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NEW JERSEY

Tomatoes

New Jersey Tomatoes "The Jersey tomato, long treasured at home for its tanginess and succulence, is making a move for the big leagues". Grown organically (not in hot houses), these tomatoes are tasty, juicy and far superior to anything you would buy at the supermarket (although supermarkets in states near New Jersey will carry fresh Jersey tomatoes in season). The best choice is to stop buy a local farm stand as you cruise on your way to the Jersey shore or head home. The best tomatoes are allowed to mature on the vine and not picked early for long distance shipping. Jersey tomatoes can be eaten like an apple and are delicious, but be sure to have a napkin handy!

NEW YORK

Deli

New York CheesecakeMany cities have delicatessens- but few can equal New York for its variety, genuine freshness and quality of fare. We love good delis- and those in New York are the best. What is a delicatessen? A place which offers a variety of fresh cut lunch meats, as well as specialty items such as gourmet cheeses, pate, pickles, sauerkraut, blintzes, fresh rolls, breads- and, of course, cheesecake. Perhaps the most cherished fare at most delis is the corned beef on rye or Reuben sandwich. Our all-time favorite deli is The Stage Deli in New York- right up the street from The Carnegie Deli- (which claims to have "premier" status due to its proximity to Carnegie Hall), but the food at The Stage Deli is better and they have a great little bar where you can sit and watch the ball game or news while you enjoy their "best in class" corned beef on rye with Russian dressing and a pickle!! Delis are good... and great delis are a gift to mankind! Enjoy!

PENNSYLVANIA

Mushrooms

Kennett Square MushroomsKnown as the "Mushroom Capital of the World", Kennett Square grows 51% of the nations mushroom crop. Most people are familiar with the common button mushroom, but there are numerous varieties that have unique flavors and shapes such as Baby Bella, Shiitake, Portabella, Oyster and Maitake. The Mushroom Cap, located in downtown Kennett Square, is a great place to visit to learn more about mushrooms and purchase some to take home. Kennett even has an annual mushroom festival in September. But the question begs to be asked - why Kennett Square? There is a good historic review in an article by Samuel Flammini on the Evolution of the Mushroom Industry in Kennett Square. Did you know that mushrooms are grown in the dark because they don't need light (no chlorophyll), not because they can't take light. Eliminating light saves on utilities and other costs. If you are in the Brandywine Valley area, be sure to try some great mushroom soup whether pureed or creamy with large pieces of mushrooms!

Cheesesteaks

Philly CheesesteakPerhaps the best known simple culinary delight associated with Philadelphia is the Philly cheesesteak. Often imitated, never equaled- the Philly cheesesteak is something to indulge in, to enjoy after months of watching your diet and counting calories. The "original" cheesesteak began its life with Pat's Steaks in South Philadelphia- yet many cheesesteak lovers still think of Geno's- literally across the street- as the home of the cheesesteak. Jim's Steaks on South Street ranks right up there with those two- and in this author's opinion, produces some of the tastiest cheesesteaks in the region. What is a cheesesteak? Picture a hoagie (another South Philadelphia tradition) made of grilled, tender chunks of steak along with grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers- covered with freshly melted Provolone cheese. Cheesesteak aficionados will tell you that Geno's- which uses Cheeze Whiz- is a "traitor" to the true cheesesteak tradition. We make no claims about any entity having the "true" cheesesteak- but we must admit that those firms which continue the tradition of Pat's (including other South Philadelphia eateries like Jim's Steaks) are our favorites and ohhhhhhh... what a delicious thing to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon watching a football game with an ice cold beer... the one and only Philly cheesesteak.

Scrapple

Pennsylvania ScrappleA breakfast meat common in the tri-state area, scrapple is the first pork food invented in America. Although the actual contents might make some people uneasy (pork internal organs and scraps mixed with cornmeal, flour and seasonings), it actually tastes very good. Scrapple comes in a loaf that is sliced and fried, but be careful not to overcook or it becomes hard as a rock on the outside. I know scrapple as a Pennsylvania Dutch invention, but Delaware claims to be the scrapple capital of the U.S. Is there a grits capital too? If you would like to order some fresh scrapple from the Lancaster County area (original home to scrapple) try Stoltzfus Meats or Kunzler and Company.

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