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

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RED BANK: TALKING SHORE FOOD HISTORY

schnitzspahn 1Author Karen Schnitzspahn brings her knowledge of local cuisine history to the Red bank Public Library tonight. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

It’s a Friday afternoon sometime in the late 1880s. A guy walks into a saloon in Red Bank. Which saloon isn’t important, because Red Bank is crowded with watering holes, but let’s say it’s Frank Clausey’s tavern on West Front Street.

Now, there would be a list a mile long of differences between his happy hour experience and our modern day experience of ordering up a martini at the Downtown. But two worth noting, according to Little Silver author and historian Karen Schnitzspahn: the women and the oysters.

First off, there’d be no women – “or at least no proper women,” says Schnitzspahn. Second, there’d be way more oysters on the menu, and they’d be really local.

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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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THIRD GENERATION SETS UP SHOP IN MALL

Sandi Vilacoba demonstrates a core-strengthening device in her new Pilates studio at the Fair Haven Shopping Center. Below, Vilacoba and her grandmother, Ofelia Schwarz, who owns the center. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

A drive down River Road in Fair Haven, with its quaint mom-and-pop shops, can be something of an escape from mainstream consumerism.

But even the borough’s most prominent strip mall, the Fair Haven Shopping Center, anchored by an Acme supermarket, has a family story to it. The Schwarz family’s story.

After nearly a decade of teaching Pilates elsewhere in Monmouth County, Sandi Vilacoba opened her own classical Pilates studio, dubbed The Pilates Project, over Memorial Day weekend. With that, the third generation of her family cemented its ties to the center.

“My grandparents immigrated from Cuba to Fair Haven in 1960 with nothing and built a business from scratch,” said Vilacoba, of Belmar.

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