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At Home MAY-JUNE 2016




Celebrate Jersey blues Rutgers tomatoes: Where to buy new breeds

You can win: A guide and tools to host a festive cocktail party

Women’s ways: Be inspired by many amazing role models


May-June 2016

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May-June 2016




Contents PETS Hall of fame



FITNESS Seasonal strain

Tools for cocktails, anyone? When wine or cocktails are in order, the housewares brand Trudeau has a wide range of products to increase ease and enjoyment. To highlight its product line, the company is offering a cocktail bundle for At Home New Jersey readers. Here’s what you could win: a shot glass to measure out those cocktail recipes written in ounces; a red silicone glass-drying mat that can reduce water spots at the bar by maximizing air circulation; an ice-sphere mold to accent drinks with fashionable, slow-melting round ice; and a precision-pouring cocktail shaker. To sweeten the prize, we’re throwing in a Kuhn Rikon paring knife to slice the garnishes, and a copy of “The Cocktail Party,” a fun party guide by Mary Giuliani, a caterer to Manhattan’s celebrity elite. (See review on Page 10.) For a chance to win: Email with your name, address and phone number by June 24. Make Trudeau the subject, and tell us where you pick up At Home New Jersey. (This information and your entry help us gauge the effectiveness of our various distribution points, so please enter and let us know where you found us. You just might win!) Congratulations to March-April winners: A. Bialos, Cranford and R. Tully, Westfield win the Time Warp gift certificate; A. Green, Scotch Plains wins the Hanami orchid necklace.


Let’s celebrate every day As the weather warms into summer, we’re thinking of all the reasons we have to get together. There are the formal holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and celebrations such as graduations and weddings and birthdays. Beyond the big occasions, it’s wonderful to just set a date to enjoy a casual gathering with friends. Treats with afternoon tea can be easy — home-made or store-bought. This issue has ideas for the events and parties ahead. But don’t just wait for an occasion to put out flowers or to decorate the house colorfully. Like the comforting presence of friends and family, bringing doses of color and beauty into everyday living can lift us up. Make lovely or whimsical scenes indoors, or plant them into a garden where a little planning and care can deliver that beauty along with exciting flavors and better health from the food, fresh air and exercise. Kimberly L. Jackson


DESIGN Basic black


CRAFTS Fairy gardens


FOOD Tea time



GARDEN Jersey tomatoes


HEALTH Green clean


FAMILY Finding friends


AT HOME NEW JERSEY Mail: P.O. Box 193 Fanwood, NJ 07023 Telephone: (908) 656-0385 E-mail: Web:


Prizes are the full responsibility of winners, who in accepting acknowledge that publisher cannot be held liable for defects or misuse. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy; the publisher cannot be held liable for omissions or errors of fact. Consult a competent professional before adopting any suggestion, health-related or otherwise. Articles and advertisements reflect opinions of the producer and not necessarily those of the publisher. © 2016 All rights reserved On the cover: New Jersey’s state fruit highlighted in an individual-size tart. iStock photo.


Pet friendly The Woodlands, a senior living center in Plainfield, regularly receives two small visitors whose good behavior and cute faces earn them frequent pats on the head and, sometimes, even lap-time with residents. These aren’t the toddlers that one might expect to travel to rooms and recreation areas in a double stroller. They’re a couple of cats. Merry, a 12-year-old black male, and Dean, a 5-year-old striped female, visit the Woodland Avenue center once a month with the help of their owner, Christine Clairmont of Winfield Park. “Some people don’t have visitors at all,” says Clairmont, who since August 2015 has been taking her cats to the center to offer comfort to residents. “Some people don’t get a whole lot of social interaction. They either don’t want to come out of their room to visit with people, or they spend a lot of time by themselves.” Sharing the love she has with her cats does as much for her as it does for the residents, she said. “It makes me feel really good to know that they can have that impact on other people as well as me.” Clairmont is speaking on video about Merry and Dean, who are among six 2016 inductees into the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association’s Hall of Fame, which since 1996 has annually recognized special animals. The cats’ veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Cilli of Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, nominated the pair, which she described as “a unique duo of kitties.” “Most of us have met therapy dogs along the way, but I have never met a pair of therapy cats,” she said. “I think they are a wonderful example of the animal-human bond, and an example of the positive effect that it can have on our community.”

May-June 2016

Honoring animals who help humans

Cilli says Merry and Dean are especially effective for the senior center because cats have a quieter disposition than dogs, and their calming presence can draw out those who might be a bit shy, more reserved or unable to communicate feelings easily. Clairmont, who works with Creature Comfort Pet Therapy of Morristown, says she has witnessed it in residents who warm up to the cats over time. “Sometimes people want to just watch, but as they see them more and more, they start to want to get involved with them.” Clairmont, a veterinary technician, became interested in cats as therapeutic agents when Merry, a kitten with health issues, became a companion to her mother who was in poor health. “He would sit with her and always made her feel better,” Clairmont said. Merry, named after a hobbit in “Lord of the Rings,” began therapy work in 2004. Dean, named after a character in the “Supernatural” TV show, came on in 2012. They also make monthly visits to Brandywine senior center in Bridgewater and AristaCare in Plainfield. Every year, NJVMA recognizes animals who make a difference in the lives of humans through exceptional affection, bravery, empathy or other traits. Among 2016 honorees: Ripley, a search and rescue dog; Forty-Sue, a calf in the Philipsburg High School agricultural program; Trooper, a 22-year-old red-tailed hawk who works with the Avian Wildlife Center in Wantage; and Tyak, a Labrador service dog who is a companion and assistant to a 14-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and autism. Pet owners and vets can nominate pets at, where there is a video about each inductee. To be considered, applications must include the name of the animal’s vet. Photos courtesy New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association

Clockwise from top: Merry and Dean; Trooper the red-tailed hawk; Forty-Sue the calf; and Bryan Rebimbas with Tyak, his beloved companion and service dog.

Annual checkups are as essential as food and love New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association Love ’Em Right!

Find a veterinarian and pet care tips at

May-June 2016


CAMP JUNE 27th - AUGUST 19th

Dawn Arlotta

Even gardening can bring injuries if rarely used muscles are subjected to intensive work.

