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)

RED BANK: GETTIN’ FIGGY WITH IT

dostieChristina Dostie examines the last figs of the season picked from her Italian fig tree, seen to the left in background. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

A recent tweet from Tom Labetti over on Elm Place alerted us to the possibility of a profusion of figs in the Red Bank area.

With senses on high alert for neighbors who might be willing to part with some of their figgy bounty, we came across Christina Dostie over on Mori Place, who is picking some of the last figs of the season off the tree in her backyard.

It turns out her tree is no ordinary black bucket special from Lowe’s, either.

“This tree was a birthday gift from my mother and my sister,” she tells PieHole. They got it from “an Italian guy in Manalapan who grafts them from fig trees from Italy, and they’re sweet as pie.”

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LITTLE SILVER: FUNDING ARM FOR HOMESTEAD

parker-homestead-2007A nonprofit organization will serve as the fundraising arm for the historic site, which dates back almost 350 years. (Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

A charitable corporation has been formed to help carry out plans to run Little Silver’s historic Parker Homestead as an educational facility, according to borough officials.

The plan is for a foundation to raise funds to carry out the Parker Homestead mission, said Councilman Dan O’Hern.

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RUMSON: PREPPING THE GARDEN FOR AUTUMN

Wendy Weiner, aka the Front Yard Farmer, in a garden she maintains in Rumson. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Think of eating from a Jersey  garden, and tomatoes, squash and eggplant all come to mind. And for good reason, too. Gardening is almost always synonymous with our abundant summer harvests.

But one of the biggest advantages we here on the Green have over other regions isn’t the high heat of our summer growing season, but the length of our fall growing season.

“Our area has one of the greatest climates for growing fall crops, and that is because it’s such a long season.” says Wendy Weiner, of the Front Yard Farmer. “We get a very long fall growing season. Even in New York state, it’s much shorter.”

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LITTLE SILVER: WHATTA TOMATO

tomato 3 083113ls tomato 1 083113Betsy Bryan, above, of Rumson, registers her entry in the annual Sickles Market biggest tomato contest in Little Silver on Saturday. For the second year in a row, the biggest-tomato contest was won by Mike Mansfield, in center of photo at right, who took home a $100 Sickles gift certificate. He attributed his success to Bumper Crop, an organic soil amendment. Below: the winning entry, at at 2.36 pounds, was considerably smaller than last year’s monster. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

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NEW LOOK, NEW FEATURES, RIGHT HERE…

PieHole All Good headers

Welcome to redbankgreen 3.0.

The newest version of this seven-year-old authentically local news and information site comes with changes both cosmetic – as you’ve probably already noticed – and substantive.

The cosmetic is self-evident. The substance is hinted at above: PieHole and All Good are the names of new pages that we hope will satisfy particular needs in your life. And there’s some new fun stuff, too.

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FOODFEST TO SERVE UP A PASTA SMACKDOWN

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, seen above at a 2007 primary school function featuring his cooking, faces restaurateur Victor Rallo, below, in a stovetop showdown at the Basie next Saturday.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One’s a municipal chief executive with a “total amateur’s” love of cooking – though he does have a chef’s smock with his name embroidered on the breast.

The other’s a serial restaurateur and wine expert who hosts a TV food show set in lush Italian locales.

The premise: a pasta smackdown cooking event pitting Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna against Victor Rallo, owner of Basil T’s in Red Bank, Undici Taverna Rustica in Rumson – and newsboy-cap wearing star of ‘Eat! Drink! Italy‘ on public TV.

The Saturday-night faceoff, on the stage of the venerable Count Basie Theatre, is one of the highlights of a four-day food smorgasbord – dubbed Appetite – that also features wine tastings, Scotch and bourbon swilling, a bevy of food trucks, screenings of food-themed movies and more.

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RED BANK: MARKET, HOMES EYED AT FIVE-WAY

Developer Ray Rapcavage envisions a greengrocer flanked by condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s long-forsaken properties may be in for a major overhaul.

Owner and developer Ray Rapcavage plans to convert nearly a whole block at the five corners confluence of Harding Road and Branch and Hudson avenues into a three-building complex anchored by an old-fashioned fruit and vegetable market and 20 residences.

