Morris Gbolo spends a lot of time thinking about the home-cooked dinners he and his wife, Ernestine, used to enjoy before they fled their home amid civil war in Liberia 12 years ago. For Mr. Gbolo, 55, memories of mealtime in West Africa, where he was a farmer, have become a source of entrepreneurial inspiration and a way to make friends: As owner and operator of Morris Gbolo’s World Crops Farm, a 13-acre parcel in Buena Vista Township that he bought in January to grow the produce of his homeland (bitter ball, cassava), he hopes to help fellow transplants connect and feel closer to home… Ethnic crops are a thriving business for small farmers in New Jersey, said Brian Schilling, an extension specialist in agricultural policy at Rutgers University’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics in New Brunswick. Farmers often focus on "high-value crops" ike peaches and blueberries to remain "economically sustainable," he explained, but niche markets, like West African produce, are also becoming more viable… Richard VanVranken, a Rutgers agriculture agent in Atlantic County, said that word about the university’s ethnic crop work was spreading, in part from referrals by the state’s Agriculture Department. "I now get on average a call per week from new farmers or established growers exploring new ethnic markets from around the state and way beyond," he said.
/ / / A Farmer Reclaims Liberian Roots in New Jersey