For the U.S., a More Worrisome Zika Vector?

For the most part, concern over the spread of the Zika virus in the United States has focused squarely on the tropical breed of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that has proved most adept at spreading it elsewhere in the world… "Zika is a loose cannon," said Dina Fonseca, an entomologist at Rutgers University. "Until it’s proven that the virus won’t infect Culex mosquitoes or any other reservoir animals – like the birds that exacerbated the spread of West Nile virus – scientists just don’t know how much of a threat Zika poses."

Read the entire article at Undark.org »

How to Fight Mosquitoes This Summer

With temperatures well into the 70s in St. Louis, Leigh Walters is preparing for mosquito season… While many mosquitoes live and breed in tree holes, marshes and woodland ponds, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes tend to live closer to humans and like to breed in containers, says Dina Fonseca, professor of entomology at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal »

Science shines at Rutgers Day on the Cook Campus

Rutgers marked its 250th anniversary on Saturday with huge celebrations on all of the campuses, and an estimated 100,000 individuals, many as couples or families, took advantage of the day to see what the various schools at Rutgers offer, from sports to music to food science to agriculture, the arts, and more… On the Cook Campus in New Brunswick, the broad focus was on science, ranging from horticulture to animal science, food science and even firefighting. Rutgers Gardens had a very large plant sale. There was an inflatable tunnel that mimicked the root system of a tree. The annual dog show for the Seeing Eye attracted dog lovers from around the state. The Rutgers Habitat for Humanity club was displaying a barrier-free garage that members had built for the Johnson family of Plainfield.

Read the entire article at Gannett New Jersey »

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…]

5 things to look for at Rutgers Day 2016

In May, President Barack Obama will speak at Rutgers commencement, but before that, on Saturday, Rutgers Day 2016 hits the open-house trifecta. In celebration of the university’s 250th anniversary in November, the school has expanded its annual April offerings to all three campus cities — New Brunswick, Newark and Camden… The New Jersey 4-H state dog show is part of Ag Field Day, which is also a part of Rutgers Day, at the Cook/Douglass campus farm area in New Brunswick. Watch dogs compete in agility, obedience and more.

Read the entire article at The Star Ledger »

Plant sale on tap at Rutgers Day

Excitement is building as we approach the 250th anniversary celebration of Rutgers University this Saturday, April 30. Since 1906, "Ag Field Day" on G.H Cook Campus in New Brunswick has been celebrating the spirit and accomplishments of Rutgers among the School of Environmental and Biological Science students, staff, alumni, volunteers, and residents… Bill Hlubik is a Rutgers University professor and Middlesex County Agricultural Agent; Gillian Armstrong is a research assistant for  Rutgers Cooperative Extension, NJAES, Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Gannett New Jersey »

Starting a food business? Rutgers incubator can help

Patrick Leger stood in a processing room at Rutgers Food Innovation Center on Friday, watching as an assembly line of bottles were filled with pure strained tomatoes, First Field’s latest product… "They need a place to go," said Lou Cooperhouse, the center’s director. "Our job is to find a pathway for them to go after they leave our facility."

Read the entire article at Press of Atlantic City »

Oyster Farms, Shorebird Vie for Space on NJ Bay Beaches

Oyster farming is the kind of business an environmentalist should love: it doesn’t use harmful chemicals or deplete natural resources, and the locally grown shellfish actually help clean the water… The 17 farms in the area produced 1.6 million oysters in 2014, the most recent figures available, bringing just under $1 million to growers, according to Dave Bushek, director of the Haskins Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at The New York Times »

New OCPE Summer Weekend Programs Help Au Pairs Earn Academic Credit Toward J-1 Visa Requirements

Photo: Jerremdinne.

Photo: Jerremdinne.

School may be out for the children they care for, but  the classroom is open for au pairs interested in fulfilling their J-1 visa academic requirements by enrolling in new Rutgers weekend summer programs.

To introduce them to one aspect of American culture, au pairs can register for “American Food – Then and Now,” an opportunity on July 30-31 to explore the technological and societal factors that have changed what and how Americans eat over the past 250 years. The interactive course features lunchtime tastings and visits to a research farm and food science research facility.

For those seeking to build their childcare skills, a second weekend course, “The Children in Your Care – Make them the Best they can be,” will offer tips, tools and techniques for encouraging healthy, positive lifestyles for children. The Aug. 6-7 program will cover cooking and fitness for children, as well as strategies for keeping the peace when challenging situations arise.

Both courses were developed by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE) in cooperation with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and will be held on the George H. Cook Campus. Cooperative Extension specialists with backgrounds in community outreach, child and youth development, and food, nutrition and health will be instructors. Each program will provide three of the six hours of academic credit that au pairs are required to earn under the J-1 visa. [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…]