RED BANK: SMUT AND WEED AT THE MARKET

082414 rbfarmers mktCorn smut, or huitlacoche,  for sale at the Twin Pond Farm table.   (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumThe Red Bank Farmers’ Market can be counted on as a great source of fresh-picked tomatoes, corn on the cob and sunflowers, all of which and more PieHole found in abundance last Sunday.

And then there were the oddball items, one of which came with an eyebrow-raising name.

“Corn smut is what it’s called,” said Jen from Twin Pond Farm in Howell,  referring to the strange amalgam on the table between us. We looked from her to the container and back, thinking maybe we didn’t hear her correctly. “Corn smut is a fungus and a delicacy that came from some blue Peruvian corn we are growing,” she added.

Returning home, we found recipes for corn smut in a Mexican cookbook, and it is, indeed, considered a delicacy. Used in a quesadilla with cheese, it isn’t that different from a mushroom.

Read More »

RED BANK: HEARING OPENS ON MARKET PLAN

rb rayrap 082114 4Audience members reviewing the site plan for a market, condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners, detailed below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb rayrap 082114 1 A proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank began what could be an extended series of hearings Thursday night.

The zoning board heard descriptive testimony for developer Ray Rapcavage’s project, dubbed ‘Renaissance Village,’ which calls for a two-story commercial building on Harding Road, 10 condos on Clay Street and 10 townhouses on Hudson Avenue.

Read More »

RED BANK: HEARING SET FOR MARKET & HOMES

Developer Ray Rapcavage’s plans call for a market, above, as well as condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb rapcavage 081614Almost a year after it was first reported by redbankgreen, an ambitious plan for a greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank is about to get a public airing.

Developer Ray Rapcavage’s project, calling for a two-story market, 10 condos and 10 townhouses bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street, is scheduled to go before the zoning board Thursday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: THE JUICIEST PART OF SUMMER

rbms watermelon 081414 rb peach 1Ah, to be a kid again: off for the whole summer, enjoying the warm sunshine, not giving a thought to… YIKES! Like some sort of devious enticement, this watermelon was growing in flowerbed near the entrance to the Red Bank Middle School as seen last week.

Meanwhile, the juiciest stretch of summer is also evident in the peaches growing outside an office at the corner of Broad Street and Irving Place in Red Bank, as seen above right and below.

School reopens September 4, by the way.  (Click to enlarge)rb peach 2

RED BANK: MARKET BEGINS DOG-FREE ERA

rb farm dogs 051213 2A ban on dogs at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market becomes the rule with this Sunday’s edition of the 15-year-old open-air emporium.

After ordering the ban a week ago in response to a report of a dog urinating on food for sale, inspectors from the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission #1 this week informed the owners of the Galleria, which hosts the market, that restricting dogs to areas where food is not displayed would be permitted. But the idea was “deemed not to be workable,” MCRHC director Dave Henry tells redbankgreen. So now, let those puppies… sleep in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: DOG BAN IRKS FARM MARKETERS

rb farm dogs 061514 2A ban on dogs at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market appears to have been triggered by a complaint about a dog urinating on a watermelon, the mayor says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See Update at end of article]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A sudden ban on dogs at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market caught vendors and local officials by surprise Sunday.

The ban, by the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission #1, appears to have outraged some shoppers, who told vendors they would not return unless their dogs were welcome at the market, which is held weekly in a parking lot at the Galleria at Red Bank on West Front Street.

News of the ban came within 24 hours of reports that the health commission warned vendors at the Red Bank Community Block Party on Drs. James Parker Boulevard that they would be shut down if they didn’t comply with agency rules, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

In neither case had the borough administration gotten any communication about the actions from the commission, which Menna called “unacceptable behavior.”

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: WEEKLY FARM MARKET DEBUTS

sb parking 2 052714The market will set up in the municipal beach lot every Thursday through October, with a finale one week before Thanksgiving, an organizer says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumCan you beat this: shopping for fresh Jersey corn, tomatoes, blackberries and more, just yards from Atlantic Ocean, in summer?

With an OK from the Sea Bright borough council this week, a group called Community Green Market Organizers begins a weekly farmers’ market in the borough parking lot Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m.

Read More »

SHREWSBURY: GROWING COMMUNITY ROOTS

073114 Shrewsbury garden cukesEileen Olson and Carla Fiscella discuss the day’s bounty in the Shrewsbury Community Garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

073114 Shrewsbury garden adaIn its third year, the Shrewsbury Community Garden is a thriving example of team spirit. Inclusive to the point of having two raised beds that are ADA approved with ample room for a wheelchair, this garden is a modern model of neighborly spirit.

In addition to the 83 gardeners who presently share this Eden, there is a PAR – or plant-a-row – garden where extra plants are tended, with the produce donated to Lunch Break in Red Bank.

