(July 29, 4:57 p.m.) Restaurants throughout New Jersey are taking advantage of a locally grown fruit by participating in the “Jersey Peach Salute” promotion.

The promotion, which coincides with Gov. Jon Corzine’s proclamation of August as “Jersey Fresh Peach Month,” is the brainchild of the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, Clayton, said public relations specialist Pegi Adam.

“For past two years, we’ve done the Peach Picnic and brought in chefs from around New Jersey,” Adam said. “They meet writers and promote their restaurants, and the writers get info on chefs and peaches.”

The peach salute promotion is an extension of this, which allows the public to try the recipes, Adam said.

Twelve restaurants throughout the state will use New Jersey-grown peaches in specially created menus or dishes intended to showcase both the chef’s creativity as well as the versatility of the fruit, Adam said.

“We encouraged (using peaches in savory dishes) during the last two years,” Adam said. “(Chefs) would do recipes that are main courses or salads using peaches. They enjoy creating it as a special event.”

Some restaurants will have entire menus focusing on peaches, while others will have one or more dishes, including things like grilled peach and chicken salad, cashew crusted New Jersey butterfish with peach salsa, and a Southern peach chop, Adam said.

“We’re hoping sales of peaches will increase, but we’ll be happy just to raise awareness of peaches, New Jersey peaches in particular,” Adam said. “We really want to emphasize New Jersey peaches in season.”