BRIGANTINE — It’s the new still life — taking photos of fruits and vegetables.
The state Department of Agriculture wants to see your portraits of summer squash and zucchini this week, for its #FindJerseyFresh social media photo contest. To enter, post the photos with the hashtag on social media.
Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher was at Nicole “Coley” Gaffney’s SoulBerri Coffee and Smoothies restaurant in Brigantine on Thursday to kick off this year’s contest.
Gaffney, who became locally famous a few years ago for her participation in a Food Network show, and who also runs a food blog called “Coley Cooks,” won the $500 grand prize in last year’s contest with a shot of heirloom tomatoes.
But the sheer volume of her entries also helped, Fisher said.
“I was an accidental winner,” Gaffney said. “I never even knew I was entering a contest.”
She was always posting photos of what she was growing in her garden, and of dishes she was cooking with local produce, and included the hashtag because she wanted to support local farmers, she said.
SoulBerries, which is in its second summer season, sells smoothies using locally grown kale, strawberries, blueberries and other crops. Her granola is baked by the all-gluten-free Kizbee’s Kitchen of Egg Harbor City. She buys honey from Busy Bees of Cape May Court House and coffee from local roaster Harry and Beans of Ocean View in Dennis Township.
She does it to support local farmers and businesses, she said, but also because the results taste better.
Gaffney is in business with her husband, Chaser Gaffney, who is an architect and designed the SoulBerries building, made from two former shipping containers; and William White, a contractor who built much of the structure and the planters and signs that decorate it.
To enter this year’s contest, post photos with the hashtag #FindJerseyFresh on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Weekly winners will be announced each Tuesday, and the new fruit or vegetable to be photographed will be posted each Wednesday on Jersey Fresh’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. For more information visit FindJerseyFresh.com.