Avoid springtime sprains

Recognize signs of strain: When tears result from more than simple wear, you are no longer healing a fatigued body, but an injured one. Recognize the difference between soreness that results from a healthy increase in physical activity and a more significant injury. Sometimes, it’s tricky to tell the difference between postworkout soreness and significant muscle strain. Signs of a strained muscle include pain beyond discomfort, even when at rest; weakness in the area; swelling, bruising or redness at the site; pain with use of the muscle, including in the nearby joint and nerves; limited movement or inability to use the muscle at all. See a physician: If pain is severe or lasts more than two weeks, consult with a medical professional. Better to prove it as a minor strain than let a serious issue go unresolved. If the body tries to heal itself incorrectly, the rehabilitation process can be more challenging. Your physician may prescribe diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to better understand the injury. Physical therapy also may be prescribed.

Keep moving: Studies continue to reveal the benefits of gentle movement during recovery from a muscle strain. The exercises and intensity of a workout may need to be adjusted to avoid further injury. Efforts to protect the area that is healing may cause overuse of other muscles and joints. As the body compensates for an injured area, another part of the body can be injured through improper form and misalignment. Consult a personal trainer: Doing so is helpful when resuming exercise following an injury. A trainer can create a gentle, progressive workout to help you keep fit without risk of further injury as you recover. The right stretches and movements can help prevent muscle atrophy, and possibly accelerate healing. A personal trainer can sometimes shed light on how and why an injury occurred. Perhaps core muscles are too weak to support back muscles — one swing of the golf club, and hello back pain. When possible, establishing the reason for strain or injury can help in customizing a workout to strengthen the body and correct one’s form in physical activities to prevent recurrence. Springtime makes the world a playground. If you haven’t played outside since the fall leaves were raked, keep these tips in your mind and an ice pack in your freezer. You never know when a spring to-do list might require lifting one too many potted plants. More tips at







It’s the time of year for baseball, landscaping, home improvements — and strained muscles. With the sudden increase in use, muscle injury is sometimes unavoidable. If springtime activity comes to a halt with wincing pain, there are smart ways to handle it. Small muscle tears occur naturally after exercise or the strain of intense physical activity. During rest, and especially during quality sleep, these microscopic tears repair themselves. This process makes the body stronger and more fit.

Through its hospital affiliation, RWJ Rahway Fitness & Wellness Center in Scotch Plains has on-site physical therapists who can coordinate a rehabilitation program with fitness professionals for a safe posttherapy transition.


By Michelle Sutton-Kerchner



732.541.2333 | 60 Cooke Avenue | Carteret, NJ 07008 | /RWJRahwayFitnessWellnessCenteratCarteret





May-June 2016

Lionel Richie: At home with housewares design The polished line of home goods suggests a visually creative side of Lionel Richie few knew of previously. His housewares collection, Lionel Richie Home, includes plates, serving pieces, glassware and décor items he says have been inspired by his travels and the world’s finest hotels, as well as gatherings with his family and friends. The price range is broad, starting at just $14 for votive holders in attractively faceted dark glass called “smoke.” (In the photo, the clear glass version doubles as a vase for cala lilies.) On the high end, there’s the tall crystal Firenze flower vase at $1,507. (It’s shown at his right in the photo.) The bone china dinnerware in six patterns is sold in fourpiece sets, starting at $33 for bread plates to $93 for chargers. Barware and crystal stemware goes from $21 to $148 per piece or set. Scented candles are expected to be added to the line before spring’s end, and everything in the expanding collection is being sold online at The singer and songwriter is still performing regularly in Las Vegas, but in a recent interview at, Richie, 66, says he’s addicted to design magazines, frequents art galleries when traveling, and would have been a landscape architect or an interior designer had he not become a singer. (He was an economics major minoring in accounting before he dropped out of Tuskegee University to join the Commodores in 1968.) More recently known as the father of reality TV star Nicole Richie, the multi-platinum-selling artist said he also gardens actively. “I go to my garden when I need a quiet place to reflect,” he told the magazine’s staff.

Courtesy Lionel Richie Home Collection

Lionel Richie has introduced a signature collection of home goods, including crystal glassware and bone china dinnerware.

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Win Valspar’s new Zero-VOC paints Valspar has reformulated several of its interior paint lines to eliminate harmful airborne chemicals that can sometimes accompany that new paint smell. Home improvers can feel more assured of safer indoor air quality with Reserve, Signature, Ultra 2000 and Ultra 4000 lines each receiving the Gold level certification from Underwriters Laboratories affiliate Greenguard. Valspar has eliminated volatile organic compounds from the base paint and associated colorants. VOCs such as benzene and formaldehyde pose health threats and are found in many household

products from cleaners to cabinetry. The eco-friendly formulations, available at Lowe’s stores, can be found in all the expected colors, from whites to Dark Kettle black (dicussed on the facing page). Win Valspar paint: To highlight ecofriendly options and encourage home updates, Valspar is offering At Home readers a chance to win two gallons of paint in the winner’s chosen color. For a chance to win, email with name, address and phone number by June 19. Make “Valspar” the subject and list the color and formulation you hope to win.

Timeless trends in  fashion and décor

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May-June 2016

Black with gray provides a stunning backdrop in this dining room by Vanessa DeLeon.

One accent wall can bring in black without overwhelming a room, says Libby Langdon.

Black interiors: Bleak or chic? Black provides stunning contrast in small doses on crown molding, baseboards, window frames and other architectural accents. But how about black walls? For anyone who has become enamored with this trend in decorative daring, we’ve got tips from three celebrity designers to help get it right. “When working with darker colors, you need to find soothing elements,” says Vanessa DeLeon. In the room shown above, she created a mural of running horses and custom wallpaper that marries gray with dark crown molding and a coffered ceiling painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Caviar. “The gray is what softens and adds a soothing effect,” she says. “The red is a pop-up color that stimulates the black and gray.” DeLeon suggests uploading an image of a room to the ColorSnap Visualizer app or online tool at to try on black virtually. If it looks great on screen,

try painting a black sample wall. “It will give a good visual of the color on that wall.” Genevieve Gorder likes Valspar’s Dark Kettle black in a flat finish for dining rooms. “It gives contrast and depth,” she says. “It is masculine with a sultry femininity.” She also suggests black paint for a chest that needs an update. “Add brass hardware, and you’ve got yourself a sexy new storage piece.” Libby Langdon says the trick to black rooms is bringing in doses of white. “In bedding, upholstery fabric or artwork picture mats, white adds contrast and balance to the strength of black,” she says. “Some people are afraid a dark wall will make a space seem smaller, but it’s actually the opposite. One dark wall surrounded by three lighter walls visually recedes and makes a space feel larger.” And trying black is a low-risk experiment. “One gallon of paint is around $35 and only takes a couple of hours to apply,” she says.

