Sourcing New Jersey – Day 2
The journey continues with Little Town New Jersey
There were several goals of the trip. One, to find local NJ suppliers to work with the restaurant, and two, to “get inspired” by New Jersey and find the best Garden State items to put on the menu. Additionally, the trip was a three-day “think tank,” as the owners made decisions on the fly with the help of the group’s input. Was a total blast!
While Day 1 was about fisheries, wineries and Jersey Shore boardwalks – Day 2 was more about breweries and farmland as we headed inland from the ocean.
Our first stop was a Jersey staple – a diner – Ocean Bay Diner in Point Pleasant where were tried recovering from our hangovers to prepare for the long day ahead.
NJ Craft Beer – Kane Brewing Co. – Ocean, New Jersey
Our next two stops were all about beer – straightforward and without hassle. The mission? Taste the beer and talk about logistics, quite simply.
We rolled into Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, NJ early in the morning. Met the owners, heard the concise history, and took a tour of their clean facility. While I don’t drink beer anymore (not low-carb friendly), I did have a few tastes and enjoyed the flavor – refreshing. Brought back memories of polishing 12-packs easily back in the day. The rest of the group enjoyed the beer as well. If Kane (as well as other local breweries) find a home at Little Town – expect fun special events and tastings in the future as well.
Carton Brewing – Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands was a highlight for many. The owners seemed to hit it off, and the various blends of beers we sampled were a big hit. They have a clever logo, which is actually the last names of the brewers.
We felt it was cool the way you can operate a sophisticated brewing company in a rather ordinary building on a residential side-street. Expect to see Carton on tap at Little Town NJ as well!
Detour in Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Not everyone that rode along committed to the entire three-day journey – and needed to figure out a way back north. And after some brainstorming trying to figure out the best way (train, etc.), we realized that the SeaStreak to NYC wasn’t far from where we were, so we made our way down to the Atlantic Highlands waterfront. Have you ever been there? It’s a very unique spot. You can even see the World Trade Center – which is 20 linear miles away! (Almost 50 miles by car)
It was time to eat anyway, so we stayed a while and grabbed a meal at On the Deck restaurant on the marina. No surprise, but they served fresh seafood!
If you’re ever in the mood for a interesting day trip – Atlantic Highlands is a great option.
Dewolf’s U Pick Farm – New Egypt, NJ
After the brewery visits – it was another hour bus ride back south – this time to New Egypt, NJ – and my favorite spot of the trip: Dewolf’s U Pick farm.
This operation fascinated me in many ways. While the property was over 220 acres in size, it had such a “small business” feel, along with extremely strong family ties – you couldn’t help but root for them and want to support them. And incredibly affordable – a fraction of the cost of supermarkets, and healthier too. I spotted several area restaurant owners picking their veggies during our stay.
We took a tractor tour of the property and talked to the owners who already do some distribution in the city and in North Jersey. Their crops range from Spinach, strawberries, broccoli and cucumbers in the spring and early summer – to peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and more later in the summer. And coming next month you can pick your own peanuts with a pitchfork. Ending out the growing season is pumpkins and other autumnal activities like hay rides and corn mazes.
It’s too bad we don’t have operations like this closer to Hoboken, as the fuel for a 90 minute drive would negate the cost-savings. I’d have to buy 1,000 cucumbers!
Either way – it’s still a great day-trip idea for you adventurous types!
Last stop: Princeton, NJ
Day 2 was coming to an end – and Princeton was a good spot to rest considering the itinerary for the next day.
Princeton is a lot like Hoboken – but cleaner and more civilized (and virtually zero potholes). We tried getting a large group table over at the Triumph Brewing Company – but the place was packed with people watching the Olympics – so we enjoyed a very tasty sushi dinner at Nassau down the street. We did have nightcaps at Triumph afterward. Warning – if you’re hungry – don’t look at this gallery! Mouth watering sushi!
Stay tuned for Day 3 tomorrow – searching for menu inspiration!