What’s in Season from the Garden State: Legendary Jersey Tomatoes and the Role NJ Farmers Played in Selecting Winners

Lyman Schermerhorn (left), breeder of the Rutgers tomato, in a field of tomatoes. Circa 1930s.

Lyman Schermerhorn (left), breeder of the Rutgers tomato, in a field of tomatoes. Circa 1930s.

Several of the classic Jersey tomato varieties that were grown on New Jersey farms in the mid-20th century were actually developed in New Jersey, with much of the tomato breeding done at Rutgers or at Campbell’s Soup Company research facility in Riverton, NJ.

As the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) grew in capacity to provide research and outreach to New Jersey farms, it acquired off-campus research farms to accommodate the extensive work done on testing and developing plant varieties for New Jersey farmers. But before these research stations were established, a large portion of the trialing was done right on New Jersey farms. [Read more...]

Rutgers 4-H Helps Host Sicilian Youth in Collaborative Program Funded by U.S. State Department

Youth from Sicily, Italy visit Ellis Island and learn about the history of immigration to the U.S.

Youth from Sicily, Italy, visit Ellis Island and learn about the history of immigration to the U.S.

Over the course of three weeks in May and June this year, 14 youth and two adult educators from three communities in Sicily, Italy, participated in a Youth Leadership Program funded by the U.S. Department of State and facilitated by the University of Delaware and Rutgers University. During this exchange program, which focused on the general themes of civic education, leadership development and community service, the Sicilian youth toured parts of the U.S., learning about democracy and developing community service projects to be implemented in their own home communities.

“Each of the community service projects was different and I was surprised at the level of commitment that they showed to each other during the trip,” said Alayne Torretta, county 4-H Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension and program coordinator for the grant in New Jersey. [Read more...]

2014 Rutgers Snyder Farm Open House and Great Tomato Tasting

DSC06581The ever-popular annual Great Tomato Tasting at Snyder Farm continues to grow and expand, and this year there will be more to experience than ever. Hosted by Rutgers Snyder Research Farm  in Pittstown, the event will take place on Wednesday, August 27 from 3 to 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the 80 varieties of tomatoes to taste, activities will include a chef’s cooking demonstration and tasting, guided educational wagon tours of the farm’s research plots, tastings of various fruits and herbs, access to the farm’s gardens with opportunities to ask questions and get answers, insect displays, information booths on various foods grown in the Garden State, and much more. [Read more...]

Professor Emeritus Bernard L. Pollack (1920 – 2014), Breeder of ‘Ramapo’ Tomato

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Bernie Pollack on a visit to Cook Campus in 2008. Photo by Jack Rabin

Professor Emeritus of Plant Breeding and Genetics Bernard “Bernie” Pollack passed away on July 14, at the age of 94. Pollack joined Rutgers in 1960 as faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry, and retired in 1985. While his work in vegetable breeding extended to eggplant, pepper and tomatoes, Pollack is most renowned for his development of the Ramapo tomato, which, in the 1960s, offered New Jersey fresh market growers a tomato with quality, disease and crack resistance, and durability. As the popularity of this tomato never waned despite its disappearance from the market, during his retirement Pollack assisted NJAES in bringing this variety back to market.

During the 1970s Pollack worked extensively with New Jersey growers conducting vegetable variety trials and implementing trickle irrigation and plasticulture systems. Working with USAID and the Peace Corps, he traveled throughout Africa to further the development of trickle irrigation in African agriculture. During his travels, he collected eggplant germplasm and created one of the most extensive collections, containing 536 eggplant varieties. Pollack worked on assessing exotic eggplant germplasm to develop valuable new traits for worldwide agriculture. [Read more...]

Sweet, super-sized peach cake planned for 4-H Fair

Standing over more than 150 pounds of fresh peaches Wednesday, Gloucester County’s Master Gardeners started a sweet and sticky assembly line…Twenty-four hours later, their prepped peaches would be part of a 250-pound peach shortcake recognized by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as the state’s largest birthday cake. The peach cake, baked and assembled by Liscio’s Bakery in Glassboro, will debut Thursday at opening ceremonies of the Gloucester County 4-H Fair and New Jersey Peach Festival in Mullica Hill…The peach-filled mega-pastry marks the 100th anniversary of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the organization that oversees the Master Gardener program and 4-H throughout the state. "We wanted to do something fun and festive," said Luanne Hughes, an RCE health sciences educator.

Read the entire article at CourierPostOnline.com »