TRADE YA: SWAPPING HOMEMADE FOODS

Food swap organizer Wendy Weiner (right) samples some of April Lippet-Faczak’s hand-milled oats, which were served with toppings such as molasses, chopped walnuts and fresh bananas. Below, Lois Blake’s chimichurri. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

There’s a quiet thrill in making something from scratch, a reassuring sense of independence that comes from throwing together homegrown ingredients to produce something tastier and cheaper than store-bought items.

This is one of the underpinnings of food swapping, which has now made its way to Monmouth County.

Wendy Weiner of Little Silver was first introduced to the concept of swapping when she read an article in the summer 2012 issue of Edible Jersey magazine. A group known as the South Jersey Swappers learned it from a group in Brooklyn, and the trail apparently leads all the way to England.

“As soon as I read it, I said, ‘we totally have to do this,’ ” said Weiner.

Swapping is an easy way to foster sustainability and make participants more “dependent on community neighbors rather than the government,” she said.

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A FRESH APPROACH AT LUNCH BREAK

In addition to its customary slate of hot meals, clothing, social services referrals and job counseling, Red Bank’s Lunch Break is now distributing fresh produce and flowers grown by local gardeners.

The free Gardeners’ Market is open from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through September. Growers who wish to contribute  are asked to drop off their produce on Monday afternoons or early Tuesday morning at Lunch Break’s home, on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. For more information, call 732-747-8577. (Click to enlarge)

FARM MARKET CULTIVATES A RELAXED VIBE

Artist Matthew Becker comes to town each Sunday to sell his paintings. Below, mushrooms from ‘the Mushroom Capital of the World.’ (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

A mushroom buffet, freshly picked callaloo and a vegan lunch truck: all are staples for Red Bank Farmers Market customers, many of whom trek dozens of miles week for these delicacies, as well as clothing and art.

Everything, it seems, is homemade, handcrafted, passed down for generations or grown on a farm owned by someone who spent his life savings to buy it. Everything has a story.

Matthew Becker, an artist whose full-time job is running a karma yoga practice, comes every Sunday from Point Pleasant, even though he doesn’t do a tremendous amount of business selling his work. He uses the time to paint and to soak in the market atmosphere.

“I like to spread good vibes around for people,” he said, pointing out the “chill-out trance music” playing from his speakers in the parking lot of the Galleria at Red Bank. “It’s my most relaxing day of the week.”

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COW PUT DOWN AFTER RIVER PLAZA ACCIDENT

One of the two cows that got loose in lower Middletown early Tuesday. Her half-sister was destroyed by police after she was struck by a car. (Photo courtesy of Mary McGrath. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One cow was struck by a car and had to be euthanized after she and her half-sister wandered away from a farm in the River Plaza section of Middletown early Tuesday morning, police said.

The accident occurred at about 12:20 a.m. on West Front Street near Chris’ Deli, police said.

The sight of the second cow on the loose in a residential development near the Navesink River caused a stir among neighbors.

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KEEPING BUCK AND VIOLET COOL AND CLEAN

3:20 p.m.: Pudgie Conroy feeding Violet, a calf, at Sheep’s Run farm on Rumson Road in Rumson. (Photos by Connor ‘Solstice’ Soltas. Click to enlarge)

“Okay, Stinky. That’s it.”

The one-year-old calf’s name is Violet. But to Pudgie Conroy, a Middletown native turned full-time stable tenant in Rumson, calling her bovine charge “Stinky” – not to mention “muddy” and  “sweaty” – on the year’s hottest afternoon yet works just as well.

Said Conroy, “I feed Violet once a day, but I’ve been cutting her back little-by-little because she’s a year old now and doesn’t need as much.”

Once Violet’s milk bottle is drained, Conroy heads to the stables to shower Buck, a horse.
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FARM MARKET BACK IN BIZ

One of Red Bank’s culinary gems, the Farmers’ Market at the Galleria at Red Bank, returns for its second outing of the season this Sunday with more vendors than at any time in the past: 45, according to George Sourlis, whose family owns the Galleria.

