RED BANK: IT’S BEEN A PEACH OF A SEASON

Caitlyn Hickey and Catherine Lovallo of Hauser Hill Farms in Old Bridge are off to college now, but Farmer John Hauser will be at the table this weekend. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Labor day weekend is a high point for Jersey produce, and the Red Bank Farmer’s Market this Sunday will be a sure-fire place to get every last bit of flavor a Garden State summer has to offer.

Farmer John Hauser of Hauser Hill Farms in Old Bridge tells redbankgreen it will be a peak weekend for peaches, tomatoes and squash.

“If you haven’t gotten any peaches yet this summer, or if you haven’t gotten any to put away in the freezer, this is the time to do it,” says Hauser. “Don’t wait until September 15th, when they’re scarce and the price is high.”

Hauser says if you want to stock up, you can slice and freeze the peaches to use them in your cooking all winter long.

“A frozen peach added when you’re cooking is the same as a fresh peach,” he says. Hauser says his truck will be bringing white and yellow flesh peaches to the market.

What else is on the table? Jersey tomatoes, of course.

“It’s a good weekend traditionally for tomatoes,” says Hauser. “A lot of our Italian customers still do some jarring and make their own sauce with the plum tomatoes.”

This weekend, a lot of people will be in canning mode, and it’s not just about plum tomatoes, either.

“Plum tomatoes are the best for the sauce,” Hauser says. “But then we have customers who make another red gravy that’s not quite as thick, and they like to buy the big Jersey tomatoes. But they buy the ones that have blemishes or cracks that we sell at a greatly reduced price.”

Hauser notes that he sold out of tomatoes last weekend, moving more than 10 25-pound cases.

Late August is also a peak time for squash.

“We’ve got our second crop in now. We’ve got goldwater – which is a gold zucchini – green zucchini, meatball zucchini and yellow summer squash.”

So maybe between beers, barbecues and the beach this weekend, you can take some time to make some sauce for winter, or not. Got a favorite red sauce recipe you want to share with us? Leave it in the comments below.

The Red Bank Farmers Market sets up every Sunday from Mother’s Day to mid-November in the parking lot of the Galleria Red Bank, at the corner of West Front Street and Shrewsbury Avenue, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.