Posted tagged ‘Best of NJ’

Top Five: My Favorite Counties in New Jersey

July 14, 2016

New Jersey is comprised of 21 counties, all with their own character, characters, scenery, and things to do. Each has a distinct flavor that separates it from its 20 brethren. But among this icosikaihenagon (apparently the word for a 21-sided polygon) of counties in the Armpit of America, some stand out from the pack much more than others. That being said, here are my five favorites.

5. Salem County: Tucked away in the dark southwestern corner of New Jersey, Salem County is mostly farmland and swamps and home to the lowest population of all the 21 counties. It is also the location of Cowtown, New Jersey’s one and only rodeo. In fact, that’s the only thing I’ve been to in this county (in the days before I had this blog – otherwise I would have certainly written about something so unusual and un-Jersey-esque). But aside from Cowtown, I don’t know much about Salem County. And that’s precisely why it made the list – it really is a mystery to me. And for being something so enigmatic in a relatively tiny state with a lot of people, Salem County truly stands out.

4. Hudson County: Though Hudson County is the smallest of the 21, it is the most densely populated county in the most densely populated state. Sure, this means traffic can be a bitch, but you have to take the good with the bad, as the theme song for “The Facts of Life” taught us. Between Jersey City and Hoboken alone, it seems most of my family and friends now live in this tiniest of counties. And with things like Zeppelin Hall, Barcade, Liberty State Park, the best views of Manhattan and much more, it’s easy to see how Hudson County ranks as one of my favorites. (more…)

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The Best of New Jersey: Delicious Orchards

December 2, 2009

I’m happy to introduce a new feature on this little Armpit of America blog. As you can see above, this new feature is called “The Best of New Jersey.” In these entries, I’m going to put aside some (but not all) of the snark you’ve come to expect from me and just talk positively about something in New Jersey that makes life in the Armpit of America somewhat better.

The first place I’m writing about is Delicious Orchards on Route 34 in Colts Neck. For those who don’t know what it is, Delicious Orchards is a country store selling a wide variety of produce, a huge selection of baked goods, and a whole bunch of other good, high-quality stuff. Since this meager description probably doesn’t due the store any justice or let you see what’s so special about it, allow me to walk you through, section by section.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera. To make up for it, here's a picture of a bag!

Upon entering, you are greeted by a thousand different scents, each one more intoxicating than the next. Okay, maybe that’s a little too flowery, but I’ll go on. The first section you encounter when walking in is the baked goods section. You will be surrounded by shelves and shelves stocked full of cookies and donuts. As long as I can remember, no trip to Delicious Orchards was complete without picking up a package of their plain apple cider donuts and their sugar cookies. To this day, I still can’t go to the store without buying these two items. Their mere scents immediately soften my bitter 26-year-old soul and bring me back to my slightly less bitter childhood.

Anyway, after passing through the welcoming gate of cookies and donuts, you’ll walk past some more baked goods – breads, cakes, and pies – all made on the premises. Once past the bakery, you’ll end up in the cheese section, where the aromas of thousands of cheeses from all over the world fill up your nostrils. The cheese section then leads logically to the meat section. Delicious Orchards offers all kinds of meat, from the standard chicken and beef to goose liver pate and gourmet sausages.

While the store is already impressive, it’s not until you get to the produce that you are really in awe. With a name like Delicious Orchards, it’s obvious what their specialty is. The site of mountains upon mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables is truly breathtaking. The store’s selection of over 20 different types of apples will put any supermarket to shame. In addition to its wide selection of the most common types of produce, Delicious Orchards has plenty of unique items I haven’t seen anywhere else. If someone can tell me where else in New Jersey you can find pomelos, black turnips, and patty pan squash year round, please let me know. Not that I actually buy these things, I’m just trying to prove a point.

I hope you can now see why this humble little farm store represents the best of New Jersey. Though many people like to joke about how the Garden State is such an inappropriate nickname for New Jersey, one visit to Delicious Orchards will clear any doubts about the worthiness of that moniker. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go finish this bag of sugar cookies…

Compare this to the ingredient list of a box of Oreos and tell me which sounds better.