Strong white elements in furniture, ceiling paint, crown molding and other architectural features help tame the walls of a foyer painted in Caviar black from Sherwin-Williams.

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Lee Jofa



May-June 2016

A floraphile’s guide to entertaining and beauty

If crystal and fine dinnerware are stored away, pull pieces out and dress a table inspired by DeJuan Stroud’s setting for a ladies’ lunch. It’s reason enough to call friends over.

Photos by Monica Buck/Courtesy Rizzoli

Orchids, such as this cattleya variety, are among favorites of floral designers. As in this place setting, some varieties can hold up for hours without water when well hydrated in advance.

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In the foreword to “Designing Life’s Celebrations” (Rizzoli, $50), singer Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, share the story of how author and floral designer DeJuan Stroud transformed a gymnasium into a gracious, restaurant-like setting for people in need that the couple wanted to feed in dignified surroundings. The gym was the setting for JBJ Soul Kitchen before it moved to its current Red Bank location. In the years since Stroud first became the celebrity couple’s florist, designing for their charitable events as well as for parties and holidays at their Monmouth County home, he has moved his business from Little Silver to Manhattan. And “Designing Life’s Celebrations,” Stroud’s new book, shows that he is the sort of floral designer who doesn’t really need the celebrity endorsement. Through the book’s chapters, Stroud captures moments from events he and his wife, Debra, have planned and staged through their business. Their featured designs range from at-home dinner parties and luncheons to weddings, outdoor gatherings and birthdays. Numerous themes are explored, from a Morocco-inspired dinner to a brunch buffet that becomes a study in yellow. The floraphile learns to satisfy the need for effusive arrangements by displaying several on a buffet rather than block views at a dining table. As a coffee table-size volume, the book is filled with eye-gasmic images to inspire bouquets, centerpieces, table settings and full room designs. In one case, Stroud shows how flowerless, monochromatic arrangements of greens can be a stunning option for holidays and beyond. The book ends with practical guidance for arrangements in a “workbook” section that covers flower care, matching flowers to vases and containers, and using the same flowers

Stroud makes the buffet a place for food and several of his fantastic floral designs.

in different ways. His “breakaway bouquets” are ingenious arrangements of tied bouquets that can be wrapped and offered to guests as a parting gift at an event’s end. The book is full of images that illustrate Stroud’s imaginative way with events and flowers, which he fell in love with as a boy in his grandmother’s garden and began to associate with happy moments and celebrations. Sharing the childhood memory of family celebration where his grandmother’s flowers were displayed among professional arrangements, he recalls: “To me, her bouquets seemed more thoughtful and more perfectly suited to the interiors of the red farmhouse. The flowers made the house seem all dressed up for a party.” Even as he worked a decade on Wall Street, such formative memories and his passion for flowers and parties endured.

May-June 2016


Photos courtesy Lark Crafts

Kids grow up fast. A letter garland for the nursery can easily change shape when a little one’s interests change and he’s old enough to have clear ideas on decorating his room.

Flowers plucked from the garden can become wall art when an assembly of recycled glass jars is joined by heavy gauge wire, as shown in Kathy Sheldon’s floating garden garland.

A collection of beach finds makes the perfect seasonal decoration when the starfish, sand dollars, driftwood and shells are artfully hung from twine along a length of rope.

Tie one on: The joy of hanging from the walls Some life events warrant both private and public displays of joy. Make a pennant of exuberant panels that spell out congratulations and tie it to an entryway to offer a measure of pageantry suitable for welcoming a first child, a wizened graduate or the newly wedded couple. In “Banners, Buntings, Garlands and Pennants” (Lark Crafts, $17.95), Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio have compiled projects that show how cuts of fabric or paper and even flowers, crocheted squares and beach finds can become a moveable feast of decorating to celebrate joyous occasions as well as day-to-day living. The book’s rich photographic illustrations

demonstrate how strings of things can easily bring color and pattern into a room without a long-term commitment. Here, garlands go beyond Christmas. The authors show rectangles, miniature clothing, letters, origami, paper fans and more hung from lengths of draped cord. Many of them could be a fun alternative to wallpaper borders. The fact that they are temporary makes these decorations great for parties. The chosen words or shapes can support a theme and be customized for greater meaning than ready-made options. Beyond stringing things for the walls, the authors show how to wire a row of glass jars to fill

with flowers, and give numerous ideas for backyard banners and celebratory pennants that also can be hung from stair railing. Three-dimensional paper crafts are delightful in kids’ rooms when they can be hung from the ceiling. Faux flowers strung on thin line appear to float in air. Miniature felt cutouts, like strawberries and daisies or gumdrops, are wrapped around baskets and cake stands. In one fun outdoor party idea, miniature bottles of bubble fluid are tied to a string. The book also covers the basic tools needed and discusses the techniques required to make hanging decorations. Patterns are included for all of the shapes involved in the book’s 40 projects.

Come to us for handmade gifts! 1906 Bartle Ave., Scotch Plains (near library) ■ 908-288-7508 ■ and on Facebook