“We’re packing them in tighter, with some new vendors we hope will be successful, and just hoping for good weather,” Sourlis tells redbankgreen. And no, he says, the market won’t be displaced this season by the family’s plans to erect a parking garage on the site, on West Front Street at Shrewsbury Avenue.

The market is open every Sunday from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. into mid-November and features locally grown produce and flowers. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK GARDEN PLAN NEEDS WATERING

A narrow borough-owned lot with a disused pumping station on it needs water access before it can be transformed into a community garden, town officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The battle over a proposed Red Bank community garden abated Wednesday night when its main proponent appeared to accept to an offer of a vacant East Side lot as its location.

Now, it’s just a matter of finding water.

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PITCHFORKS OUT OVER COMMUNITY GARDEN

With organizer Cindy Burnham holding up a photo, Annie Jones argues for allowing residents to garden a 900-square-foot strip of borough property at Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Community garden proponents assailed the Red Bank council Wednesday night for what they termed its “because-I-said-so” opposition to the creation of a farm plot at a borough-owned Navesink River site.

Revisiting the council’s 2011 rejection of a proposal for a pilot garden behind the borough library parking lot on West Front Street, residents challenged elected officials to articulate their opposition to the plan, and left as frustrated as they were going in.

“What we have a hard time understanding is that we haven’t really heard a good reason why not,” Locust Avenue’s Kathleen Gasenica told the governing body.

“It’s very simple,” replied borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. “The council doesn’t share your vision for a garden there.”

“That doesn’t really answer the question,” Gasenica said.

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ON THE AGENDA: PITCHFORKS, TURF & MORE

Proponents of a Red Bank community garden try for another bite of the apple with their request to farm a portion of the public library property, above. (Click to enlarge)

The agenda for the bimonthly meeting of Red Bank’s council Wednesday night is a busy one.

On the docket:

• Red Bank RiverCenter comes in for approval of its annual budget. No details have yet been provided. Last year’s spending plan, like the two that preceded it, totaled $512,000. The business promotion agency, which manages the borough’s state-chartered Special Improvement District, is funded by a surtax on commercial properties within a defined zone and gets no money from borough coffers.

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PARKER HOMESTEAD GETS HISTORIC SEAL

The Parker house stands at an entrance to what is now the Sickles Market and remnants of the original working farm on Rumson Road. (Click to enlarge)

Five months after securing state Register of Historic Places status, Little Silver’s 347-year-old Parker Homestead has been added to that list’s national counterpart, the Asbury Park Press reports Thursday.

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PARKER HOUSE WINS REGISTER ENTRY

parker-homestead-2007The Parker homestead, seen here in 2007, dates back to (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Parker House, Little Silver’s oldest surviving homestead, has won addition to the state Register of Historic Places, Mayor Bob Neff tells redbankgreen.

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CHILDREN’S VEGETABLE GARDEN BURGLARIZED

authorities3The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of June 24 to July 1, 2011. This information is unedited.

Criminal Mischief occurring between 6-27-11 and 6-28-11 at Monmouth Street-business. Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke window in business. Ptl. Michael Zadlock.

Theft occurring at West Bergen Place between 6-28-11 and 6-29-11. For the past several months’ young children of the Head Start Program have been planting vegetables and maintaining them in an enclosed pad locked area behind the building.

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IN SHREWSBURY’S QUIVER, A DEER SOLUTION?

deer-libraryA deer on the lawn of the Monmouth County Library’s Eastern Branch on Route 35 last October. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Not a word of objection was uttered Monday night as the governing body of the fed-up-with-deer borough of Shrewsbury gave the nod to the use of bows and arrows to thin burgeoning herds.

Then again, the move was a formality, as the council simply accepted the findings of a report that recommended that frustrated property owners do what they’ve been allowed to do for the past five years: kill the animals with arrows, provided they do so within New Jersey Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife regulations.

Now, the only question is how many residents take the suggestion.

“A few people in town are so fed up, they’re going to do it,” said Mayor Donald Burden, who this year tore out his own vegetable garden in surrender to the white-tailed creatures.

