Twist + Trout

TroutSpring has sprung! Lambertville, NJ has its annual Shad Fest. We here in Califon have our Trout Fest. As if on cue, the trout have begun appearing on the Raritan River, making their living in the shallows and deeps as the weather warms and nicens. Shannon’s Fly & Tackle Shop/South Branch Outfitters in downtown Califon is celebrating its 50th anniversary! This shop has been supplying area fisherfolk for years whether they are fishing for food, sport, or just the experience. 


Festivals on the Rebound 

Festivals have risen in prominence over the years, losing some steam, naturally, during the pandemic but inevitably making a comeback. Recent economic studies have revealed a silver lining in some of the gloomy news: people are seeking new experiences, with others, as part of post-pandemic behavior. The spring and summer provide perfect opportunities for outdoor gatherings where people can be as spacious or together as they deem comfortable. 


River Health and Public Health 

The Raritan Headwaters Association has done a good job, with dedication, helping keep the river that contributes to Califon’s bucolic quaintness clean and healthy. Wildlife in and around the river is also of course a good indicator of river health. The Columbia Trail, which Bex Kitchen and the new Bex Gallery are just off of, parallels the Raritan in each direction and provides a lovely local riverway that eventually joins larger waters further south in central New Jersey. 


Healthy Waters and Fish

Bex Kitchen is adept at finding high-quality fish and turning it into memorable, straightforward, healthy dishes. Chef Becky has a Backyarddining outdoors Barbeque Package Menu (coming soon, stay tuned) for later in the summer that has a must-try salmon dish on it as a choice, seared with charred corn, tomato, and avocado. Searing the salmon leaves it juicy and tender inside while charring the vegetables brings out roasted flavors that only charring unlocks. Chef Becky has followed changes in the waterways/fishing world and selects only the best ingredients for her canvas. By keeping abreast of goings-on in the world of fishing via its experts, the Chef can find fish sources that are sustainable, low-mercury, and make for the finest dishes. She has often incorporated our local fish into her cooking: her Smoked Trout Salad on Dark Brown Crostini in the past, for example.  


The Trees

The Califon Environmental Commission is providing free seedlings to plant trees damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. You can pick them up at Califon Island Park on Saturday, April 15 in the morning. Trees absorb carbon, anchor soil with roots, and provide habitat for critters as well as countless other benefits. 


Bex Kitchen has a small tributary that feeds into the Raritan right behind its buildings. Chef Becky is a native of Hunterdon County, having grown up in its woods, hunting, fishing, foraging, and just enjoying nature. Check out one of your local waterway festivals to reconnect with how important clean water is to health. And check out Bex for your spring and summer catering needs– including our package deals at the Bex Gallery where we provide everything you need for a festive occasion! Check out our Brunch Menu here. Happy Spring!