RED BANK: TOMATOES EARLY; MOST ELSE, LATE

A quick tour of the Farmers’ Market, as seen on June 1. (Video by Gerda Liebmann. Click to pause.)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumRed Bank Farmers’ Market regular John Hauser of Hauser Hill Farms in Old Bridge tells PieHole that the long, cold winter has set produce availability back by about two weeks.

“It was cold through April and May, and we’re about 10 to 14 days behind schedule,” says Hauser. The upshot is that vegetables such as green zucchinis and kirby pickling cucumbers that are typically available by the last week of May are hard to find out in the fields this week.

The delayed growing season also means this weekend’s Farmer’s Market at the Galleria will still be dominated by lettuce and greens. But Hauser says if you get to the market early, you’ll catch some strawberries and tomatoes, too.

Yes, a Jersey tomato in early June, when the rest of the vegetables are two weeks behind sounds unbelievable. Hauser tells PieHole that this is only possible because he built a high greenhouse tunnel on the farm and put the first tomatoes in the ground in March.

“Traditionally, you would see your first Jersey tomato around the Fourth of July, but growing them under protective cover brings these tomatoes in a month earlier,” says Hauser.

If you’re looking to get your BLT on, get to the Galleria early. “It’s definitely a lighter supply,” he says.

Hauser will also be bringing PieHole’s favorite eggs, still $3.50 per dozen, or $3 if you bring your own carton. We have only managed to score a few dozen of these eggs so far this year, as they’ve been selling out before we get there. Hauser tells us the chickens are now producing more, though, so we’re hoping the stash will hold out longer this weekend.

As for the delay in produce caused by the long winter, don’t expect it to get better soon. Hauser says the delayed timetable is going to hold through the entire season this year.

“We’re going to be lucky if we have corn available for 4th of July this year,” he says.