May-June 2016

Cocktail parties: An easy way to get together Mary Giuliani is a caterer to Manhattan’s celebrity elite. Yes, she is said to be related through marriage to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but don’t write her off as a success of advantageous connections. Mary Giuliani wanted to be a star, but instead a catering job she took to pay her cable bills “would be my ticket into a world I could only have imagined entering.” As she worked up to owning her own catering company, her calling card would become imaginative bitesized takes on comfort foods, with cocktails crafted to complement them. Her book, “The Cocktail Party” (Ballantine Books, $28), is equal parts memoir, cookbook and entertaining guide. Giuliani, who is often captured in goofy poses (like taking a dramatic swig from a fifth of bourbon) is hilarious to the point of making the book a stress-relieving bedtime read for even those who never tip the bottle. And her tips are on target for anyone who wants parties that are less fretful and more fun. She prefers cocktail parties, she says, because they offer “a wonderful opportunity for the home entertainer to show off his or her skills (or lack thereof) in a condensed amount of time with minimal expectations of anything beyond snack food and stiff drinks.” Her parties are streamlined with menus that involve as many make-ahead choices as possible. She then incorporates a “snacktivity.” That is setting up a station with one food — jars of mashed potatoes, cups of soup, deviled eggs or doughnuts — with garnishes, so guests can dress and flavor as they wish. The book offers planning ideas, cleaning advice and more. Giuliani’s simple formula to determine the number of hors d’oeuvres: “Have four to five pieces of each item you are serving per person, per hour of the party.” Recipes are organized in party menus by occasion, including holidays, birthdays, “game day” and awards-watching parties. Among ways to keep costs down are beer cocktails: “beerbon” (beer and bourbon) or the “beergarita” (beer, tequila and lime). She also mixes apple cider with beer for her own spin on the shandy (beer and lemonade). Along with her life stories, Giuliani describes a fantasy party with a guest list that speaks to a childhood of TV reruns. Among those present: Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, Lucille Ball, Steve Martin, Gilda Radner, Chuck Barris, the Captain and Tennille and Rip Taylor. “Remember that guy from the ’70s game shows who would toss confetti all over himself? I just think it would be great to have a guest at the dinner table who would sporadically do that.”

Photos by Adrien Broom

Crudites in a party garden where baby and cut veggies are planted in a bed of cooked quinoa or a firm dip. Scoop it out with a new trowel.

Luscious and light

The time-saving value of ‘snacktivities’ Pigs in a blanket, those pastry-wrapped cocktail wienies, are central to caterer and author Mary Giuliani’s approach to entertaining, surprisingly described as her “admission ticket” into celebrity catering. They appear in “The Cocktail Party” book about 10 times, including in a recipe “spicy pigs” made with chorizo. Above, pigs in a blanket become a “snacktivity,” her word for when a host sets up a food bar and invites guests to top or flavor the featured food as

they would like. Here, her trusty dogs are offered with a selection of condiments including the expected mustards, mayo, ketchup and sauerkraut along with barbecue sauce, hot sauce, crumbled bacon and guacamole. She says guests even enjoy them at room temperature. And since the from-scratch variety can be time-consuming to make, she offers a sneaky secret: “With a brush of melted butter, you can make the frozen ones taste homemade.” Instructions included.

Firing up the grill for a party? Offering fire-roasted peaches with ricotta and honey on presentation spoons is an exciting, light option that Mary Giuliani suggests for a grilled garden party. To make them: Cut three firm, ripe peaches into eight slices each. Toss peaches in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Grill peaches 2 minutes on each side. Cool slightly and place on spoons. Top each slice with ricotta and a drizzle of warmed honey. Also try the technique with other fruits such as pineapples, plums and mangos.

May-June 2016


Gypsy gardens are another type of miniature hobby. This one has tiny faux cabbages “growing” in real garden soil.

A friendly gnome’s landscape has tiny living evergreens with faux veggie miniatures and a sheet moss lawn and shrubs.

There’s been an explosion of options to accessorize fairy gardens. Shown, a few from Williams Nursery in Westfield.

Tiny gardens can incorporate houses and other structures, fencing, figures and any other features a maker can imagine.

Fairy gardens: A miniature world of whimsy Line a bowl or even a mug with pebbles, fill it with potting soil, and you’ll have the turf on which to create small scenes. The fairies are optional in fairy gardens, an indoor-outdoor hobby that has a growing number of enthusiasts, drawing fans of doll houses, terrariums, bonsai and regular gardening. Fairy gardens typically incorporate miniature figures and furnishings, which can be purchased or devised from repurposed household items, natural materials or craft supplies. “It’s always been around, but over the last three years I’ve seen a huge influx of different styles,” says Marilyn Mench, hard goods manager at Williams Nursery in Westfield. The nursery has been a source for terrarium plants and accessories, and Mench says terrarium makers have been expanding that interest by adding elements from fairy gardens. “With the terrarium, you are making miniature landscapes. Fairy gardens offer terrarium fans an opportunity to branch out and make a miniature world,” she says. Idea-sharing sites such as Pinterest are brimming with

inspirational images for gardens that can be created in a surprising variety of large or small containers, or in garden beds where a well-placed gnome is just the starting point. “You can use anything,” says Mench. “It’s really versatile.” To inspire customers at Williams, Mench has created several displays with a variety of small plants and even flowering annuals in fairy gardens and gypsy gardens, which incorporate more colorful modern elements. “We have a whole line of miniature shrubs this year,” she says. These are very young landscape favorites such as boxwood, euonymus, ferns, arborvitae and other evergreens. Other options include terrarium plants such as mini ferns, ficus and moss. Some gardeners

have success starting tiny plants from slow-growing garden cuttings. With proper care, they’ll continue to grow, and in some cases can be transplanted to larger containers or planted in the ground. “With some of them, you can maintain the shape by trimming them.” The versatility of the hobby can also make it an affordable one. All that’s needed to start is potting soil and a container. Small plants can encourage shaping accessories from colorful polymer clay, or seeing branches, bottle caps and other would-be discards in more creative ways. “It’s something you can do with your child,” Mench says. “Start small and build larger.” Add an acorn house and see who moves in.



Blue Jersey

In June, when th there are lots of forget frozen blu sauces. Here are blueberries. The per cup. That’s a

Low-sugar blueberry cheesecake (8 servings)

until center is set, about 30 minutes.

Cooking oil spray 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs 8 ounces neufchatel (reduced-fat) cream cheese 1 cup -percent fat cottage cheese 3 containers (5.3 ounces each) low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon powdered sugar Blueberry sauce (recipe follows)

3. Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry sauce using recipe below.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Spray bottom and side of a 9-inch pie plate with vegetable cooking spray; sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, and tilt to coat bottom evenly.

