“Eating Fresh is Eating SMART” for Rutgers Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program

Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program interns at Hort Farm 3. L-R: James Smith (SEBS '16), Arlan Rodeo (PSM '16), Andrew Boameh-Agyekum (PSM '16), Professor Albert Ayeni.

Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program interns at Rutgers Hort Farm 3. L-R: James Smith (SEBS ’16), Arlan Rodeo (PSM ’16), Andrew Boameh-Agyekum (PSM ’16) and Albert Ayeni.

It was only 9 a.m. but the August sun was already blazing over Hort Farm 3 on the George H. Cook Campus. The Entrepreneurship Agriculture Program (EAP) interns didn’t seem fazed, though.

Arlan Rodeo, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program student, simply rolled up his sleeves and continued to dunk bunches of amaranth into tubs of water, cleaning the crop to be sold at the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market (NBCFM) later that morning.

“We sold out of amaranth very early last week. We’re testing a new volume today to see how much can be sold,” said Rodeo. [Read more…]

World-Famous, Yet Nameless: Hybrid Flowering Dogwoods Named by Rutgers Scientists

Garden lovers and horticulturalists now have two new species names to add to their vocabulary and memory. The world’s most commercially successful dogwood garden trees have finally received proper scientific names decades after their introduction into horticulture. The big-bracted, or flowering, dogwoods are beloved trees with cloud-like branches blossoming in early spring in white, sometimes red or pink. The new scientific names are published by a team of American scientists in the open-access journal PhytoKeys… So, why do we need formal names? "Crucial to communication in all parts of our lives is the naming of objects and phenomena," explains Mr. Mattera, a Rutgers University graduate student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "Humanity needs words to tell other people what we are talking about, and the words need to have uniform and clear meanings," he adds. Before their publication these horticultural plants largely lived in a taxonomic no-man’s land and could not easily be placed into horticultural databases… Co-author Dr. Lena Struwe, a botanist also at Rutgers University, explains that "Even artificial hybrids created by the fusion of species from separate pieces of the Earth are living, evolving things that need scientific names so they fit into our encyclopedias of life."

Read the entire article at www.phys.org »

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…]

Clifton High School Valedictorian Sees Future as Surgeon

Clifton High School Valedictorian Daniel Peltyszyn, said the first thing he wanted to do after graduation was "sit back and relax." After becoming the top of the graduating Class of 2015, the respite is well-deserved. However, Peltyszyn said what he is most looking forward to is a change of scenery after three years at Clifton High School’s main campus… He will attend Rutgers New Brunswick as a member of the inaugural Honors College class in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences… Peltyszyn said he plans to become a surgeon. If he had to choose a specialty right now, he’d opt for neurosurgery, he added.

Read the entire article at www.northernjersey.com »