“It’s fun, because everyone does different things,” said Eileen Olson.

“I go to the pool and give away my produce to my neighbors,” Carla Fiscella added.

They were deep in discussion about the enormous size and bounty of Fiscella’s cucumbers this season.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: FISTFULS OF BERRIES

072614 Parker berries17072614 Parker berriesThe second of two community blackberry harvests drew dozens of eager pickers to Sickles Farm in Little Silver Saturday including the little one above, who couldn’t wait to get his mitts on his mother’s picks. The event doubled as a fundraiser for the restoration of the Parker Homestead, the historic home and barns that adjoin the blackberry patch. More photos below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: A MARTINI RIPE WITH SUMMER

beau keegan 072214Ama mixologist Beau Keegan adds a dash of grenadine to give his white peach martini the look of a peach. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ama peach martini 072214Kitchens and dining rooms aren’t the only areas of restaurants caught up in the growing interest in locally sourced artisanal food products.

At Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, the bar has become a place of labor-intensive cocktails prepared with carefully chosen fruits and flavorings, says Beau Keegan, who runs the beverage operation.

“A generation ago, it was all about liqueurs, but there’s been a revolution in the last 10 or 15 years of people making their own purees, syrups, bitters,” he says. Driven by customer interest, “everybody’s kind of pushing each other” to find new, and fresher, ingredients, he says.
Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: GARDENERS SHARE HARVEST

071214 FH garden SkoeMaster gardener Cindy Skoe in the Fair Haven Community Garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

070614 FH garden signAmong the plots in Fair Haven’s community garden is an area with two small signs. One reads “UMW,” and  the other declares that Master Gardeners worked here.

The UMW stands for United Methodist Women, from United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Red Bank. The master gardener is UMW member Cindy Skoe, who along with five other gardeners from the group, is growing vegetables with the intent of sharing half the bounty with Lunch Break in Red Bank.

“They have a program on Tuesdays to drop off produce.” Skoe said, adding, “They are very excited to get whatever one can bring.”

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: A GIANT SPIDER AND SOME RICE

062214 fh garden RaevisFair Haven resident Jim Raevis demonstrates his spider-like irrigation system in the community garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

062214 FH garden Raevis By far the strangest thing to sprout at the Fair Haven Community Garden this season is a plot-spanning, Rube Goldbergesque contraption that resembles a spider.

It’s an irrigation system built by Jim and Chris Raevis, a father-and-son team. Why?

“It is an effective way to conserve water” as they grow loofa gourds and white pumpkins, said the elder. “Oh – and a rice paddy.”

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN GARDEN: BLACK IS THE NEW GREEN

061514 community gdn WestonCarol Weston in the community garden, where black coverings in different materials can be found among the plants this year. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

053114 fh garden blackThe Fair Haven Community Garden is starting to look a bit like an airport runway.

The slick black blankets that cover swaths of the garden are actually a new-ish technology that several gardeners have chosen to make the backbreaking work of weed control a bit easier.

Some use polyethylene plastic mulch sheets. Others opt for biodegradable coconut fiber sheeting. Still others are experimenting with their own coverings.

Borough resident Carol Weston is trying a woven plastic fiber covering, hoping it will allow fewer weeds and keep the roots moist.

Read More »

RED BANK: HEALTH FOOD RETAILER RETURNS

khalid channa 060914Khalid Channa at Healthy Habits on Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508The paper came off the windows and a six-year vacancy in downtown Red Bank ended with the opening of the Kahalid Channa’s long-awaited Healthy Habits Natural Foods store Monday.

Channa has been here before.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: GROWING, OLD SCHOOL

053114fhgardensmithLou Smith in the Fair Haven Community Garden. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

053114fhgardenwhirleygigIn the colorful, whirligig-friendly, anything-goes Fair Haven Community garden, the seeds have been sown and the plants are coming up., yielding a mesmerizing array of vegetables, and flowers.

The 33-year-old garden also features some familiar faces, not all of them human. A new deer fence is helping keep the garden from once again turning into a smorgasbord for the larger animals, but to the dismay of some, it does not keep out the woodchucks and the rabbits.

Lou Smith, who has been gardening here for the last five years, pointed to the chicken wire fencing surrounding his plot.

“What we need to do here is put this fencing all the way around the bottom of the garden to keep those woodchucks out,” he said, suggesting that everyone chip in and circle the entire deer fence. So far, though, his suggestion hasn’t gotten much traction among his fellow gardeners.

Read More »

RED BANK: BON JOVI TALKS UP SOUL KITCHEN

bon jovi 101911Middletown resident Jon Bon Jovi, seen here at the opening of the pay-what-you-can-or-earn-your-meal JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011, tells USA Today in an interview at the Red Bank eatery he helped create why he doesn’t wash dishes there anymore.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

KEEPING ‘COMMUNITY’ IN SHARED GARDENS

community gardenAfter 33 years, the Fair Haven Community Garden goes by tacit rules of etiquette. Others, though, have written rules.. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Hey, it’s a jungle in there. Or life in the community garden can be, judging by the some of the gripes one hears, and the rules set down to address them, about shared, small-plot farming.