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RUMSONITES BARK AT TREE TAKEDOWN

doug-spencerShade Tree Commission Chairman Doug Spencer shows residents a piece of a tree Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials aren’t quite out of the woods yet when it comes to adapting to changes to the borough’s tree preservation ordinance. And now, they have a little company.

On Tuesday night, Rumson’s council suddenly found itself in the middle of a thorny debate over the efficacy of its tree preservation law after a Navesink Avenue property’s tree population was decimated last week, residents said.

Change to the ordinance and bolstered enforcement are likely, council members said.

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COUNCIL STILL DUG IN AGAINST GARDEN SPOT

cg-sickelsCommunity garden proponents talk to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels about their proposal after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The borough council Wednesday night unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a community garden in Red Bank.

Great, some said.

But when it came down to where the council might allow that garden to sprout, the council maintained a hard position that while it supports a community garden, it doesn’t support one where a group at least 40 strong want it: at a piece of borough property next to the library.

The clash between impassioned members of a community garden group and the council continued Wednesday night, without agreement, and none in sight, on its location.

It was more like a talking-to than a talking-with, as the council offered little feedback to a long line of speakers serving up suggestions, implicating political motives and asking questions that they feel still haven’t been answered.

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COUNCIL DIGS IN AGAINST PROPOSED GARDEN

rbpl-garden-siteAdvocates are pushing the council to allow a community garden on borough-owned property to the right of the library, above. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The green thumbs had their rakes and hoes out in force Wednesday night.

An already lengthy Red Bank council meeting carried on about 45 minutes more as elected officials and proponents of a community garden clashed on the proposed location for the first of what the group hopes will to be up to four community-tended gardens throughout town.

Advocates want the start-up site at borough-owned property adjoining the public library site. But officials say it’s the last available piece of public land on the Navesink River, and don’t want to exclude people by turning it into an area of specific interest.

And so a back-and-forth that started in March continued Wednesday, with still no place to plant a seed decided upon.

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SUNDAY: MARKET ON YOUR CALENDAR

farmers-market1Red Bank’s popular farmers market makes its traditional Mother’s Day debut Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s time to polish momma’s apple, locavores.

Red Bank’s ever-popular, always-growing open-air emporium, the Red Bank Farmers’ Market, returns to the blacktop of The Galleria on Mother’s Day for its 12th season of dishing out homegrown fruits, vegetables and miscellaneous wares.

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READY FOR ARBOR DAY

seedling In early celebration of Arbor Day on Friday and Red Bank’s fifth annual designation as aTree City,” members of the Shade Tree Committee distributed white pine seedlings to attendees of Tuesday night’s borough council meeting. STC secretary Boris Kofman, right, hands a baby tree to assistant borough administrator/public works director Gary Watson. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

A GREEN DOUBLE-DIP

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’ll be an environmental double feature in Red Bank at the end of the month.

The borough’s environmental commission and its subcommittee, the Green Team, will run back-to-back talks on environmental issues on April 28.

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COUNTY OFFERS INSIDE DIRT ON COMPOSTING

ComposterTim Zebo of Red Bank with the composter he got as part of the Monmouth County course in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Gather up the banana peels, egg shells and coffee grinds, all you greenies and wanna-bes.

The Monmouth County Planning Board is offering local workshops at which experts will go over the ins and outs of backyard composting.

The 45-minute presentations get into the practical ways to reduce household waste and improving soil quality by tossing your waste to the worms.

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LOCATION AN ISSUE FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

sharon-lee-031611Councilwoman Sharon Lee details her objections to a request to create a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

A push for the creation of a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library ran into some mud Wednesday.

Big question: whether that’s the best place for it.

Smaller question: how much will it cost to install a dedicated water line, and who will pick up the tab in these cash-starved times?

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COMMUNITY GARDEN GETS IFFY SEEDING

rbpl-maple-coveA community garden is proposed next to Maple Cove, but officials say they need to do their homework before giving it an OK. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With the long debate over the preservation of Maple Cove echoing in the room, the Red Bank council last night parried with activist Cindy Burnham Monday night over a proposed community garden at the riverside public library.

Once again, elected officials claimed to have been caught off-guard.

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