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)

 

 

 

RED BANK: TOMATOES, JUST OFF THE BOAT

dibartoloJimmy DiBartolo gives PieHole a crash course in imported Italian tomatoes. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

A few months from now in the fertile fields of Foggia, Italy, farmers will sow seeds for Roma plum tomatoes. Prized for its role in red sauce, this variety of tomato will mature and ripen under the warm Mediterranean sun. Come August, there will be an enormous crop of sweet, slightly acidic tomatoes with just a few seeds inside.

What’s got PieHole hot on the trail of these particular tomatoes is that if you’ve eaten red sauce or had pizza anywhere on The Green lately, there’s a very good chance that you’ve tasted these exact tomatoes from Foggia.

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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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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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