Blueberry biscuits (12 biscuits) 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen 3/4 cup cold milk (see note) 1 cup frozen blueberries (keep frozen)

2. In a food processor or blender, process cream cheese, cottage cheese, one container of the yogurt and cornstarch until smooth. Add eggs and pulse until fully combined. Pour mixture into crumb-coated pie plate; smooth large bubbles from top. Bake

4. When pie is set, blend the remaining yogurt with powdered sugar and spread over the cheesecake; bake 5 more minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Top with cooled blueberry sauce. Chill in refrigerator before serving. Blueberry sauce: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stir 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and water until berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Nutrition information (per serving): 153 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated), 61mg cholesterol, 332mg sodium, 21g carbs, 1g fiber, 18g sugars, 11g protein — Adapted recipe, photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Blue-jito : To a ta mint leaves, 1 tab spoon sugar. Mas cocktail muddler u of blueberries and three-quarters wit lemonade until th splash of club sod additional 2 tables pour 1/2 ounce da on top. Garnish w Serve immediately

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into dry ingredients and stir together. Toss frozen blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour. 2. Lightly stir in milk and floured blueberries to barely combine. Do not over mix. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead just until evenly blended. 4. Pat dough into a square, about 3/4-inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 12 rectangles. Place biscuits an inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from sheet to cool on a wire rack. Note: If dough does not hold together, add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, until it can be shaped. Optional drizzle: Sift 1 cup powdered sugar to prevent lumps. Blend with 2 tablespoons milk. Drizzle over biscuits. Nutrition information (per biscuit): 172 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated), 22mg cholesterol, 201mg sodium, 21g carbs, 1g fiber, 4g sugars, 3g protein — Adapted recipe, photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Blueberry vinaigrette: To a blender, add 3/4 cup blueberries, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground ginger. Blend on high speed until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

e 2016

he official New Jersey state fruit is at peak, f ways to appreciate its fresh flavor. But don’t ueberries, which are best for baking and e a few ways we’ve enjoyed antioxidant-rich ey’re high in Vitamin C and just 80 calories a good reason to enjoy them by the handful.


Spinach-blueberry salad with warm bacon dressing (4 servings)

all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

4 slices bacon 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon maple syrup 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 5 cups baby spinach or arugula 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion 1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast 2 cups fresh blueberries 1/2 cup crumbled blue or feta cheese

2. In a small bowl, stir reserved bacon fat, olive oil, vinegar, syrup, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk to blend.

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Discard

3. In a large bowl, toss spinach with half the dressing; spread on a platter. Top with onion, chicken, blueberries, cheese and crumbled bacon. Serve with remaining dressing, if desired. Nutrition information (per serving): 327 calories, 20g fat (7g saturated), 73mg cholesterol, 632mg sodium, 15g carbs, 3g fiber, 10g sugars, 24g protein — Recipe, photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

A sandwich to relish

Try a Driscoll’s recipe for oven-made, open-face grilled cheese sandwiches where sourdough bread is buttered on one side, and on the other it’s spread with mascarpone cheese, a blueberry relish, cuts of brie and arugula. Make the sauce by simmering 12 ounces of Driscoll’s blueberries, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and a teaspoon of thyme leaves over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Get the recipe and more berry recipes at In a nod to the Pine Barrens, Whitesbog and Elizabeth C. White’s legacy, try a chutney recipe made with blueberries and cranberries, the Pine Barrens’ native fruits. The relish (recipe below) is also delicious on the Driscoll’s sandwich, shown right. Pine Barrens blueberry-cranberry relish: In a nonreactive saucepan, combine 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries with 14-ounces of canned cranberry sauce, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional), 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir over medium-high heat until cranberry sauce liquifies and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and

all 16-ounce glass, add 12 fresh blespoon lime juice and 1 teash with the back of a spoon or a until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons d crush until juicy. Fill the glass th ice. Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of he glass is two-thirds full. Add a da, 1 ounce of light rum. Add an spoons of blueberries, stir. Slowly ark rum into the drink so it floats with a mint sprig and lime slice. y.

simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour into clean jars, cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or freeze in plastic containers. Serve with roasted or grilled meats, cheeses, sandwiches, vanilla ice cream, breakfast oats and more. Optional: Add a teaspoon of fresh or ground ginger to intensify spicy heat.

Blueberry and gorgonzola pizza (6 servings)

Berry smart cake: In a small bowl, stir a half tablespoon of apricot preserves into 2 tablespoons of ricotta or cottage cheese. Spread the mixture on a rice cake and top with 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries and thin slices of seasonal fruit. Beyond apples, try nectarines, plums, peaches or pears. Serve immediately.

1 pound pizza dough Cooking oil spray 1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella, divided 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese 4 ounces diced pancetta, ham or bacon, cooked and drained 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion 1/2 cup fresh blueberries 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil Freshly ground black pepper 1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Stretch dough into a 10 by 14-inch oval; place on a large baking sheet sprayed with oil. With a fork, pierce dough in several places. 2. Leaving a half-inch border, sprinkle

dough with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the gorgonzola, pancetta and red onion. Bake until crust is golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. 3. Sprinkle blueberries over pizza, covering them with remaining mozzarella to hold in place. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from oven; top with basil and pepper. Nutrition information (per serving): 241 calories, 18g fat (8g saturated), 36mg cholesterol, 487mg sodium, 8g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 13g protein — Adapted recipe, photo courtesy U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council


May-June 2016

Recipes to match any way you take your tea Anna Maria Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, is credited with popularizing the practice of inviting friends over to refresh with afternoon tea and snacks before dinner. “However, it was thanks to Queen Victoria that afternoon tea came to be the more formal affair we enjoy today,” writes awardwinning British pastry chef Will Torrent in “Afternoon Tea at Home” (Ryland Peters & Small, $24.95). “During her reign, tea service became increasingly grand, and enjoying the ritual in the country’s celebrated dining rooms held social status.” Today, devotees can enjoy tea service as properly or as casually as they wish. But no one should forgo setting up finger sandwiches, scones and other dainty snacks on a three-tier tray to offer with clotted cream and preserves, Torrent advises. “I love the feeling of tranquility and peace that contradicts the buzz of being served afternoon tea,” he writes. Loose teas, typically Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Assam, are traditional choices. Instead of going into detail on the more ceremonial aspects of this British sip and snack ritual, Torrent focuses on tea-time nibbles. Recipes include plain, fruit and cheese scones with an assortment of spreads. There are cookies, cakes, pastries, savories and finger sandwiches. (Note that crusts remain on Bloody Mary shrimp sandwiches but are trimmed from the pulled ham-hock variety.) Those who would celebrate with tea can use menu plans for many occasions. The featured olive whirls are suggested for Gentleman’s Tea with pastrami and Emmental cheese sandwiches, cherry-almond tarts and mocha cakes. Nan’s welsh cakes are in a Retro Tea with deviled egg sandwiches, ginger custard creams and strawberry sherry trifles.

