LITTLE SILVER: A BARNYARD CELEBRATION

ls-barns-101616-10About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagnols-barns-101616-4, celebrated the completion of restoration work on the three barns at the Parker Homestead Sunday.

The structures, the oldest of which is believed to have been built in the 1790s, and the Parker farm site on which they sit are “as important as Jamestown” in the history of America, Mayor Bob Neff told the crowd.

The restoration, funded with a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, was completed after a dispute with a contractor was resolved and a second contractor, Drill Construction, came on board in January, said Keith Wells, a trustee for the nonprofit Parker Homestead 1665 Inc., the nonprofit that oversaw the project. Two carpenters, Joe Rubel and Mike Cerniglia, were credited for work.

Click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: BARN RESTORATION STALLS

parker barns 070915 2No work has been done on the barns at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead in months. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

parker barns 070915 1One year after it began, work to restore three decrepit old barns at the Parker Homestead site in Little Silver has been stalled for months, and may be heading to court.

Neither town officials nor the contractor, Nickles Contracting, would discuss the reason for the inactivity, or even say when the stoppage began, leaving the structures a patchwork of braces and plywood coverings.

“It’s kind of in the hands of our attorneys,” Mayor Bob Neff told redbankgreen, citing the possibility of the matter winding up in litigation for his reticence on the matter.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: COOKIE TIN YIELDS GEMS

PH Cobb set A collection of baseball cards from 1909, including two feauring Ty Cobb, found among the possessions of a former Parker family member will be on display Sunday. (Photo above by Liz Hanson. Click to enlarge)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that there may be thousands of baseball cards in the collection. That estimate refers to postcards, not baseball cards.]

By JOHN T. WARD

LS parker 121613 1Sunday may be Flag Day, but at the historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver, it will also be a day for baseball.

Old-time baseball, that is, in the form of a rare set of baseball cards discovered recently in a cookie tin among piles of possessions from the historic house on Rumson Road.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER TO OPEN COMMUNITY GARDEN

ls garden 051315 1Little Silver gets down and dirty Saturday with the opening of its community garden, located on Harrison Avenue behind the Parker Homestead on the approach to Sickle’s Market. With a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., the borough joins neighboring towns of Fair Haven, Red Bank and Shrewsbury as a place with a centralized growing spot for its residents.

Plot holders are charged $50 for the season, and four ADA-compliant plots were still available earlier this week. For more information, email littlesilvercommunitygardens [at] gmail.com. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LOCUST: A FARM DINNER TO SAVE THE FARM

meg pasha farm benefitMeg Paska, Beth Herbruck and Deb Stasi show off some of the produce grown at Paska’s farm. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

HOT-TOPIC_03Look carefully towards Hartshorne Woods as you cross the Oceanic Bridge from Rumson to Middletown, and you may catch a glimpse of something exceedingly rare in our area: a working farm providing local produce and eggs to area families and restaurants.

Meg Paska farms that property, at Seven Arrows East in Locust, but her farm and livestock may not make it through the coming winter. Despite a  successful second growing season at a Community-supported agriculture enterprise that feeds more than 35 area families, Paska is struggling to keep her farm operational, in part because her business partner left unexpectedly last winter.

“His departure was a surprise, and I was left a little bit in a pickle,” Paska tells PieHole. “I’ve held it together this year, but we have taken a real beating. It hasn’t been as productive as it should have been this year because I had to run it by myself.”

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: KEEPIN’ IT LOCAL FOR PARKER

091314 parkerhouse16 091314 parkerhouse7More than 250 attendees braved drippy tents for a “farm to table’ fundraising dinner at the Parker Homestead in Little Silver Saturday night. The menu, crafted by celebrity chef  David Burke, included New Jersey wines and cheeses, Barnegat bay shellfish and bushels of locally grown vegetables.  The $250-per-plate event benefitted the Parker Homestead – 1665 restoration project and the Monmouth County Historical Society. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

091314 parkerhouse2

 

 

LITTLE SILVER: SEEDS OF A TOMATO DYNASTY

083014 sickles tomato1083014 sickles tomato3For the third year in a row, Michael Mansfield of Oceanport won the the biggest homegrown tomato contest at the annual Sickles Farm Market weigh-in on Saturday, with a 4-pound, 2-ounce giant.

This time, though, Mansfield was “tickled,” according to his wife, Linda, to finally meet 88-year-old Minnie Zaccaria, right, the Long Branch tomato breeder whose hybridized seeds Mansfield uses to grow his juicy monsters.

First prize was a $100 gift certificate to the Little Silver market. (Photos by Susan Ericson. 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 »

RED BANK: TIME TO GET YOUR GARDEN ON

communitygardenFirst come, first served applications are being accepted for Red Bank’s Community Garden. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Break out those seed catalogs, gardeners.

With rain instead of snow falling from the sky and temps due to hit 50F before the end of the week, PieHole is looking forward to planting season. And if you are, too, but your yard isn’t well-suited to growing produce, Red Bank’s Community Garden has plots available

Read More »

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)

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.

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

RED BANK: FARMERS RETURN TO MARKET

Among the myriad culinary and craft-shopping options available throughout the Green on Mother’s Day is one that bristles with green freshness: the Red Bank Farmer’s Market, above, which reopens Sunday for its six-month season in the parking lot of the Galleria of Red Bank, at West Front Street and Shrewsbury Avenue. The open-air market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through mid-November. (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.”

Read More »

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.
Read More »

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)

M’TOWN ESTATE PLAN IRKS NEIGHBORS

hillendale-farm-2Arthur and Leslie Parent’s plan to subdivide a portion of the former Hillandale Farm has some neighbors alarmed. Below, a detail of the proposed plan. (Click to enlarge)

hillendale-farm-11

On the agenda for tonight’s zoning board meeting in Middletown: a plan to subdivide a 5.1-acre property in the upscale Chapel Hill area that has neighbors concerned about a change in character to the the cloistered area of large estates.

The applicants are Arthur and Leslie Parent, who bought the 5.1-acre property and its 12,000-square-foot house for $1.3 million last December, just days before they sold their Red Bank residence to cable funnyman Jon Stewart for $3 million, according to Monmouth County tax records.

The Parents want to cut the parcel into two unequal-sized lots, and have no immediate plans to build on the proposed new lot, according to documents on file.

But that hasn’t stilled concern among neighbors, who complain a township OK would leave an enormous house on one lot, set a precedent for the construction of another, and result in the loss of buffering trees between giant estates.

“It really would be a very significant change of character for the area,,” says John Moody, whose Independence Road property abuts the Parent’s.

Read More »