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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

LITTLE SILVER: DOOR TO HISTORY OPENS A BIT

LS parker 121613 2A large hearth, uncovered during recent repairs, is among the historic features on display on a tour of the Parker Homestead on December 22. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LS parker 121613 1For centuries, it was a family’s home. Nothing more than that.

Starting out in the early 1700s as a single-room domicile, it grew out, and up, outlasting all but a few homes in the nation it preceded. Eight generations of Parkers warmed themselves in rooms framed by hand-hewn timbers – when they weren’t working the surrounding land, or harvesting ice from the pond just off the front porch.

“These people weren’t rich, or aristocrats,” Little Silver resident and preservationist Keith Wells said of the Parkers, who arrived here from Rhode Island in 1665. “They were just farmers.”

That simple fact may be lost to the thousands of motorists who have passed by in recent decades, perhaps aware only that the stately home on Rumson Road in Little Silver was for some reason “historic,” an entry on national and state registers of such structures.

But on Sunday, December 22, for the first time ever, the public will get to see the inside of the Parker Homestead, now entering what Wells and others hope is an era of significant repair and restoration. redbankgreen got a sneak peek, of course.

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PIEHOLE LARDER: BEST DEAL ON NUTS

nuts (1)Who has the best bargain on unshelled nuts? PieHole knows. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumYou’ll find unshelled nuts prominently displayed at most grocery stores around the Green. But PieHole, redbankgreen‘s food page, found a store where you can get almonds, pecans, walnuts and more for as little as one-third what you’d pay somewhere else.

Take it here for the details. And if you like what you see, give our new Facebook page a like, too.

RED BANK: THE SEASON’S LAST LOCAL YOLKS

hauser_eggsPerky-as-heck eggs from Hauser Hill Farms. Get ’em Sunday or pine all winter.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumOne of PieHole‘s favorites at the Red Bank Farmers Market this season was a late discovery: the eggs from Hauser Hill Farms.

These eggs have some of the brightest yolks we’ve seen, a good indication that the chickens are eating good stuff. Crack two into your frying pan for a pair of sunny-side ups, and the yolks tower over the whites with the perkiness of a cheerleader on game day.

PieHole spoke to farmer John Hauser to make sure he’d have plenty at his table this weekend, and to get some details on his hens.

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WEEKEND: FOOD, FISHING, AND FUNDRAISING

authorsAuthors May Becker, Susan E. Davis and Lisa Borders appear at libraries and bookstores around the greater Green on Saturday afternoon. Below, Michael Morch, Jennifer Grasso, Laura Gepford and Ian Brown-Gorrell head up the cast in Phoenix Productions’ staging of ‘White Christmas.’

White_Christmas_4bThe days and weeks leading up to Thanks Thursday and Black Friday buy us a little more time to approach the holiday season at our own pace… a chance to chill in the outdoors with a few more hours of autumn sun, or to head home and curl up with some comfort food and a good book.

Friday, November 15:

RED BANK: Or, you could just cut to the chase and surrender to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the season-closing musical entertainment from Phoenix Productions on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre. Come for tonight’s opening performance at 8 pm, and you’ll get more than just a jaunty romance-in-rhythm packed with Berlin blockbusters like “Happy Holiday,” “Blue Skies” and the title tune — you’ll get a shot at the traditional Phoenix 50/50 raffle and, as is traditional on Opening Night, you’ll get a first look ahead to the borough-based troupe’s 2014 season. Show continues through November 24; take it here to reserve tickets — and here for our feature on some exciting new developments at the Phoenix fun factory.

RUMSON: He’s fronted the 21st century edition of Blood Sweat & Tears; subbed for Belushi in The Original Blues Brothers Band; shared stages with everyone from Boy George to B.B. King, and toured the region’s roadhouses with his own Hudson River Rats (an upstanding organization that boasts legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie). You might recall blues-rock belter and ace harmonicat Rob Paparozzi from those open-air Red Bank Jazz & Blues Fests of yore — but when Rob and Friends take it indoors to Barnacle Bill’s for some Friday night sets, they’ll be tearing the roof from the joint with a harpin’ helpin’ of houseparty hospitality, and the kind of star quality that keeps paparazzi flashbulbs a-poppin’.

