwiches you’re thinking of but New Jersey natives would argue their take on the sandwich is far superior. Thought to of originated at Town Hall Deli in South Orange, NJ, the New Jersey Sloppy Joe is a cold served deli sandwich. Traditionally a layered sandwich of turkey, ham, roast beef, pastrami, corned beef, swiss cheese, coleslaw, and russian dressing, this dish is not only flavorful but awfully filling too.
From locally grown Jersey tomatoes and blueberries to Sloppy Joe’s and Italian Hot Dogs, there is no shortage of edible gems in New Jersey. In the Garden State, culinary treasure can start right in your own backyard.