Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry-Infused Beer? Say Cheers!

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Jake Makely in the strawberry fields at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County.

A desire to connect local growers with producers was the driving force behind Jake Makely’s (SEBS ’16) idea to combine two of New Jersey’s favorite warm weather delights, strawberries and beer.

Makely, an agriculture and food systems major, has been a student intern in Applied Analysis of Successful Agricultural Enterprises since February 2014, which has provided him with first-hand experience in working with the Rutgers Scarlet Strawberry (RSS) at the EARTH Center of Middlesex County. The internship, run by Professor and Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik, truly allows students to pursue their individual aspirations in the “field.”

A series of blind RSS taste-tests were conducted at SEBS professor Beverly Tepper’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory (SEL) on George H. Cook Campus. Makely, along with other students in the program, picked and cut up pounds of the RSS for the taste tests and delivered them to the lab. Participants were able to comment on the sweetness, acidity, overall flavor, firmness and aroma of four varieties of the strawberry, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

The wheels in Makely’s head started spinning when he received an email from his second job at Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, about a new device coming to the brewery. The brewery was going to begin using a Randall, which is a double-chamber filter that can be connected to a tap of beer and filled with flavor-enhancing ingredients.

“I kept talking to my co-workers at the Carton Brewing Company about the idea of using Rutgers Scarlet Strawberries in the Randall, but people didn’t take it as seriously as I wanted them to. Then I spoke to Bill (Hlubik) and he was excited about it – and I knew it was a great idea,” said Makely.

“The students in my class are incredible and I genuinely value their feedback. I encourage them to keep a notebook handy while in the field to note trends in crops,” said Hlubik. [Read more…]

Local Moth Night to Kick Off National Moth Week July 18 in Jamesburg Park

A sphinx moth. The Sphingidae family of moths are found throughout the world. Photo by David Moskowitz.

A sphinx moth. The Sphingidae family of moths are found throughout the world. Photo by David Moskowitz.

Nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to grab their cameras and head over to Port Street alongside Jamesburg Park in East Brunswick, NJ at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, for the kickoff of National Moth Week, sponsored by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission. National Moth Week, celebrated this year from July 18 to 26, shines a spotlight on moths, calling attention to their beauty, biodiversity and ecological importance. It was started in 2012 by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and quickly became an international event attracting citizen scientists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 40 countries.

A Mercury vapor light and white sheet will be set up and a long sugar bait trail will be created to attract moths after dark. The Jamesburg Park Conservation Area is part of the Middlesex County Parks system. It lies within the Spotswood Outlier—the northernmost area of New Jersey Pine Barrens habitat separated from the main area of the Pine Barrens to the south by about 15 miles. This protected area is situated in East Brunswick, Helmetta, Spotswood and Monroe Township. It is rich in vegetation diversity and should be an interesting place to look for moths. [Read more…]

NJ 4-H Members to Attend National 4-H Citizenship Conference

New Jersey 4-H representatives for the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus Conference

New Jersey 4-H representatives at the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus Conference

Thirty 4-H members have been selected to represent New Jersey at the 2015 Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) Conference. This conference, now in its 56th year, will be held July 5-11 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Citizenship Washington Focus is a 4-H leadership program for high school youth. Delegations from across the country attend this six-day program at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, located just outside Washington, D.C. The program is aimed at enriching young people’s lives by broadening their appreciation and respect for themselves and others in the world. Participants attend workshops, committee meetings, field trips and social events, giving them hands-on opportunities to learn and grow. They learn and practice skills that will make them better citizens and more successful individuals. [Read more…]

2015 Sustainable Raritan Conference Opens NY/NJ Dialogue on Future of Bay

SEBS Professors Steve Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the "Towards a Shared Agenda" panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

SEBS professors Steven Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the “Towards a Shared Agenda” panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

“Two States: One Bay, a bi-state conversation about the future of Raritan Bay” was the 2015 annual conference sponsored by the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, a program of the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The conference, held June 12 at the Douglass Student Center at Rutgers, initiated a dialogue among representatives from New Jersey and New York that focused on the future of the bay that is flanked by both states.

The initiative hosts the annual conference to support the goals of the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative in restoring the Raritan River. The collaborative has over 130 members, including environmental organizations, Raritan-based counties and municipalities, foundations and charities, businesses, and key regional, state and federal agencies. The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is one of the academic partners of the collaborative. [Read more…]

Newly Launched Community Supported Fisheries Offer Biweekly Shares of Jersey Seafood

The Community Supported Fishery at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market will be hosted by the Rutgers Animal Care meat sales program. From l-r: George Mathis; Gef Flimlin; Clint Burgher; Kelly Vuong, meat sales program; and Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens.

The Community Supported Fishery at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market will be hosted by the Rutgers Animal Care meat sales program. From l-r: George Mathis; Gef Flimlin; Clint Burgher; Kelly Vuong, meat sales program; and Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens.

A growing number of New Jersey farms are offering community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) which allow customers to become a member or shareholder, providing them with a season’s worth of produce that they pay for in advance, and then pick up on a weekly or biweekly basis. A similar strategy to boost an allied industry, Jersey Seafood, has been in development in New Jersey since 2012. Through the efforts of the marine program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Ocean County, a community supported fishery (CSF) has operated for the past three years as part of Sea Salt CSA at B&B Farms in Galloway Township in Atlantic County. The pilot CSF in Atlantic County has spawned several new CSFs this year, with one in Ocean County at Beach View CSA, one at Heirloom Kitchens in Old Bridge (a culinary boutique), and one at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market in New Brunswick. Plans are in the works for others. What distinguishes the New Jersey-model CSF from others around the U.S., is rather than have seafood pick-up at a particular boat or dock that would limit the number of species offered, Marine Extension Agent Gef Flimlin of RCE of Ocean County arranged to work with a variety of fishing docks and shellfish farmers to diversify the offerings. [Read more…]