Fall Veggies at Legates Farm

North Cape May, NJ -  November and December in Cape May are a local food desert.  The farmer’s markets closed up on Labor Day, the little local farm stands are shuttered for the most part and the Acme is filled not with Jersey Fresh produce, but with veggies straight from California and Mexico and who knows where else.

It’s a cruel, cruel thing considering how, this time of year, we’re bombarded with all of those Thanksgiving images of cornucopias of fresh, fall vegetables.

What’s a local Cape May foodie to do?

Cross the Cape May Canal and head to Le Gates Farm on Bayshore Road.

This farm in North Cape May seems to kick into high gear just when everyone else is giving up and closing down for the season. They grow  all the fall favorites. Anything they grow is labeled as their own, so there’s no doubt you’re buying locally grown produce.

Displays of their fresh broccoli and cauliflower, various varieties of cabbage and squash look better than picture perfect.

One year I tried their Orange and Purple varieties of Cauliflower. Both sold out fast.

My favorite, Le Gates’ Brussels sprouts, fresh from the field, were succulent enough on a past Thanksgiving to make one finicky nephew into a Brussels sprouts convert.

This year, if you want Brussels sprouts, timing is everything. Because of the  foul weather, Le Gates harvest of these tiny cabbages is low. I showed up Monday morning, just as the farm market was opening, and scored on some that were just picked. (Had to do it – the same nephew’s coming for Thanksgiving dinner  this year.)

Squash fans will go berserk when they see the different varieties available. Use a red Hubbard squash instead of a pumpkin for a scrumptious pie.  Forget about plain old Acorn squash. Try some Carnival squash instead.

The nice people who staff the market will even give you cooking instructions and share some favorite recipes.

Le Gates stays open until just after  January 1.  In the spring, you’ll have to get your asparagus elsewhere. They don’t reopen until sometime in June.

But come fall, you’ll know just where to go for broccoli and squash.legates-farm

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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.