Food Bank Peach Party in Collingswood Aug. 4
Like the Mac-Off, local chefs will demonstrate dishes based on the versatile fruit, all while raising money to help their hungry neighbors.
New Jersey produces an estimated 60-66 million pounds of peaches annually; fourth most in the country behind Georgia, South Carolina and California.
That output also leads to a lot of second-hand product that doesn't live up to supermarket standards, but which is perfectly suitable for feeding hungry families as peach salsa.
The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) will celebrate its newfound practical application for this tasty treat at its Just Peachy Salsa Peach Party, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 4.
Just like the annual Mac-Off, the event will be held at the Collingswood Community Center, and will feature peach-themed dishes from local chefs. Admission is $10; $5 for children.
FBSJ will also debut its Just Peachy Salsa, which will be sold in local supermarkets to help benefit the organization.
“It’s a great way for people to enjoy fresh fruits and it benefits the South Jesery Food Bank,” says Lydia Cipriani, FBSJ communications director.
So what can you expect to taste at the peach festival?
Chef Jim Malaby of Blueplate Diner in Mullica Hill, says he's considering bringing his signature sandwich, which combines fresh peaches, roast beef and horseradish; if not, he might whip up an appetizer of peaches fried in a rosemary batter and topped with smoky cheese.
During peach season, Blueplate Diner serves both items as part of its regular menu.
Malaby, who regularly buys his produce from local farmers, says the event will also be a good opportunity for them.
“It’s great to go out to a mass of people and publicly showcase the products,” he said.
Farmers John Hurff of Schober Orchards and Anthony Yula of Summit City Farms say the most important benefit of an event like this to raise awareness of how otherwise unmarketable produce can find a useful second life. Peaches that wouldn't make the cut at the supermarket can become hand-held-fruit that replaces snack food in children's diets.
FBSJ serves the residents of Camden, Gloucester, Burlington and Salem counties. According to the organization, 173,000 people in South Jersey are in need of food, 36,000 of which are children.
“Making sure we salvage perfectly good food is important to us,” Cipriani said.