If approved and built, the project would transform the acre-sized site of four existing homes and a former gasoline station into a vibrant, eastward expansion of the downtown business district, said Rapcavage, who gave redbankgreen a sneak peek at his plans Monday.

“When you come into that intersection, you’re going to see a lot of green,” he said of produce displays he has plans along a the Harding Road facade of the market.

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RED BANK: LAST OF THE GAGUTZ AND GARLIC

Peppers, peaches and eggplant will be peaking this weekend at the Red Bank Farmer’s Market. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

This Sunday could be your last chance to grab a gagutz at the Red Bank Farmers Market.

“This is going to be it – the guys just went into the fields to cut the vines down,” Michelle O’Connor, who runs Brookville Farms in Barnegat, tells redbankgreen. But it may also be your last chance to grab fresh garlic, too, says O’Connor.

“It’s just about done,” she said of the harvest. “I’ve got a little bit left, and if it’s there, it’s there.”

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IN RED BANK’S GARDEN, A GARDENER BLOOMS

Rookie gardener Deb Jellenik shows off her harvest Wednesday morning. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With backyard gardens around the Green yielding their early-August bounties, redbankgreen stopped by the Red Bank Community Garden to see how its first-year harvest is going. We found Deb Jellenik picking tomatoes and spoke with her about her experience thus far.

“I was a latecomer to the community garden,” says Jellenik, who was one of the last people to reserve a plot at the narrow, borough-owned parcel on Marion Street. But she’d been walking past the garden almost everyday, watching the plots take shape, when her desire for fresh tomatoes for making sauce spurred her to act.

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RED BANK: FROM ROOF TO ROOF-OF-MOUTH

Jamian LaViola grabs some herbs from the rooftop garden over the restaurant’s kitchen. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

At Jamian LaViola’s eponymous Red Bank bar and restaurant, Jamian’s, patrons are apt to arrive on beach cruisers or skateboards, and if they come by car, there’s a good chance there’ll be a surfboard or two strapped to the roof.

That neighborhood vibe now extends to Jamian’s menu, with some produce coming from as nearby as a small garden atop the Monmouth Street restaurant and LaViola’s backyard garden in Navesink.

This summer LaViola is harvesting greens like romaine and frisee from the home garden and using them in the kitchen.

“We just brought in some lobster, and we’re making a fresh lobster salad tonight,” he told redbankgreen last Friday. “Will I use some of my fresh greens for that? Yeah, absolutely because it will make it just that much better.”

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SHREWSBURY AVENUE SPICES UP BANCO ROJO

Nopales, left, and sabila, above, are available at Rincon Latino Supermarket. (Photos by Grace Goldoni. Click to enlarge)

By GRACE GOLDONI

Rich South American hot chocolate in blocks. Subtropical coconuts. Exotic, prickly and tangy vegetables.

We’re not in your typical white-bread American supermarket. Here on Shrewsbury Avenue, the main thoroughfare on Red Bank’s West Side, the striking flavors of fresh and authentic Latin food create a south-of-the-border atmosphere.

In recent decades, this commercial stretch has adopted a strong Latino accent, just like its surrounding neighborhoods. If you’ve never stepped outside your car and visited this street, home to about half a dozen bodegas and small grocers, well, grab a shopping cart…

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RED BANK FIRM SMACKED FOR TRICKERY

A Rumson commodities trader and his Red Bank firm have been slapped with nearly $6 million in fines and paybacks orders by United States and British regulators for an alleged scheme to manipulate prices for oil, agricultural products and more, according to various media reports Monday.

According to a report by Bloomberg News carried on the Star-Ledger website, NJ.com, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission charged Michael Coscia and his firm, Panther Energy Trading, with market ‘spoofing,’ in which bids and offers in futures contracts for crude oil, metals and other commodities were made anD quickly withdrawn to create the illusion of market demand.

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RED BANK: GARDENERS GIVE TO LUNCH BREAK

Fresh produce is available for the taking at the Red Bank soup kitchen. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

In addition to serving hot meals and opening its food pantry six days a week, Red Bank’s Lunch Break is offering fresh produce for the taking every Tuesday in July and August for the second consecutive year.