Afternoon Tea at Home: Olive and anchovy whirls (Makes about 40) 3/4 cup pitted black olives (I use Crespo pitted dry black olives in herbs) 2 ounces anchovies in olive oil, chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound all-butter puff pastry/dough, thawed if frozen 2 baking sheets lined with parchment 1. Tip olives, anchovies, crushed garlic, chopped parsley and a good grinding of black pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Add a little of the olive oil and blend until finely chopped and almost the consistency of a paste — you may not need all of the olive oil. 2. Cut pastry in half (it’s easier to work with two smaller pieces). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one piece into a rectangle measuring 16 by 8 inches. Using a palette knife, spread half the olive paste in a thin, smooth layer over the pastry and trim the pastry edges. Starting at one of the shorter (8-inch) ends, roll the pastry into a tight spiral with the paste inside. Wrap in cling film and repeat with remaining pastry and olive paste. Put rolls in the freezer for about 2 hours until firm. 3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice each pastry log into discs about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange on prepared baking sheets leaving a little space between each. Bake on the middle oven shelf for about 12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Serve warm from the oven. Nutrition information (per pastry): 72 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 1mg cholesterol, 116mg sodium, 5g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 1g protein — Adapted from “Afternoon Tea at Home” (Ryland Peters & Small) by Will Torrent

Nans’ Welsh cakes (Makes about 2 dozen) 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 6 tablespoons raw cane sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 7 tablespoons butter, plus extra for frying 1 large egg 2/3 cups dried Zante currants Whole milk, to slacken (optional) 3-inch round cookie cutter 1. Rub together flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice and butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add egg and currants and mix well. Loosen with milk if necessary. 2. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a 3/8-inch thickness. Stamp out rounds using the cookie cutter and set aside. 3. Put a little butter into a frying pan or griddle set over a low heat. Add the Welsh cakes in batches and gently fry, being careful not to burn them. Turn over and continue to cook. 4. Leave to cool before sprinkling with a little extra sugar. Note: Double or triple the quantities to

make enough Welsh cakes to freeze. Fry the batter and once cooled, wrap the cakes in batches in baking parchment and foil to store in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you want to serve, simply warm from frozen for 5 to 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 200 degrees. Sprinkle with sugar before serving. Nutrition information (per cake): 94 calories, 4g fat (3g saturated), 19mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium, 13g carbs, 0g fiber, 6g sugars, 1g protein — From “Afternoon Tea at Home” (Ryland Peters & Small) by Will Torrent

May-June 2016


Greek food & festivals May marks the start of New Jersey’s Greek festival season, with every region of the state represented. The festivals are typically set on the grounds of a Greek Orthodox church. So far, dates are scheduled through September, offering an opportunity experience the culture and sample meaty Greek dishes such as pastitsio or moussaka and savory pastries such as spanakopites or tiropites. Local events start May 12 in Piscataway, where St. George Greek Orthodox Church is celebrating 100 years. This year’s festival will run four days through May 15 on the church grounds at 1101 River Road. Admission is free for the festival’s first day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 13, when the festival closes at 11:30 p.m. Admission is $2 per person at other times, with children under age 12 admitted free. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. In addition to Greek foods, the festival will feature live music and Greek folk dance

groups, with a pastry shop, crafts and more in the church community center. Those who would rather avoid the crowds can pick up their order to take home. Selected items can be ordered in advance by email to, starting May 13. Free parking and shuttle service. In Westfield, Greek Fest 2016 is set for June 2 through June 5 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 250 Gallows Hill Road. Admission is $2 per person. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For a free admission coupon and more information, email NJGreekFest@ Free parking on and off site. Near summer’s end, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church at 721 Rahway Ave. in Union plans its annual Greek Festival for Sept. 8 through 11. Call (908) 964-7957. For a nationwide list of Greek festivals, visit, which has dates, hours, admission prices and links to individual church or festival websites.

New England’s #1 frozen yogurt now in Scotch Plains


Do yourself a flavor! Here’s how it works: Grab a cup and fill it with every frozen yogurt or sorbet flavor you like. Next, the toppings. Go healthy with fruits and nuts, or go crazy with crushed candy bars, brownies, cookies, sprinkles or any of the 50 toppings offered at FroyoWorld in Scotch Plains. This shop is a destination for self-serve froyo sold by weight, including amazingly good fat-free and no-sugar-added flavors at 70 to 120 calories per 1/2 cup. The award-winning Original Tart flavor is highly recommended at 90 calories. FroyoWorld makes Belgian waffles to order with pearl sugars that melt into the batter as it cooks for a delicious result that can be topped with whipped cream, flavored syrup or froyo. Among other popu-

lar treats are Wicked Good Cupcakes sold in jars (as seen on ABC’s “Shark Tank”). The business, owned by the Caamic family, is also community oriented. Recently, they displayed paintings by young Goddard School artists. Digital photos of froyo-loving locals flash on a large screen. There’s fun fund-raising in penny races that ask guests to drop coins into containers for area middle schools. Matched donations go to the winning schools, and the contests also have benefitted Scotch Plains Rescue Squad, the town library and Autism New Jersey. On Wednesdays, FroyoWorld offers senior citizens 15 percent off any size froyo. Nutrition facts are posted. See the rotating flavors and more at

Courtesy St. George Greek Orthodox Church

Skewers of lamb or chicken souvlaki, seared on giant grills, is a staple at Greek festivals.

