Food Notes: It’s Apple Days at Terhune Orchards!

September brings New Jersey’s favorite apples, and along with them comes seven weekends of apple celebrations at Terhune Orchards in Lawrence.

Apple Days Harvest Festival begins this weekend, Sept. 14 and 15, from 10 am to 5 pm each day and continues weekends through Oct. 27

Apples in a variety of forms will be available including fresh for eating and in pies, muffins and donuts. Freshly pressed cider is available at the farm while apple wine made at Terhune is available at the winery. Festival food for sale also includes hot dogs, barbecued chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, vegetarian chili, soup and salads.

A family friendly festival, there will be tractor-pulled wagon rides, live music, hay bale and corn mazes, pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, scavenger hunts, pumpkin painting, rubber duck races, pony rides and the interactive Adventure Barn with exhibits highlighting the Garden State.

Admission is $10; children younger than 3 are admitted free. Admission includes music, barnyard games, nature trail, adventure barn, wagon rides, pedal tractor area, discovery barn, children’s games, hay bale maze, corn maze and painting pumpkins. Those who only want to pick apples can find them in the Kirk Road orchard, just around the corner from the farm on Cold Soil Road.

For more information, go to

Canning and storytelling

Preserving fresh produce for the months ahead takes time and effort, so the staff at Howell Living History Farm is hoping visitors to the farm on Saturday, Sept. 14, will help with their canning and pickling labors.

To make things more fun, the staff has combined a canning day with a visit from the New Jersey Storytellers Network, and promises that its members will be offering their tales of farming in the barnyard on Saturday. Visitors can share their own farm stories during special sessions in the horse barn and black smith’s forge.

Canning and Storytelling Day is 10 am to 4 pm at the farm, located in Hopewell Township at 70 Woodens Lane (GPS Lambertville).

Parking and admission are free. The annual corn maze opens at the farm on Sept. 21, a day when visitors also can help with plowing and manure spreading. For more information, go to

Stepping into the past

Friday, Sept. 13 is Tavern Night at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, and a chance to be immersed in an evening at an 18th century tavern.

From 7 to 10 pm there will be savory hors d’oeuvres and an open beer and wine bar, card games from long ago, gambling with wooden nickels, and a chance to learn dances from the 1700s. Period dress is welcome but not required.

The fundraiser supports the museum’s “Meet the Past” student field trips.

Tickets are sold in advance, $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers. They are sold at

Food trucking time

Those in search of a variety of food trucks and craft beers can find them Sunday, Sept. 15 from 11 am to 5 pm at the West Windsor Food Truck Festival.

Located at 877 Alexander Road, Princeton, dining choices will range from lobster to cupcakes to pierogis to empanadas with more than a dozen food trucks participating. Beverage choices will include a variety of local favorites: River Horse Summer Blonde, Bell’s Smitten Pale Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Neshaminy Creek Churchville Lager and Downeast Hard Cider.

Admission is free and the event will be held rain or shine. For more information see the West Windsor Food Truck Festival Facebook page.

Farm market bounty

Local farms and markets continue to burst with a combination of late-summer and autumn produce.

Acorn and butternut squashes have made their appearance, signaling that fall will arrive soon, but summer is holding on with an abundance of corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, yellow squash, melons and beans.

The arrays of colors are amazing at the markets, where you also can find broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kale, Swiss chard, potatoes and onions. Fruits include pears and apples and you might still find some peaches, depending on the market.

Pumpkins are already piling up at farm stands, where you can look for more hard winter squashes and apple varieties in the weeks ahead.

Chicken tortilla dump dinner

In the busy days of September, a quick and easy meal idea is always welcome. This one comes from, and is flavorful enough that you can eliminate an ingredient if someone doesn’t like onions or cilantro.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Two 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with chiles, such as Rotel
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • One 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 10-ounce bag of frozen corn
  • 5 cups shredded cooked chicken (from about 1 small rotisserie chicken)
  • 12 small corn tortillas, cut into quarters
  • One 8-ounce block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with the oil.

2. Stir together the diced tomatoes with chiles, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin and salt in a large bowl. Add the black beans, frozen corn, chicken, tortilla wedges and half the cheese and stir to evenly distribute and most of all of the ingredients. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.

3. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Continue to bake until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Top with dollops of sour cream and sprinkle with the red onion and cilantro. Serve hot.

Tuscan White Bean Pasta

This recipe from is quick to put together and inexpensive to make. Add chunks of cooked chicken if you think you need more protein.

  • 8 ounces of linguine or fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 10 cranks freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • 4 ounces of baby spinach
  • 3 ounces of shredded parmesan

1. Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta into a colander.

2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, or until it has softened and become very fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Sauté the tomatoes until the skins burst and the tomatoes begin to release their juices. It’s important not to have the heat under the skillet too high here or the garlic may burn before the tomatoes break down. You want the garlic to brown and caramelize a bit, but not burn.

4. Once the tomatoes begin to break down, add the spinach and stir it into the tomatoes until it is about half way wilted.

5. Rinse and drain the can of cannellini beans. Add the beans to the skillet and stir until they are heated through. The tomato juices will have created a thick sauce-like mixture on the bottom of the skillet at this point. Taste the mixture and add a bit more salt if needed. It should be slightly on the salty side in order to properly flavor the pasta.

6. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet. Toss until the pasta is coated in the sticky sauce and everything is combined. Top with shredded parmesan, plus add a bit of parmesan to the top of each bowl.

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