For example, that “gnome, whirl-a-gig or sculpture” you think will look cute on your plot? Please leave it home, along with bug lures and unattended watering mechanisms, according to the Shrewsbury Community Garden‘s rules on garden conduct and etiquette.

Read More »

RED BANK CUTTING FARM VENDOR FEE

RB farm mkt 1 051213Red Bank officials introduced an ordinance amendment this week that will allow food vendors at the Farmers’ Market to obtain yearlong health department licenses for $350, instead of paying $50 per week. A vote on the measure, which Mayor Pasquale Menna said would also reduce paperwork at borough hall, was scheduled for April 23. Here’s the amendment: RB 2014-10

The Farmers’ Market, based in the Galleria parking lot, returns on Mother’s Day, May 11, and runs into mid-November.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LITTLE SILVER: BARNS TO BE AGE-TESTED

ls parker 1 040814Archaeology students from Monmouth University plan to conduct tests on the barns at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead Friday to determine the ages of the structures. A similar examination was done on the site’s farmhouse, and founding indications that dated it back to 1720, making it one of the oldest houses in America.

Read More »

VIA45: WOWING ‘EM WITH WATERMELON

via45 (4)Claudette Herring and Lauren Phillips at their Broad Street restaurant last September. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

Via45 NYT 040614A food critic at the New York Times gave Red Bank’s Via45 a laudatory review in Sunday’s edition.

En route to a “very good” rating, reviewer David Kocieniewski highlights Via45’s commitment to the slow-food movement and ponders the “audacious” inclusion of watermelon in a late-winter salad.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: TIME FOR SPRING GREENS

sickles_garden (1)PieHole catches up with Fran Huber of Sickles Market and learns there’s plenty we can be doing with our gardens right now. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Like many gardeners around The Green, PieHole is just itching to watch our vegetable garden come back to life with tasty spring greens.  A nice plate of lightly-dressed spinach and baby lettuce makes a delicious backdrop for sliced steak off the grill and it’s one of the things we look forward to each spring.

We checked in with Fran Huber in the Sickles Market greenhouse in Little Silver to see what we could be doing this week with our vegetable gardens while we wait for winter to exit the stage.

Read More »

RED BANK: GETTING ORGANIC AT LIBRARY

organicWith snow in the forecast, it’ll still be a while before we’re getting our hands dirty. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumSure, your beds may still have some snow cover. But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning this summer’s garden.

The Red Bank Community Garden is kicking off the the growing season with a presentation by Master Gardener Carolyn Heuser, who will speak on “Vegetable Gardening with an Organic Twist” at Red Bank Public Library.

The event is Wednesday at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Clarification: This event is next Wednesday, March 5th.  

 

LITTLE SILVER: FROM FRANCE, STUFFED PRUNES

prunesSickles Market stocks these French prunes only during the holidays.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PieHole knows that local foraging is the best foraging. For the food lovers on your gift list we have assembled PieHole’s First Annual Shop Local Holiday Food & Drink Gift Guide. This is the 11th in the series.

PIEHOLE-GIFT_MED

Hailing from the south west of France, these are not your everyday prunes.

Similar to a regional wine, the d’Agen plum receives a geographic designation. Following a centuries-old process, these prunes are stuffed with a whipped, sweet filling and go great with a duck pâté or foie gras or as a sweet accompaniment with coffee.

Pruneaux d’Agen Fourrés go for $28.99 for a large tin at Sickles Market in Little Silver.

LITTLE SILVER: FIRST WALK THROUGH HISTORY

ls parker 122213 2

ls parker 122213 3Dozens of visitors toured Little Silver’s Parker Homestead, which opened to the public Sunday for the first time since it was deeded to the borough in 1996. Among the displays was a Parker family genealogy tree hung on a door, at right. The Rumson Road farmhouse, dating to the early 1700s, and three barns built in the 1800s are facing extensive restoration. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: A COOL COTTON KARMA CARRIER

goodkarma_toteTote you veggies home from the Farmers’ Market in this cotton bag. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PieHole knows that local foraging is the best foraging. For the food lovers on your gift list we have assembled PieHole’s First Annual Shop Local Holiday Food & Drink Gift Guide. This is the 8th in the series.

PIEHOLE-GIFT_MED

Here’s a little something for the eaters on your list who want to show their support for Red Bank’s vegan mecca, Good Karma Café, on East Front Street.

These all-cotton tote bags (which have a pair of long handles not visible in the photo) go for $6, and could be handy when carrying home your Farmer’s Market finds.