Last month, we treated ourselves to a day at the Food BIZ NJ conference, because now we are all food biz-like, and it was great. We met so many people running vegan-friendly businesses across the Garden State and on the way home Marisa Sweeney threw out an idea that she would only eat vegan food from New Jersey for a month. Amazing! We hyped it a bit and My Central Jersey was nice enough to pick it up and ask people for suggestions.
You would think we might start this on June 1, but you would be wrong. There’s some story behind it, but for this post, what you need to know is the challenge started on Monday, June 5. It turned out that we also didn’t really work out the rules, but since we are making them up, I think it’s fair to say we will find a way for Marisa to justify eating at least a few of the vegan meringues we just got in the mail from Meringue Shop (look for our live video sometime this week!). Note: when I say ‘we,’ I totally just mean Marisa for this challenge, because I’m eating whatever I want.
Whew. OK, with some vague rules in mind, Marisa headed off to a local health food store in Morristown and asked for some help finding local New Jersey products and they didn’t have any. So ok, day one, not off to a stellar start, but it’s all a learning process, right?
Here’s what Marisa ending up chowing down on on Day #1.
Parmela Creamery Kalamata Olive Creamy Nutcheese with Mary’s Gone Crackers Jalapeno Crackers. New Jersey Rating: not rated.
This is definitely a tasty snack! Parmela Creamery makes their vegan nut cheeses in Torrance, California and this was served on Mary’s Gone Crackers, which makes their crispy hummus holders in Gridley, California. So while this was rated an A for great taste, it was without a New Jersey rating.
Banzo Elbows Made from Chickpeas, with Beyond Meat Crumbles and Gerardo’s Home Style Marinara Sauce. New Jersey Rating 6 (bonus for presentation)
Gerardo’s Home Style Marinara sauce gets an all star New Jersey vegan food rating: it is made in Chester and paired well with Banzo Elbows and Beyond Meat Crumbles. The Gerardo Family has been in the food business since 1905 when they launching Newark and their products can be found in 500 stores in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania an Connecticut. Served in a a cup Marisa picked up on LBI at The Local Market and Kitchen for bonus Garden State points. Marisa would also like to take this opportunity to recommend the Black Bean and Quinoa wrap if you do stop by to get your own mug.
I sort of thought Banzo was made in New Jersey because someone told me their dentist was related to the person who came up with it, but that’s how the vegan rumor mill rolls on. It looks like it was created in Detroit and so, while awesomely delish, I can’t give it any New Jersey points. Beyond Meat is from California, so well it might be much loved, it’s not a Garden State thing.
Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups. New Jersey rating: not rated.
Peanut butter cups are a solid Yay, but Justin seems like he makes these in Boulder, California. I also sort of wondered if these were vegan, but Vegan Essentials gives them a thumbs up, so will stick with them.
Moving Forward. Day one, a rough start to this challenge. Day two is running smoothly and will involve some amazing food from around New Jersey, so check back in tomorrow for sure. We also will be heading out to a Dean’s on Friday, if all goes well, and checking out what New Jersey products they have, because someone told us that’s the place to go. We really should have had a vegan pop-up shop to plan ahead, but we won’t be able to stock up until June 25 when it is back at the Laundromat Bar in Morristown.