John and Anne Gerwig Directors Fund Presents First Awards

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Larry S. Katz, director-Rutgers Cooperative Extension, with Anne and John Gerwig.

The first John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Fund awards for Rutgers Cooperative Extension were given out on May 4, 2016 at an event at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health that celebrated the Gerwigs and their tireless devotion to extension and underserved populations in New Jersey. The Gerwigs were presented with the commemorative book, “Rutgers, A 250th Anniversary Portrait” by current RCE director, Larry S. Katz, and after some thoughtful and moving remarks by Mr. Gerwig, certificates were presented to Nicholas Polanin and his team for programing designed to empower women in agriculture, and to Michelle Brill and Jeannette Rey-Keywood for a professional development series to create programming for the developmentally disabled.

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John Gerwig.

John and Anne Gerwig are the embodiment of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE). John joined 4-H when he was 5, became the extension agronomist early in his career, and is the longest serving director (1962-1992) in its history. Anne led the university’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program reaching limited resource families and was instrumental in obtaining critical employee benefits for paraprofessionals in extension.

John and Anne Gerwig wanted to help all of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. This devotion and desire led them to establish a fund that will provide resources to extension professionals in perpetuity. The goal of their $200,000 is to empower cooperative extension professionals so that they can make a bigger impact on New Jersey’s communities. A portion of the fund will be reserved to award through a formal “request for proposal” process set up and managed by the RCE director’s office. Remaining funds will be used to support emerging issues, internships, awarding additional proposals, and other needs that arise.

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Rutgers Gardens Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

Installation of permanent benches.

Installation of permanent benches.

During Rutgers Historic 250th Year its ‘Secret Garden’ turns 100!

Rutgers Gardens celebrated its Centennial on May 17th with an outdoor reception under a large tent in the Roy DeBoer Evergreen Gardens. Despite the rain, the tent was packed with faculty, staff, and many supporters and volunteers. This historic moment in the Gardens’ history was commemorated with the installation of two permanent benches, a plaque, and the naming of a new commemorative bearded iris hybrid ‘Centennial Charm.’  Bob Lyons, chairman of the Advisory Board proudly announced the Horticulture Landmark Designation Award from the American Society for Horticulture Science and Bruce Crawford, director Rutgers Gardens was also honored with the Rutgers Gardens Centennial Award of Distinction.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman kicked off the gala with some remarks regarding his introduction to the Gardens.  He said that during the interview process for the position of Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Studies and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, he was given a tour of the Gardens and then was told that the Gardens would be under his supervision as Dean. “You mean they’ll be mine?” He was clearly delighted!

Bruce Crawford, Rutgers Gardens director, gave a brief history of the Gardens, which began in 1916, when 35.7 acres of land—known as Wolpert Farm—was purchased on May 17, 1916 from Jacob and Celia Lipman. The Gardens  were intended as a functional learning space for local farmers to teach them about the new trend at the turn of the century—ornamental horticulture—and were never meant to be public, leading some to call them Rutgers’ ‘Secret Garden.’ They were never denied to the public, however, and the love for and dedication to the gardens by students, faculty and the public blossomed along with the gardens!

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Edible Jersey Profiles the ‘Rutgers Scarlet’ Strawberry: The Jersey Berry

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

If Bill Hlubik has his way, there will be strawberry fields forever— or at least a little longer each year— in the Garden State. Hlubik and his team at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station hope to someday introduce new varieties that will extend the growing season beyond the traditional four weeks for June-bearing strawberries. For now, however, it’s all about the flavor. Read more at Edible Jersey.

 

Are microwave ovens safe & nutritious? Or just convenient?

Over the last several decades, microwave ovens have become a standard kitchen appliance in many American homes. But for some, doubts remain about their safety and impact on the nutritional value of food cooked in them… This week on "Take Care," food scientist Don Schaffner takes us behind the microwave door to explain how microwave ovens work, and the ways this kind of cooking technology interacts with food. Schaffner is an extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor at Rutgers University. He is a world-renowned expert on food safety and protection and is the co-host of a podcast on microbial food safety.

Read the entire article at WRVO Public Media »

A Celebration of Excellence 2016

2016 Excellence Award winners. Back row, l-r: Rick Ludescher, Weilin Huang, Christopher Obropta, Marci Meixler, Jennifer Francis. Front row: Dalynn Knigge, Jennifer Todd, Meredith Melendez, Wesley Kline, and Jenice Sabb.

2016 Excellence Award winners. Back row, l-r: Rick Ludescher, Weilin Huang, Christopher Obropta, Marci Meixler, Jennifer Francis. Front row: Dalynn Knigge, Jennifer Todd, Meredith Melendez, Wesley Kline, and Jenice Sabb. Photo by Jeff Heckman.

On April 21, faculty, staff, and students attended the 23rd annual Celebration of Excellence for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station held at Neilson Dining Hall.

According to executive dean Bob Goodman, this signature event acknowledges contributions that meet carefully-considered criteria, including creativity, original work and ideas, innovation, effectiveness, integrity, leadership, impact, community engagement, and excellence.

The awards were presented by dean of academic programs, Rick Ludescher. SEBS students Sarah Waxman and Nicole Tallman also presented the Alpha Zeta Honor Society Awards at the event. [Read more…]

NJTV Spotlights Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day

NJTV made a visit to the George H. Cook campus to get an overview of Ag Field Day. Executive Dean Bob Goodman is featured.
Video: Family Fun and Tradition Are at the Heart of Rutgers Day

John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Fund Award – John Gerwig’s Remarks

John Gerwig speaking at the first John and Anne Gerwid Directors Fund awards

John Gerwig speaking at the first John and Anne Gerwig Directors Fund awards

Dr. John L. Gerwig, Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension 1962 – 1992, gave the following remarks on May 4, 2016 at the first awards presented to Cooperative Extension Faculty from the John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Fund.

