The Red Bank Farmer’s Market reopened Sunday, with some changes to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The foremost modification: the market is now temporarily a drive-thru only, with customers encouraged to pre-order their purchases.
Kurt Poehler, above, and his crew from Spring House Farms were ready with arrays of colorful fruits and vegetables.
By JOHN T. WARD
Robert Sickles Sr., the patriarch of a family farm in Little Silver that traces its agricultural roots back more than three centuries, died “peacefully at his home” Monday, according to an obituary posted by Thompson Funeral Home in Red Bank Wednesday.
He was 92 years old.
Mother’s Day is still five weeks away, but this year’s edition won’t be accompanied by the customary opening of the Red Bank Farmer’s Market.
George Sourlis, whose family-owned Galleria of Red Bank hosts the popular Sunday market, tells redbankgreen that this year’s start has been indefinitely postponed by the COVID-19 crisis. It will open once the pandemic has passed, he said.
The seasonal farmstand typically runs through November. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, 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.)
By JOHN T. WARD
One 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.
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
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.
Little 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.
By JIM WILLIS
Look 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.”
More 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)
For 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)
Archaeology 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.
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
Dozens 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)
By JOHN T. WARD
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.
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.”
By JIM WILLIS
This is going to be it the guys just went into the fields to cut the vines down, Michelle OConnor, who runs Brookville Farms in Barnegat, tells redbankgreen. But it may also be your last chance to grab fresh garlic, too, says OConnor.
Its just about done,” she said of the harvest. “Ive got a little bit left, and if its there, its there.
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)
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.”
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.
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)
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.