Ramapo Tomato Seed an Option With Flavor

This article was written by Mona Bawgus, a certified master gardener and consumer horticulturist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County.. With a goal to find the tomato that best represented what people remember as the old Jersey tomato, in 2007 Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) began conducting tomato trials. They began with several varieties that gardeners and farmers associated with that old Jersey taste. NJAES grew each variety and then evaluated them not only for flavor, but also on performance. The public was also invited to participate in several taste tests to collect their opinions… Not only did gardeners love them for their flavor, but also for their resistance to cracking and other common tomato diseases. Commercial seed companies had previously sold this seed to farmers and gardeners, but over the years, had stopped supplying them. Frustrated gardeners contacted Rutgers and a small amount of seed was produced and made available for a short time. Rutgers eventually found a company willing to mass produce the seed and the Ramapo tomato was re-released in 2008.

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Atlantic County Senior Citizen Receives 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award

Debi Cole (left) and Navonne Owen (right), Atlantic County 4-H staff and members of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents presented the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award to Dorothy Calimer of Cologne.

Debi Cole (right) and Navonne Owen (left), Atlantic County 4-H staff and members of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents presented the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award to Dorothy Calimer of Cologne (center).

Dorothy Calimer of Cologne, Atlantic County 4-H Volunteer, was recently recognized by the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents with the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award for her significant contributions to the New Jersey 4-H program.

This award, which is presented annually, recognizes an individual or a group for outstanding professional educational support of the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

For more than 46 years, 82 year-old Dorothy Calimer, commonly known as Dot, has volunteered her time to many organizations, something that has been instilled in her since a very early age by her parents who were also volunteers. As a lifetime volunteer, Dot has had the opportunity to impact countless lives throughout the decades. Even now as a senior citizen, Dorothy is still going strong. Being able to meet people every day helps to keep her body and mind active, and her service impacts a variety of people from youth and middle-aged people to seniors and to the needy. [Read more…]

Green Thumbs: Get a Jumpstart on Spring with Forced Blooms Indoors

If this winter has not gotten you down, you are among the few and a touch of spring would definitely be a boost to most gardeners. There are several flowering shrubs and trees that can be pruned and forced to bloom earlier indoors… Place your branches in a bucket and add 3 inches of water. The branches should be kept in a cool area, 60 to 65 degrees, to develop. Warmer temperatures can cause the blooms to develop improperly. To help prevent bud loss, mist the buds regularly or keep the branches close to a humidifier… This article was written by Mona Bawgus, a certified master gardener and consumer horticulturist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County.

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Rutgers Ag Agent Richard Van Vranken Receives Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

Photo i.d., l to r:  NJ State Board of Agriculture President Richard Norz, Richard VanVranken and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher

L-R: NJ State Board of Agriculture President Richard Norz, Richard VanVranken and New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. Photo by Jack Rabin.

Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Richard VanVranken, agricultural agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County, was honored February 4 with a Distinguished Service Citation to New Jersey Agriculture at the State Agricultural Convention held in Atlantic City.

“Rick VanVranken has served New Jersey’s agriculture industry with passion, dedication and enthusiasm for decades,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “His wealth of knowledge and knack for innovation and promotion has made him an indispensable resource for our farmers in South Jersey.” [Read more…]

Alumni Story: Arthur R. Brown, Jr. (GSNB-Horticulture ’77) – Always Jersey Fresh

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

Paging through the many personal photo albums that Art Brown’s staff and friends have compiled for him over the years, one is struck by his cheerful exuberance in the images. Clearly, Art Brown is a person who enjoyed his career as New Jersey’s longtime Secretary of Agriculture. And New Jersey enjoyed his valuable contributions during his decades-long tenure.

The leading architect of the popular “Jersey Fresh” marketing campaign that broke new ground by focusing on locally grown produce and became a model for such programs nationally, Art was tireless in promoting New Jersey agriculture in its various forms. He is shown tasting a spoonful of honey at a fair, eating Jersey corn or a leg of Jersey-bred turkey, posing with a prize-winning rabbit, sampling fresh oysters, picking pumpkins, sitting astride a cutting horse, making the rounds at the county fairs, shaking hands at the Horse Park of New Jersey, promoting Jersey Fresh products for school lunches, and on and on. [Read more…]