Sweets on a spoon

In Greece, it’s customary to welcome a guest with a refreshing glass of cold water and something sweet on a spoon. In the office of her Roselle warehouse, Vivianna Karamanis has personalized the tradition. She offers an almond-stuffed Kalamata olive in a simmered syrup of Greek honey, wine and orange. It’s among Greek products imported by her company, Hellenic Farms. The “spoon sweet” maker, Navarino Icons, taps recipes of grandmothers in Costa Navarino, the Grecian resort area where the brand is based. In this gourmet take, a subtle olive brine plays against the syrup for a flavor that enhances cheeses or yogurt. At $18.50 a jar, it’s our favorite of many products at


405-A Park Ave., Scotch Plains | 908-680-6143 Sun: 12-9 | Mon-Thurs: 1-9 | Fri-Sat: 12-10 Special offers and updates at


May-June 2016

Counting calories with ‘Potsy’ It’s been many years since Anson Williams played the character Potsy on the TV show “Happy Days,” but he’s managed to keep his boyish figure by watching his caloric intake. “I spent my early adulthood in front of the unforgiving camera, but now that I’m on the other side of the lens, it’s easier for me to overindulge,” writes Williams, 66. He’s now a director who wants to maintain a healthy weight, and “The Perfect Portion Cookbook” is the result of two years of research prompted by his efforts to do so. In the cookbook’s introduction, Williams writes that he was finding it hard to know how many calories he was consuming, even as he controlled his portions. The increasing number of snacks in 100-calorie packages gave him an idea: “What about creating a simple calorie-counting system for all recipes based on 100; recipes that divide into even 100-calorie portions?” The idea was that anyone could then easily determine a portion of 100, 200 or 300 or more calories by simply counting out the number of servings. Williams contacted bestselling cookbook author and QVC pressure-cooking personality Bob Warden, who agreed to work with him to produce a cookbook. A nutritionist, Mona Dolgov, also came on board. The result is a large-scale soft-cover cookbook of 150 comfort food

Courtesy Rutgers NJAES

Rutgers breeds tomatoes and other produce for better flavor.

‘Rutgers 250’

Onetime “Happy Days” star Anson Williams, center, and co-authors Bob Warden and Mona Dolgov with 100-calorie slices of pizza from “The Perfect Portion Cookbook.”

recipes that include his taste-tested favorites. Williams writes that the cookbook’s goal was to recreate favorite recipes with betterfor-you ingredients that would avoid the need to limit oneself to paltry portions or to sacrifice satisfying flavors. Still, it’s illuminating to see that the turkey lasagna made in an oblong pan with part-skim cheeses and egg whites needs to be cut into 36 pieces to meet the 100-calorie measure. Within the cookbook’s 345 pages, there are recipes for everyday favorites and for entertaining. Nearly every recipe is appetizingly illustrated with a full-page, full-color

photograph. Other useful visuals include a photograph where possible toppings for the 100-calorie slider are laid out and labeled with calories per portion. Two lettuce leaves or two tomato slices: 5 calories or less. Two tablespoons of blue cheese: 70 calories. Two slices of pork bacon: 90 calories. Two slices of turkey bacon: 50 calories. There’s a similar photo for oatmeal toppings. And there’s also encouragement to fill up on veggies with the knowledge that 25 mushrooms, 31 asparagus spears, 100 radishes or 2 cups of broccoli all come to about 100 calories. Sample recipes at

Boneless barbecue pork ribs (4 servings) 2 pounds boneless loin country-style ribs 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons paprika 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Blue ribbon barbecue sauce (recipe follows) 1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to toss ribs in the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, rubbing the oil and spices into the meat. 2. Transfer the rubbed ribs to a sheet pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 2 hours. 3. Drain the pan of all liquid, and coat ribs

with barbecue sauce. Return to oven, and bake, uncovered, for 1 additional hour before serving. Blue-ribbon barbecue sauce: Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion in a sauce pot over medium-high heat, and cook until golden brown and softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in an 8-ounce can tomato sauce, 2-1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon each of molasses and cider vinegar; 2 teaspoons each Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon each of liquid smoke, onion powder and pepper. Cover, and let simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add salt to taste. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 10 days. Nutrition information (per rib): 149 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 42g

cholesterol, 212mg sodium, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 3g sugars, 17g protein — From “The Perfect Portion Cookbook” (Partners in Publishing, $29.95)

There has been a lot of buzz among gardeners about the ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato and ‘Rutgers Scarlet’ strawberry, but where do you find them? At least two opportunities to do so are coming up. (There’s also help online at For both events, shoppers are advised to bring a handcart or small wagon to help transport their selections. Rutgers Gardens Spring Flower Fair: From May 6 through May 8, the ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato will be among hundreds of plant varieties offered at what has become New Jersey’s biggest non-profit plant sale. The selection will include more than 250 varieties of trees and shrubs; more than 220 perennial varieties, including tropicals and succulents; 190 annuals; 160 vegetables; 90 herbs and culinary exotics; and 100 tomato varieties (including ‘Moreton,’ ‘KC 146,’ and ‘Ramapo.’ Rutgers strawberry plants also will be available. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 8. Rutgers Gardens is at 112 Ryders Lane in New Brunswick. For more information, call (732) 932-8451 or visit Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale: Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County will hold their annual sale on May 15 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Demonstration Garden at Trailside Nature and Science Center (Watchung Reservation), 452 New Providence Road, Mountainside. Deer resistant, drought tolerant and fragrant plants that thrive in Union County will be sold. Many herbs and easy-to-grow plants for beginning gardeners will be available. ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato transplants, ‘Ramapo’ and ‘Mortgage Lifter’ will be among tomato varieties offered. Admission, tours, activities and garden answers are free. All sales are cash only and fund master gardener community service projects. More information at

May-June 2016


Six things to know about growing tomatoes

Plant for strength: Two-thirds of the plant should be below the soil line so roots sprout from the buried stem. Dig a hole deep enough, create a raised planting bed or select an appropriately sized container to make this possible. You can pinch off the plant’s lower leaves.

Enjoy a continuous crop: Tomatoes are designated as early, mid-season or late, referring to when fruit will be ready to pick. Planting at least one of each type is a good strategy to enjoy home-grown all summer. The Ramapo tomatoes shown are a late variety. Photo by Peter Nitzsche

Try new breeds: Hybrid tomatoes are bred by crossing different varieties. A hybridizer’s goal may be to create plants with disease resistance, compact size or other traits. Try the Tomato Chooser at for selection help.