“I learned long ago that if you make short comments that they can’t be all wrong.  First I would like to congratulate all of the recipients of the awards here today.  We never do enough to recognize outstanding work.  As you know we are celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Rutgers.  Some think that I am so old that I was here when it was founded.  I have been associated with Rutgers for 64 years.  That is 25% of the time that Rutgers has existed.

“When I first came to the Rutgers campus in 1952, I was lucky enough to know some of the early Faculty members that made an outstanding contribution toward the betterment of mankind.  My office was in Lipman Hall and Dr. Selman Waksman, who discovered antibiotics that wiped out T.B., was housed in that building as well. It was a soil sample taken from the area where the dairy barn is located that contained the antibiotic that became known as Streptomycin.  Lipman Hall was named for Dr. Jacob Lipman who was one of the early deans of the College of Agriculture, the forerunner of the present school.  Another famous member of the faculty was Dr. Schermerhorn who selected the famous Rutgers tomato which has now been resurrected and will be grown on farms and gardens throughout the world.  The Rutgers tomato has probably done more to put Rutgers on the map than any other contribution.  The Rutgers tomato was grown in our garden where I grew up and was what I knew about Rutgers until I came here to teach in 1952.  There was Dr. Blake who made New Jersey famous for the peach varieties that still make up a large part of the peach acreage in Eastern U.S.  There was Enos Perry that introduced artificial breeding in the country.  This was a major factor in raising the milk production in the U.S.  It also decreased the injury among dairymen because dealing with dairy bulls was a major contribution to the injury of dairymen on the farm.  These pioneers and others like them established the basis of our heritage. [Read more…]

What’s in Season from the Garden State: The Historic Rutgers Tomato Gets Re-invented in University’s 250th Anniversary Year

Breeder of the 'Rutgers' tomato, Lyman Schermerhorn (left) in a field of tomatoes (circa 1930s)

Breeder of the ‘Rutgers’ tomato Lyman Schermerhorn (left) in a field of tomatoes (circa 1930s).

Of the hundreds of varieties of tomatoes grown by home gardeners or commercial growers, there are a few standards that have become household names. One of those is the ‘Rutgers’ tomato – a leading home garden and processing variety of the 20th century. While the Rutgers tomato is no longer commercially grown for canned tomato production, it is still a favorite among home gardeners and widely available from seed catalogs and garden centers.

The development of the Rutgers tomato is a lesson in the history of the early 20th century industries of canning and agriculture and a chapter in the story of the famed Jersey tomato. Introduced in 1934 by Rutgers vegetable breeder Lyman Schermerhorn, the variety was named for the university where it was developed. The name, however, belies the tomato’s origins, for the original cross was made at the Campbell Soup Company in 1928, with leading processing tomatoes as the parent varieties. In cooperation with Campbell’s, Schermerhorn selected the best plants from the cross and for the next six years conducted field tests on New Jersey farms and made further selections until in 1934 the most superior selection was released as the ‘Rutgers’ tomato.

At the time of the tomato release, the tomato canning industry was predominant in New Jersey, which went hand in hand with local tomato production. In the book Souper Tomatoes, author Andrew F. Smith described the industry as it first gained a foothold in New Jersey in the late 1800s, “Most farms in southern New Jersey from Trenton to Cape May cultivated tomatoes…Wagons and carriages of every description filled the roads on their way to the canneries. The roads were virtually painted red with squashed tomatoes that fell from the wagons. Most towns had one or more canneries.” [Read more…]

Where to Find Rutgers 250 Plant Varieties

Plant Sale at Ag Field Day/ Rutgers Day

Plant Sale at Ag Field Day/ Rutgers Day

Recently, there has been a lot of news about Rutgers plant varieties, especially the ‘Rutgers 250’TM tomato and ‘Rutgers Scarlet’TM strawberry. What you might not know is where to find them.

Whether you are an experienced home gardener or are just starting out, it’s the time of year to start preparing garden beds and getting containers ready for planting. Specifically, it is recommended to start planting outdoors in New Jersey on or after May 15. Word to the wise: based on this year’s strange weather pattern, take extra precautions to protect your young plants from high winds and heavy rain.

Upcoming plant sales will have lots of great varieties to choose from, all suitable for New Jersey’s growing zones. You will find a Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) information booth at these events with material about this year’s highlighted varieties. Rutgers Master Gardeners will also be in attendance to help you get started. [Read more…]

Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers Hosts Rutgers Research Tour

Jim Simon (far left) gave the Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers and guests a tour of his greenhouse research.

Prof. Jim Simon (far left) gave the Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers and guests a tour of his campus greenhouse.

The Board of Managers (BOM), an advisory group to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), is made up of representatives from New Jersey’s county boards of agriculture. The BOM also serves as advocate for the experiment station and provides input to NJAES’ directors on matters concerning the state’s agricultural enterprise. In addition to quarterly board meetings where members listen to faculty talk about their programs, the BOM hosts an annual tour of NJAES research facilities to get an in-depth perspective of the agricultural research conducted by Rutgers faculty. The BOM representatives invite fellow county board of ag members as well as county legislators and state ag officials to attend the tour. The 2016 tour took place on March 24 and encompassed research conducted on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick and at the Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown, NJ. The county representatives were joined by Al Murray, assistant secretary of agriculture, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Peter Furey, executive director, New Jersey Farm Bureau. [Read more…]