New Brunswick Community Farmers Market Hosts Día de los Muertos Marigold Sales, Oct. 25 – 27

A monarch butterfly makes a stop on the marigolds growing in the Jones Avenue hoop house.

A monarch butterfly makes a stop on the marigolds growing in the Jones Avenue hoop house.

The Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a time to celebrate and remember loved ones who have passed. It’s also a time when bright orange marigolds, or cempzuchilt, an Aztec term, are in high demand for the annual holiday. New Brunswick has a growing community of migrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a largely indigenous state in southern Mexico. Although Día de los Muertos is recognized all over Mexico, Oaxaca is known for its colorful celebrations honoring the return of deceased loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. [Read more...]

NJ Secretary of Ag Tours Rutgers Turf Research Farm

(L-R) Brad Hillman, Bob Goodman, Doug Fisher, Bill Meyer, Bruce Clarke and Stacy Bonos observe a plot of tall fescue at the Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm. Photo source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

(L-R) Brad Hillman, Bob Goodman, Doug Fisher, Bill Meyer, Bruce Clarke and Stacy Bonos observe a plot of tall fescue at the Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm. Photo source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher visited the Rutgers Plant Biology Research and Extension Farm in Adelphia on September 16. Faculty from the Turfgrass Breeding Project at the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science gave Fisher a tour of research plots and discussed types of grasses being evaluated and studied for breeding. Faculty on hand for the tour were William Meyer, director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project; Stacy Bonos, assistant professor and turfgrass breeder; Bruce B. Clarke, director of the Center for Turfgrass Science; Brad Hillman, director of research for NJAES; and Rutgers Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bob Goodman. [Read more...]

Rutgers Residence Life, Local Elementary Schools Team Up For Monster Mash Halloween Celebration on Oct. 24

Monster Mash flyerThe 11th annual free Halloween Monster Mash, a collaborative community service event sponsored by Rutgers University Residence Life on the Cook/Douglass Campus, will be held Friday Oct. 24, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center Gymnasium.

The Halloween Monster Mash is a community outreach event that provides an alternative trick-or-treat experience to elementary school children in New Brunswick and Piscataway. Various student organizations at Rutgers set up activity tables for the young visitors and reward their efforts with treats. Activities include pumpkin painting, crafts, costume contest, “Zombie Walk” contest and relay races. Last year, approximately 1,100 people participated in the event.

Fending Off Disease with a Fork: Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce Exceeds Blueberries in Polyphenol Content

Rutgers Professor Ilya Raskin’s research focuses on plant-derived functional foods and medicines.

Rutgers Professor Ilya Raskin’s research focuses on plant-derived functional foods and medicines.

Modern science is catching up with ancient wisdom. The expression “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” has been attributed to Hippocrates, father of medicine, around 431 B.C. Hippocrates’ adage is aptly illustrated by a glance down a supermarket produce aisle with its colorful display of deep red strawberries, fiery orange carrots, bright green broccoli and brilliant blueberries. The vibrant hues found in plant pigments that create these distinct colors have aroused the interest of the scientific community as vast amounts of research uncovers the beneficial effects these “phytonutrients” have on preventing disease and maintaining health.

Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols have become familiar buzzwords to the health-oriented, and certain fruits and vegetables have achieved “superfood” status due to their high content of these beneficial compounds. In the arena of produce with high antioxidant abilities, blueberries have topped the list. Blueberries are considered the gold standard due to their high levels of polyphenols, which are a subgroup of phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are a further subgroup of polyphenols and provide the pigments that color deep red and purple foods such as blueberries, acai, blackcurrant and red wine. Research has shown these polyphenols to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. [Read more...]

Hot Pepper Plots Picked Clean in ‘HYOP’ 2014

Hot Peppers gleaning - 2014In the second annual “Harvest Your Own Pepper” (HYOP) event on October 15, the hot pepper plots at Hort Farm III on Ryders Lane in New Brunswick were once again open to Rutgers faculty and staff to pick their own hot peppers left over from research variety trials. Albert Ayeni, ethnic crop specialist, and Tom Orton, extension specialist in vegetable breeding, are conducting the hot pepper trials for selecting varieties that grow well in New Jersey. In addition, they are investigating the peppers’ potential use as ornamental plants and medicinal foods. Read more about the hot pepper research and the first HYOP in 2013.