Roadside produce prices out of control except at this NJ ‘Paradise’ stand (Opinion)
Have you noticed the rising prices at many of the roadside produce stands throughout New Jersey? This is where we go expecting to get a great deal on items like corn, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and, of course, those great Jersey tomatoes that are in season.
BTW, check out my recipe for an incredible tomato salad here.
Sunday I went shopping at a New Jersey produce stand and couldn't believe the prices, especially two Jersey tomatoes, one large and one medium, for $5. FIVE DOLLARS for two tomatoes? I realize that the price of everything has gone up but there has got to be a better place to shop. Enter Produce Paradise.
Located in Robbinsville on Clarksburg-Robbinsville road, Produce Paradise has been in business for over 50 years. Check out these incredible produce prices compared to what you've been seeing where you are. Corn 75 cents each or 3 for $2. Peppers $3 a box. I saw them going for a buck a piece at some stands. Sweet potatoes and onions going for $3 a box, and those Jersey tomatoes that we love were only $4 a box of at least four.
Ernie Stillwell, the owner who lives on the land, uses the honor system which doesn't always work.
"The past few years people have probably stolen more. I've actually had to bolt the money box down. Sometimes I'd come and the money box would be gone and they'd steal the produce. Now there are cameras. It's been better lately, but the past couple of years it seemed like people were stealing more than I was making."
What keeps Stillwell in business is his love of farming.
"I like farming and doing stuff. I've done it pretty much my whole life."
How has the economy affected Paradise's Produces prices? (and I dare you to say that three times fast ;)
"The cost to grow stuff has doubled," says Stillwell. "The cost of fertilizer and everything like that, so I raised my prices a little but some of these guys charge astronomical prices for stuff. I don't know if they're gouging people but you know."
Despite the economy, Stillwell says he's doing alright.
"I'm not making a killing but I'm making a living."
Also on the Paradise property are two of the oldest trees in New Jersey, according to Stilwell.
"The guy told me this big tree is about 300 years old."
And the one right next to it.
"Probably about 250, something like that."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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This has to be the best farmers market in New Jersey
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