What isn’t pumpkin flavoring added to these days? I could easily write a Forrest Gump style list of all the squash related dishes that show up on menus and in cookbooks at this time of year but that would be annoying. Not to mention the beverages — alcoholic and caffeinated — supplemented with pumpkin intent. So I won’t.
I’m writing this with the tune of David Bowie’s “ch-ch-ch-ch changes. Turn and face the strange,” running through my brain. This past year has been nothing but changes. Changes in what we’re cooking in the kitchen, changes in what kitchen we’re cooking in, changes in where we are working, and changes made to our lifestyle in general. If you’d told me a year ago — yesterday — that this is where we’d be now, I would have laughed my head off. If you’d told me that we would be happier, and better off for turning our lives upside down, I would not have believed you.
How does a thirty five year old Jersey Girl with a degree in biology become a sustainable farmer? Jessica Isbrecht, a self proclaimed anomaly, is raising heritage pigs, chickens, goats, and a handful of turkeys, rabbits and geese on 30 acres of the 2,740 acre tract of land left to the state of New Jersey by heiress, socialite, and philanthropist, Doris Duke.
Annual events have a tendency to become stale and in time mundane. An exception is the happily titled Beer, Bourbon, BBQ, Year of the Chicken, a suburban, backyard food and drink extravaganza that sprang from the minds of Sissy and Rick Norman. That spark of an idea would become an epic conflagration — with the help of Dave Mayhew and his wife Jen — into the 2017 celebration of professional chefs, bartenders, beer brewers, and entertainers seen in the pictures below.
A moment of pure bliss: I’m standing in the Fair Haven Fields community garden under a wall of eight foot tall sunflowers. It’s a hot-muggy 90 degrees already, but in this split second I’m alone with the honey bees and all I can smell, and all I can see is green. A thousand different aspects of green.