I don’t know about you, but I can think back to one moment that caused me to become a foodie. When living in Italy, I was exposed to a model of cooking and eating that I had never looked for in the US (then again at 19 years old my diet in the US was comprised mostly of cheesesteaks (whiz wit of course), pizza and anything that could be delivered to a dorm room).

Italians eat almost exclusively FRESH meals. When they go shopping, they don’t look for something they see on television or something popular, they look for something just plucked out of the ground or the sea. No ad campaigns, no celebrity endorsers. The only endorsement these items got was the approval of hungry Romans – and that is a hard one to get. The menus at local eateries reflected it, changed weekly or even daily based upon the freshest seafood or vegetables. My tastebuds were blindsided by this. Most dishes were simply made with 3 or 4 ingredients, all fresh. I consider this the first time I truly tasted in my life, because it was here that I learned something incredible: freshness is not only something you can see or smell, but also most definitely something you can taste.

I was hooked! So became my quest for fresh. The fresher the better. When I returned to the States, I began walking into grocery stores with no ingredients in mind, and instead venturing to the freshest ones. My cooking improved. In restaurants I began ordering in line with seasons and seeking out any daily special that was just caught.

Fortunately for me, the fresh movement was not new by any means. And being on Long Beach Island, fresh fruits, veggies and seafood are easy to find! In fact New Jersey has an entire website dedicated to supporting locally harvested, fresh produce and seafood. Below are just a few of the many different places you can find super fresh and local items across the state – you’ll be surprised how many are near LBI!

What’s in Season? Find out what fruits and vegetables are at their freshest throughout the year! Click here for the complete list.

Roadside Markets Browse by county to find local roadside markets. Most occur one or more times per week and bring in farmers from across the state! Click here for the state listing page.

Farmer’s Markets If you are looking for a big selection of locally grown produce this is the place for you! Click here for the complete listing.

Restaurants that Support Local Produce and Seafood LBI Foodies proudly supports restaurants that purchase goods from local farmers and fishermen. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Restaurant Association have partnered to inform patrons of restaurants that serve up local ingredients. So next time you are out to eat, look for some Jersey Fresh signage! Click here for the NJ Department of Agriculture Restaurant page.

We hope that next time you are cooking or dining out, you will look for local fresh ingredients. You won’t be disappointed!

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