2014 Rutgers Snyder Farm Open House and Great Tomato Tasting

DSC06581The ever-popular annual Great Tomato Tasting at Snyder Farm continues to grow and expand, and this year there will be more to experience than ever. Hosted by Rutgers Snyder Research Farm  in Pittstown, the event will take place on Wednesday, August 27 from 3 to 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the hundreds of varieties of tomatoes to taste, activities will include a chef’s cooking demonstration and tasting, guided educational wagon tours of the farm’s research plots, tastings of various fruits and herbs, access to the farm’s gardens with opportunities to ask questions and get answers, insect displays, information booths on various foods grown in the Garden State, and much more. [Read more...]

Professor Emeritus Bernard L. Pollack (1920 – 2014)

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Professor Emeritus of Plant Breeding and Genetics Bernard “Bernie” Pollack passed away on July 14, at the age of 94. Pollack joined Rutgers in 1960 as faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry, and retired in 1985. While his work in vegetable breeding extended to eggplant, pepper, and tomatoes, Pollack is most renowned for his development of the Ramapo tomato, which, in the 1960s, offered New Jersey fresh market growers a tomato with quality, disease and crack resistance, and durability. As the popularity of this tomato never waned despite its disappearance from the market, during his retirement, Pollack assisted NJAES in bringing this variety back to market.

During the 1970s Pollack worked extensively with New Jersey growers doing vegetable variety trials and implementing trickle irrigation and plasticulture systems. Working with USAID and the Peace Corps, he travelled throughout Africa to further the development of trickle irrigation in African agriculture. During his travels, he collected eggplant germplasm and created one of the most extensive collections, containing 536 eggplant varieties. He worked on assessing exotic eggplant germplasm to develop valuable new traits for worldwide agriculture. [Read more...]

Barnegat Bay degradation moving south

Two years after hearing a scientist’s dire warning on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey lawmakers heard how the bay’s degradation appears to be spreading south from Ocean County’s biggest suburbs. The northern end of the 42-mile-long estuary already has crippled water quality, a trend that has accelerated during the last 20 years, Rutgers University research professor Michael Kennish told a joint meeting of the Legislature’s environment committees. "The situation has not gotten better; it’s gotten worse in term of nutrients," said Kennish, who leads the university’s Barnegat Bay science efforts and is an author of a recently updated report on the bay’s conditions.

Read the entire article at APP.com »

An Exaltation of Moths, Much-Maligned Kin of the Butterfly

The night was still young and a tad too breezy. But already, more than a hundred people were gathered around a series of fluttering, black-lighted sheets in the middle of the New Jersey Meadowlands, waiting for their quarry. They were looking for the nocturnal members of the order Lepidoptera, at one of dozens of events organized in the New York region as part of National Moth Week…For the organizers, the moth events are a way to dispel some of the myths about moths – that they are brown and drab, that they eat tomato plants and nibble at sweaters. "Only a very few are pests," said Elena Tartaglia, who has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Rutgers University and specializes in hawk moths.

Read the entire article at NYTimes.com »

Picture of the Week: Io Moth Caterpillar

This is the caterpillar of an Io moth, a species of silk moth that so intrigues entomologist Andrei Sourakov that he’s endured a number of the larva’s bee-like stings while studying various specimens…The Io moth also symbolizes this year’s National Moth Week, which kicked off this past Saturday and continues until July 27th (the event has actually gone international). This is “the year of the silk moth,” says co-founder Dave Moskowitz (Enotomology graduate student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University), and on the day SciFri spoke with him, he singled out the Io as his favorite moth.

Read the entire article at ScienceFriday.com »