• Summer Magazines

    tomatoesSometimes, it seems as though there should be sort of a reverse toll at all bridges leading over the Delaware into South Jersey, with a nice old man in work trousers stopping each car.

    “Welcome to New Jersey,” he’d say. “Here’s your tomato.”

  • Summer Magazines

     pumpkin Almost everything about a pumpkin – the color, the taste, its very presence on almost every other doorstep – says fall is here. They line roadside stands, decorate classrooms, and get carved into a million shapes for Halloween.

    Somehow, those big orange decorations are related to the pumpkin flavor found in pies and seasonal specialty coffees, but it seems as though very few people have witnessed the process of turning a fresh pumpkin into dinner or dessert.

  • Summer Magazines

    No one ever said farming was easy: especially farmers.

    Each year is either drought or too rainy, too cold for one crop or too hot for another, and if everything cooperates, if the season is absolutely perfect, then there’s a glut and the prices drop.

    In Cape May County, the amount of land under cultivation has dwindled for years, and in many cases folks whose parents and grandparents or great grandparents were farmers have decided to find something else to do.

  • Summer Magazines

     spinach You can’t talk about spinach without talking about Popeye, says Ken Thompson, a farmer with a spread out in Tuckahoe.

    It’s a late weekend afternoon, and Thompson is not working on spinach; he’s weeding strawberries, giving the now flowering patch a fighting chance against the competition. In this case, it’s an enormous variety of grasses, stalks, thistles and ivies. Dandelions ready their parachute seeds on white heads, while another shade of green in the tangle explodes on contact, sending a burst of seeds forcefully into the air.

  • Summer Magazines

     Doc Adams Through this season, in this space, readers have been enticed, cajoled and nagged to eat local food, and lots of it.

    Not this week.

    Instead, we’ll talk about what once was, and why it’s changed. And why one of the favorite fish for many anglers is now more or less off the menu.

  • Summer Magazines

    Willis Allen (he says he just goes by Junior) and his brother Tony search for some early fruit at the Allen Family Farm this week. The blueberries should be going strong soon A visit to Carol Ann Allen’s farm this time of year is a lesson in potential.

    Fields surround her big white farmhouse on a dirt road in Belleplain. Some tomatoes and pumpkins…

  • Summer Magazines

     Steve Bradley shows off some of the fruit from his backyard shrub. He said it’s at least 50 years old, maybe close to 100, and seems to be going strong. Figs are said to be one of the first plants humans ever cultivated, apparently beating out staples like wheat and rye by a good measure. Ancient texts mention the fruit from thousands of years before…

  • Summer Magazines

     Farm markets offer a direct connectionEverything you eat grew somewhere.

    In the meantime, it may have been canned, frozen, broiled, fried or processed beyond recognition, but somewhere, at some time, the last bite you’ve taken was alive, growing, in a field or a hothouse or a pen or a bay.

    It’s funny how easy that can be to forget.

  • Summer Magazines

    crabs While the flavor is beloved, and many see a pile of steamed crabs, a nutcracker, a table full of friends and a cooler of beer as a vision of shore heaven, there is no denying they are, at first glace, not exactly the most appetizing creatures.

    An earlier column in this series referred to the red of a ripe strawberry as an invitation. Hardshell blue crabs offer no such invitation. Instead, they seem to make a pretty straightforward case to be left alone.

  • Summer Magazines

    Cape May Salts are taking offOyster

    At low tide on an overcast spring morning, James Tweed is at the beach.

    It does not look inviting.

    His white rubber boots are covered with a silty mud, and a sweatshirt – hood up – protects him from a portion of the swarms of tiny insects that seem to live solely to bury themselves in hairlines and start biting.

    On this particular morning, he’s oyster wrangling.



Pirate dinner show is a swashbuckling adventure

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A pirate wipes the window of the a ship window as others look on during a pirate-dinner show at Coconut Cove in North Wildwood. A pirate wipes the window of the a ship window as others look on during a pirate-dinner show at Coconut Cove in North Wildwood.  A group of pirates handed maps to children and sent them off to search for treasure Tuesday, July 31 at the Coconut Cove restaurant in North Wildwood.

Some children found blue flags that were scattered around the restaurant, which overlooks Beach Creek.

Samantha McGuigan, 9, of Atco in Camden County and her twin brother were among the treasure hunters.

They came up empty-handed, but that didn’t seem to bother McGuigan much. She said she loved the treasure hunt, which is part of the pirate dinner show on Tuesday nights.

About 12 actors take the stage every Tuesday at the Pirate’s Cove, which is part of the Coconut Cove restaurant at 400 W. Spruce Ave.

"It's family oriented," said Mary Walsh of Cape May Court House, who is the director and playwright for the pirate-themed dinner shows.

Walsh, a teacher at Wildwood Catholic High School in North Wildwood, directs musicals at the school.

She said the dinner show is designed to be interactive. There are sing-alongs, swordfights and lots of high-energy swashbuckling.

The actors range in age from 10 to 25 years old, she said, and many live in Cape May County. Practicing got under way in May, and the shows kicked off in mid-June.

One of the actors is Ryan Hart, 25, who lives in North Wildwood and in Ocean County and is studying to be a chiropractor at a college in Connecticut.

When Hart is dressed as a pirate, he appears to be in his element.

He said he often goes by the name Captain Hart. Has been performing as a pirate at various venues for about seven years, he said.

He choreographed the stage combat for the show.

"What's more fun than pirates?" he said before the start of the July 31 show, while pirates roamed around the restaurant, greeting the families seated at the dinner tables.

Most of the action takes place on a floating stage next to the restaurant’s outside deck, but during the show the pirates also roam around the tables, talking with the guests, singing and dancing, and getting the little ones involved.

During one of the scenes, a pirate discovered the treasure had gone missing.

“And I spy the scurvy dog that done it!” Hart said, as one of the other pirates, Mangey, sneaks up to the ship’s dock.

Mangey eventually gives himself up, saying he was protecting the treasure.

"Well me, 'earties, what should we do with Mangey?" said one of the pirates.

Mangey said, "Forgiveness!"

One of the pirates suggested having Mangey walk the plank.

The audience joined in with the crew chanting, "Walk the plank, walk the plank, walk the plank.”

Mangey jumped.

At one point the kids were rounded up and taken on stage for an “Arrrrggggg” contest.

The pirate dinner show is presented every Tuesday through Aug. 28. Seating is at 5:30 p.m.

The price is $20 for adults and $10 for children and includes chicken fingers and french fries for the kids, and Caribbean chicken, barbecued or pulled pork, steak fries, and corn on the cob or coleslaw for adults.

For information or reservations call Coconut Cove at 609-522-7600 or see www.coconutcovenj.com. 

 

Children crowd in close to watch the pirates perform. Children crowd in close to watch the pirates perform.

Pirates stop at the tables to greet diners. Pirates stop at the tables to greet diners.

Corey Wertz, 6, of North Wildwood interacts with pirate actor Luke Bischoff of Wildwood Crest, who goes by the name John Silver. Corey Wertz, 6, of North Wildwood interacts with pirate actor Luke Bischoff of Wildwood Crest, who goes by the name John Silver.


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