It’s a little horrifying to most residents of my home state that New Jersey has become “the land of the Sopranos,” home to badly behaved Jersey Shore kids who aren’t from Jersey, and a state where all the couture is glitzy, tight and low-cut. New shows about New Jersey seem to be cropping up all the time, and the people who produce these shows don’t seem to care that they are only portraying what life is like for perhaps .01 percent of the people who live in The Garden State.


New Jersey’s public television station, NJN, is currently airing its own series about New Jersey — one that depicts a state that most of its residents recognize. “NJ FRESH!” premiered last week with the first of four episodes that visit “four community farmers markets in the Garden State with side trips to several farms, exploring the connection between people and local food and land, discovering the freshest produce, learning how it’s grown and, with the help of experienced chefs, demonstrating how to serve up the harvest of the Garden State in delicious meals.”

For those of you who don’t have access to NJN, the shows go online after they air. The first episode that features the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market in Flemington, N.J., is available to view now. Along with the video, there’s a recipe for Marinated Grilled Chicken and Grilled Bean and Onion Salad with Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette. A different recipe will accompany each video.

Jim Zombeck, the producer of “NJ FRESH!,” commented on my South Jersey Locavore blog that this show is a “labor of love” for the “handful of NJN staff who worked tirelessly this summer to help coordinate, produce and direct some of the shoots” around their other their other assignments. They'd like to be able to continue the series next year.

If you’re interested in finding out about the real New Jersey, I encourage you to check out “NJ FRESH!” You don’t need to be from the state to appreciate the food, the chefs and the recipes featured on this realistic reality show. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Finally, reality TV that shows the real New Jersey
‘NJ FRESH!’ showcases why New Jersey is rightly called The Garden State.