Jersey Fresh for Summer!

Jersey Fresh for Summer

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RD, MBA

On the East Coast, we are fortunate to have a variety of locally grown produce options available to us.  From peaches, blueberries, and tomatoes, to green peppers, eggplant and squash! There’s no shortage of good for you fruits and veggies here!

  • Local produce is a nutrition powerhouse, since it has a shorter distance to travel from farm to store, it is less likely that the nutritive value will have decreased.
  • Food that has a longer distance to travel will lose more nutrients along the way.
  • Local produce is full of flavor, it’s picked at its peak of ripeness and can often make it to shelf within 24 hours – now that’s fresh!

Why purchase locally grown?

It’s seasonal which translates to freshness: Although you can find many fruits and vegetables such as strawberries for instance year round, they are not at their “in-season” best in January. However, when they are at their seasonal peak, they are full of flavor and color which means they’ll taste their best!

Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.*

*Source: University of Vermont. Cultivating Healthy Communities extension.

Jersey Fresh Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

chicken and vegetable sheet pan dinner

Prep: 10 minutes

Bake: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large Eggplant, cut into ½ moons
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut into circles
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 3 pounds bone in, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray.
  3. Add cut up veggies, season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towel. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, Italian seasoning and drizzle with olive oil. Place over veggies.
  5. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing veggies halfway through. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Recipe by Jacqueline Gomes, RD, MBA