My grandmother has lived in New Jersey ever since I can remember. The house she lives in used to be surrounded by farmland. Eventually, most of those farms have been replaced by warehouses or shopping centers. I took this photo a little over three years ago; the view today would show you a medical center next to a drug store.
Luckily there are still a few farms, and during a visit in October one of my cousins decided she wanted to visit one of the farm stands that used to be ubiquitous in the area. I joined her; I don’t think I ever went to one as a child.
Although there was plenty of beautiful Jersey produce, it seems like that’s not enough to keep the business going. There were plastic-wrapped bananas, and piles of lemons that obviously were not grown on on a New Jersey farm. Still, the Jersey tomatoes looked luscious and perfect, and the pile of vegetables my cousin purchased cost her a fraction of what it would cost in a large supermarket.
To me, the farm stand felt like a throwback, something desperately trying to gold off extinction just a little bit longer. How long until the farm sells out? I’m sure the land is much more valuable than the vegetables, at least in monetary terms. And yet there is also something almost sacred about the family-owned produce stand, something you don’t see much of in these days of conglomerates and big industrial agriculture. Here’s to hoping that Jersey farm stands stick around just a little but longer.