Volunteers Martha Young, Betsy Wattley, and Susan Haugenes oversaw a table laden with donated corn, lettuce, nectarines, kale, potatoes, and other fruits and veggies Tuesday morning.

“It varies week to week, but we get a lot from the Red Bank Farmers’ Market,” said Haugenes, a Lunch Break board member. “We also get produce from our garden here at Lunch Break, the Shrewsbury Community Garden, and individual local gardeners.”

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RED BANK: DUPONT TOUTS COMPOSTING

ComposterTim Zebo does some composting at his Red Bank home in 2008. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Red Bank could become the first New Jersey town to recycle food, according to proponent Councilman Mike DuPont.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, DuPont announced that he is asking the borough Environmental Commission to comment on an informal proposal for a municipal composting program.

Some of his colleagues were amused. DuPont is known for green initiatives – he proposed banning plastic bags in 2008, though the suggestion was never enacted into law.

“You’re really becoming Farmer Brown, huh?” asked Councilwoman Sharon Lee.

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RED BANK: CINNAMON SNAIL ON VEGAN ROLL

Adam Sobel, in striped bandana, says, “I want to get people excited about vegan. It’s not all brown rice and steamed vegetables.” (Photos by Jim Willis.)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallAdam Sobel, owner of the popular vegan food truck the Cinnamon Snail, doesn’t get all preachy about being a vegan. Instead of sermons about the evils of the standard American diet or the darker side of factory-farmed animals, the 30-year-old Red Bank resident lets his food speak for itself, and hopes his cooking will get non-vegan customers to connect the dots on their own.

Since hitting the road  three years ago, the Cinnamon Snail has become a Red Bank Farmers Market staple while amassing a considerable following in Manhattan, where it has won multiple awards. Mobile Cuisine Magazine, for example, named the Snail “America’s Favorite Vegan Food Truck” in 2012.

redbankgreen sat down with Sobel on the front porch of his home over a cup of chai and some yerba mate to discuss the trials and tribulations of a kitchen on wheels and what’s next for the Cinnamon Snail.

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RED BANK: A LESSON IN HEALTHY EATING

Chef Zeet Peabody shows Red Bank Primary School students around the Monmouth Street garden of the JBJ Soul Kitchen. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Brandy Balthazar’s third-grade class of English Language Learners at the Red Bank Primary School went on a health-conscious field trip earlier this week.

Wearing pedometers, they visited the stores Rincon and Juanito’s on Shrewsbury Avenue to learn about wholesome food choices, and then headed over to the JBJ Soul Kitchen on Monmouth Street, where chef Zeet Peabody happily showed them around the garden.

The Tuesday morning outing was part of Shaping Red Bank, a public health initiative started two and half years ago that addresses dietary causes of childhood obesity and diabetes through a coalition of local organizations, said Sandra Van Sant, Monmouth Regional Health Commission health officer.

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SHREWSBURY: LETTUCE EAT

The mouthwatering Jersey tomatoes may still be a couple of months away, but tillers at the Shrewsbury Community Garden adjoining borough hall are harvesting tender lettuce, garden committee member Della Benevides tells redbankgreen. The garden, now in its second season, features a raised-bed garden to give a wheelchair user access. (Click to enlarge)

WEEKEND: EAT, DRINK, LISTEN, REPEAT

Don’t even bother trying to curb your appetite at Red Bank Riverfest, which runs through Sunday in Marine Park. Details in the poster below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 31:

RED BANK: Come sample the savory and sweet flavors at Riverfest, the annual three-day music and food festival in Marine Park. Stroll the “artisan’s alley” for handmade items and artwork, cruise the Navesink River, or dance your butt off in front of the waterfront stage to the likes of Brian Kirk & The Jirks, Woodfish, the Moroccan Sheepherders and the Jazz Lobsters. Free entry; no pets allowed.

MIDDLETOWNThe Middletown Arts Center hosts a Luau Party for kids ages 5 and older, offering crafts, limbo contests and games. Pizza and snacks will be provided. The luau runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 36 Church Street.

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