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RED BANK: SQUASH FOR CHRISTMAS & BEYOND

farmersmarket7Laura Dardi and Lisa Bagwell explain how to store winter squashes and other vegetables. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With the Red Bank Farmer’s Market 2013 season heading into the home stretch, the last of the year’s opportunities to shop for fresh produce at the Galleria are now on the early-dimming horizon.

Piehole checked in with Lisa Bagwell and Laura Dardi from E.R. And Sons Farm, an organic farm out of Monroe, to get the lowdown on what we can buy now and how best to store it so we can enjoy local produce through the winter.

“Right now we’ve got all types of winter squash: butternut, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkins,” said Bagwell. “Also the potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, beets, leeks and apples — these can all be put away.”

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SHREWSBURY: D’JEET HARVESTS THE GROVE

djeet 5Chef/owner of d’jeet Casey Pesce harvesting greens at the Grove. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

When Casey Pesce, chef/owner of d’jeet in the Grove was studying in Italy, he learned about the harmony that eating local brings to food.

“The air you breathe, the water you drink – there’s a harmony with the local food,” he says. “If you drink a Chianti in Chianti, you’re getting everything– you’re breathing the air that the grapes were breathing, the climate. You have a harmony.”

Pesce wants his customers to experience that same harmony when they dine on the kale and herbs that he serves from the gardens at the Grove.

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RED BANK: HUNGER ON THE TABLE

christie colicchio 093013Governor Chris Christie joined restaurateur Tom Colicchio, right, and an interviewer on stage at the Count Basie Theatre Monday afternoon for a discussion of the politics of combatting hunger. The four-hour afternoon program, called ‘Soul of Hunger,’ also brought together panelists from food pantries and supermarkets and featured a screening of the documentary, ‘A Place at the Table.’ (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: VIA45 CHEFS GO TO MARKET

via45
Chef Claudette Herring slices some of the heirloom tomatoes she and partner Lauren Phillips picked up last Sunday at the Red Bank Farmers Market. Below, Herring and Phillips at Via 45, their Broad Street restaurant. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

via45 (4)“We’re going to miss the tomatoes. And the corn. The corn was so sweet this year,” chef Claudette Herring of Red Bank’s Via45 says wistfully of the change of seasons. “We’re not going to have corn like that in the winter.”

Herring and Via45 chef Lauren Phillips did some shopping at the Red Bank Farmers Market last Sunday to get a read on what’s available as we teeter from summer into fall.

The chefs suggest keeping an eye out for the last of the season’s heirloom and grape- or cherry-sized tomatoes, and found some large yellow varieties at the market.

“These tomatoes are beautiful, and they won’t be around much longer,” says Herring.

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WEEKEND: IDEAS, MUSIC, FOOD, ART & TRUCKS

kirk jirks 2 100211Local faves Brian Kirk and the Jirks, above, return for the fourth Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival on Sunday. Below, Touch-a-Truck parks it at the Red Bank Middle School Saturday in a fundraiser for the Monmouth Day Care Center. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 20:

IMG_0008 (745x1024)LINCROFT: Carpe diem at TEDxNavesink, where attendees will get to experience 25 live talks in addition to livecast sessions from the “TEDxCity2.0” conference. TED is a nonprofit organization devoting to sharing “Ideas worth Spreading.” The nine-hour day is filled with sessions on topics like redrawing our oceans, repicturing paradise, remapping the self and more. The sold-out event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Brookdale Community College Performing Arts Center and is followed by a light reception. Newman Springs Road.

RUMSON: The second annual Canterbury Arts: A Tapestry of the Arts show features works by New Jersey artists, with all proceeds going to Outreach Grants to benefit Lunch Break, Family Promise, HABcore, 180 Turning Lives Around and more.The three-day exhibition kicks off Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Saint George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church. Tickets include a wine, beer, and hors d’oeurves/dessert and admission to all days of the show. Reserve tickets in advance. Tickets are $10 day admission, $40 reception (in advance), $50 at the door. 7 Lincoln Avenue.

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RED BANK: SOME NIGHT LIFE FOR LUNCH BREAK

lunch break 1 091813lunch break 2 091813Dozens of Lunch Break supporters turned out at Red Bank’s Downtown Wednesday night to help kick off a drive toward a major fundraising gala for the the borough-based food pantry to be held October 21 at the Navesink Country Club. Local musical favorites The Haven were joined onstage by singer and Lunch Break trustee Susan Haugenes, at right with a fan, Mike Rovere. (Click to enlarge)