Mount Salem Kitchen Is Showcasing 400 Years of Food And Immigration At Our Farm

In New Jersey, it comes second-nature to lament our state’s harsh winters, high taxes and endless parade of traffic. But one thing we often take for granted is also a highlight that we enjoy three times a day – the vast, diverse food scene, as not many states can celebrate such an array of cultural cuisine all within one tiny (yet packed) place.

In Edison, we can find Asian markets with authentic ingredients and restaurants lining Route 27. In Jersey City, Filipino bakeries and eateries have dubbed it “Little Manila.” In Raritan Borough, the Italian cooking culture is so strong that it’s been joked that locals will check your trash, making sure no empty cans of premade tomato sauce can be found. In New Brunswick, Hungarian grandmothers serve their best pierogi and goulash.

A home across oceans in New Jersey

We have a wave of immigrants from at least 40 counties spanning 400 years to thank for that. Throughout centuries, immigrants have been drawn to big cities like New York City and Philadelphia, and, as they have searched for more space, good schools and better lives, they’ve found a home in-between in New Jersey.

Our wine and onion tarts: A Simple, Perfect Pairing at Mount Salem Vineyards

We’ve always been cognizant of this, which is partly why we’ve always hosted our annual LongTable harvest dinner. Here, 100 attendees do the cooking by bringing a dish that reflects their own heritage while still using at least one locally-grown ingredient. In one meal, it solidifies the ever-evolving New Jersey food culture that is as great as the sum of its parts – parts that span the entire planet.

Now, we want to bring that to more of our visitors in more than one meal, and also show them what makes our cultures unique – as well as what blends them together.

How we’ll showcase worldwide cultures

Every week, we’ll choose a culinary tradition that has present or past roots from New Jersey immigrants – we already have 40 on the docket – and we’ll present dishes inspired by that culture right here at our farm.

Lecsó: A Smoky, Vegetable Stew That’s Our Central European ‘Soul Food’

We’re ready to put in the forkwork. We’ll invest time to understand each culture’s dishes and histories, as well as seek the ingredients to prepare them authentically. To do this, we’ll also try to find a cultural ambassador from that heritage to guide us along the way, ensuring that the knowledge and cuisine that we pass onto you is the real deal, while still maintaining a Mount Salem Kitchen touch.

First off, we plan to present fare from our state’s original residents – the Lenape, who are an indigenous people to our region.

Stay tuned for how you can learn more about the Lenape table at one of our upcoming Mount Salem Kitchen events. 


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