Food & Drink

Eating Fresh Made Easy

Meredith Lehman, founder of Just Farmed. Credits: Just Farmed

WESTFIELD, NJ - Sign-up time is here! The team at Just Farmed is busy prepping for our 2015 farm box season, which starts the week of May 4th and ends in December. Our mission is to deliver fresh, local fruits and vegetables to your doorstep. So, stop worrying about getting to the farmer's market or grocery store – let us do the shopping for you.

Eating fresh is super important to me; it’s my job – both as a mom and the founder of Just Farmed. It’s been great to see my kids enjoying it too. They’re as interested in visiting the farms as I am. Eating your fruits and veggies becomes a lot more fun when you can pick your own berries or hold a head of broccoli that’s bigger than your face!

My goal is to help as many families in New Jersey (and hopefully beyond) to develop a love for fresh, healthy and delicious foods. So our team is very selective of the fruits and vegetables that go into each farm box. We choose only the best crops, with a focus on organic and sustainable items, available from 70+ farms in NJ, PA and NY. And all produce is delivered within 24-48 hours of being harvested! Now that’s fresh.

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We’re also really conscious of our subscribers’ needs. So every box contains foods that cook well together, recipes and produce storage tips. We really want it to be easy to create delicious dishes each week. The boxes are also packed with ice mats, so you can go about your day and arrive home to farm-fresh foods waiting at your doorstep. Yes, it’s that easy!

If you’re interested, here are a few things you should know:

  • Each farm box is $35.
  • We don’t have any contract fees of opt-out penalties.
  • Boxes typically include 8 different types of fruits and vegetables.
  • To eliminate any boredom, we vary the items each week!
  • We have several delivery day and time options and service the following towns: Westfield, Garwood, Cranford, Clark, Fanwood, Scotch Plains, The Plainfields, Roselle and Roselle Park, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, Springfield, Maplewood, Montclair, Millburn, Short Hills, Chatham and Summit. We’re even headed south and will be delivering to Red Bank, Little Silver, Rumson, Middletown and the surrounding towns.

Need more info? Check us out at or send an email to And, in case you're hungry, below are two recipes featuring a couple of my favorite Garden State veggies (corn and beets) that I found years ago and have been cooking ever since. Happy eating!

How to Roast Beets and Make a Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Sandwich


  • 2 to 4 fresh beets, roasted, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh arugula
  • 4 slices (1/2-inch-thick) of good quality, multi-grain bread
  • 4 tablespoons soft goat cheese
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt (to taste)

To prepare roasted beets

  • Remove stems and greens from beets, wash and pat dry (no need to peel the beets before roasting
  • Wrap beets in foil, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast whole beets at 400 degrees until beets are soft. This will take 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of beets. When you can insert a toothpick easily all the way to the center, you know your beet is done.
  • When cool enough to handle, gently rub the skins off the beets.

To assemble the sandwich

  • Toast the bread. Spread a thick layer of goat cheese on one slice of toasted bread.
  • Layer beets on top of goat cheese (use as many beets as you like) and pile arugula on top of layered beets.
  • Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Place other piece of toast bread on top.

Corn and Cotija Cheese Dip


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob (about 3 to 4 ears)
  • 1 shallot or ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) 1/3-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated cotija cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot (or onion) and garlic. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  • Add corn, 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 5 minutes until shallots (or onions) appear softened and the corn is slightly darker in color. Then remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, cream cheese and cotija. Add corn mixture to the bowl and stir until well combined. Use additional tablespoon of olive oil to lightly grease the cast iron so the dip doesn’t stick. Spoon dip back into the skillet and bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  • Serve with veggies, tortilla chips, crackers or baguette bread.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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