Compact choices: For containers, chose a “determinate” variety that grows to a specific size bush and produces its fruit all at once. “Indeterminate” tomatoes grow and produce fruit as long as weather conditions are favorable. Courtesy Lowe’s

Offer support: A goal when staking tomatoes is to increase fruit size and yield by limiting plants to one or two vigorous stems. Do this by pruning out “suckers,” shoots that grow between a leaf stem and the main stem. Tools at

Vintage varieties: Heirloom tomatoes are at least 50 years old and have not been hybridized. (One example is Mortgage Lifter, named because the man who developed it paid off his mortgage by selling the seeds.) Courtesy


May-June 2016

Whitesbog: Birthplace of the blues 100 years ago, a cranberry farmer’s daughter gave blueberries to the world Hammonton, New Jersey, calls itself the blueberry capital of the world, but from a historical perspective, that title would more appropriately belong to Browns Mills, the location of Historic Whitesbog Village. While Hammonton might still hold its place among the largest blueberry producing regions, it was a collaboration at Whitesbog that made it possible for blueberries to be grown on farms in Hammonton and around the world. In the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey, where Whitesbog is located, wild blueberries thrived in the sandy, acidic peat soil. Locals could find and enjoy the berries, but for anyone outside the areas where they grew wild, blueberries in those days were a rare fruit. Elizabeth C. White, the daughter of a successful Whitesbog cranberry farmer, thought it might be possible to develop a blueberry that could be grown by farmers with predictable results. She and her father had been looking for another crop to grow at Whitesbog. In 1911, she came across the blueberry research of a USDA botanist, Frederick Coville. She invited Coville to Whitesbog with an offer of land and growing help to support his research. Coville visited Whitesbog and agreed to a partnership. Elizabeth White added her own efforts to Coville’s work. Early on, she involved the community in the search for breeding specimens. Those who knew the piney woods that are now Brendan T. Byrne State Forest knew where to find wild blueberries. White

At Home New Jersey photo

Suningive, Elizabeth C. White’s home at Whitesbog Villlage, is opened for tours.

paid those who could identify plants that produced large, flavorful berries, and named the selected plants after the finder. The plants were cut into pieces and placed in peat moss to develop as tubers. Once they took root, thousands of plants were grown both by Coville in Washington and at Whitesbog. White kept detailed observation journals, noting the level of berry production, size, flavor and more about hundreds of plants growing in her testing fields. In 1916, they successfully cultivated a highbush blueberry, which was named Pioneer. In the years that followed, many other blueberry varieties would be developed with White’s early blueberries as a parent in breeding. Elizabeth White was the only member of her family to live at Whitesbog, building her house, Suningive, there in 1923. White was fascinated by Pine Barrens plants and those that could thrive in the area’s soils. She planted an extensive garden of native and compatible plants. The New Jersey Historic Preservation Office lists her garden among the state’s most important landscapes, an example of “habitat gardening.” Volunteers are now working to restore the garden. In the years before her 1954 death, White cultivated hollies and other native plants, selling them through her own company, Holly Haven. Her home office, Suningive, is set off sand roads among active and inactive cranberry bogs. Maintained by Whitesbog Preservation Trust, it is opened regularly for tours. Learn more at

Courtesy of Whitesbog Preservation Trust

Elizabeth C. White with one of the hundreds of blueberry bushes she grew at Whitesbog.

Kimberly L. Jackson

Whitesbog Village has active and inactive cranberry bogs, trails and historic buildings.

At Home New Jersey photo

A portrait of Elizabeth C. White above the fireplace in the living room of Suningive, which also served as her office and laboratory.

Courtesy Whitesbog Preservation Trust

The sandy road to Suningive, where White planted many native plants and others that thrived in the acidic Pine Barrens soils.

May-June 2016


Blueberry fest!

Courtesy of BrazelBerries

Blueberry bushes can make lovely ornamental plants, which is a good thing in the three years it will take before they can produce fruit.

How to grow your own blueberries If you want to grow blueberries successfully, your goal should be to recreate the soil conditions of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. “Blueberries evolved in the Pine Barrens, says Gary C. Pavlis, an agent with Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. The region, dubbed “barrens” because of its typically inhospitable growing conditions, has soil that’s suited to very specific acidloving plants, including blueberries, cranberries, rhododendrons and azaleas. That’s why soil mixes for rhododendrons and azaleas are often suggested for blueberries in containers. The Pine Barrens support an amazing ecosystem. Even bodies of water there are acidic and inhabited only by fish and aquatic life that can tolerate the low pH. What makes Pine Barrens soil ideal for blueberries is also in its structure: a moist, sandy base that provides excellent drainage, covered by peat soil, rich with decomposing oak leaves that provide nutrients. In the slow-draining, clay soils of Union County, growing blueberries requires adjustments, Pavis says. A raised bed or container

Kim Elerman

In early years, blueberry flowers are pulled off to encourage a more vigorous plant.

with a sand and soil mix improves drainage. But soil acidity is another, more important factor, he says. “You have to take the pH down.” Doing so takes several months, so he suggests getting a soil test now. (The Union County office of Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Westfield has test kits and can give recommendations on amendments needed to increase success growing blueberries.)

Late fall is the ideal time to plant blueberry bushes, but spring is also acceptable, Pavis says. Before deciding on a type to grow, he suggests visiting pick-your-own farms to sample all the available varieties. Many of which also sell blueberry plants. Locally, Dreyer Farms in Cranford and Williams Nursery in Westfield sell blueberry plants. Pavis tastes a lot of blueberries in his work, and recommends a variety named Elizabeth to honor blueberry pioneer Elizabeth C. White after her death. “When I taste ‘Elizabeth,’ my eyes roll back in my head.” Pavis also evaluates New Jersey wines and grapes, and notes that there are also awardwinning, state-made blueberry wines. There are also a growing number of patented blueberry varieties, Pavis said. Among them are Brazelberries (shown above). “Some varieties change their blue/green foliage to a striking orange, yellow, purple, or red color in the fall. Flower colors range from white to pink in a profuse springtime display,” he writes in a Rutgers fact sheet. Learn more at

To celebrate the successful cultivation of the highbush blueberry 100 years ago at Whitesbog, the 33rd annual Whitesbog Blueberry Festival will be held over two days on June 25 and 26 at Historic Whitesbog Village, 120 Whitesbog Road in Browns Mills. This will be an old-fashioned country fair with blueberry baked goods, ice cream and other foods. Visitors can pick blueberries and tour historic structures, including Elizabeth C. White’s home where her garden of plants native to the Pine Barrens is being restored. The festival also will offer wagon tours, gallery exhibits, kids crafts, a music stage and more. A per-car parking charge covers admission to the festival.

Mind over meals

What does it mean to eat mindfully? On May 16 and 17, Paula Rovinsky, a holistic nurse and certified diabetes educator, will offer strategies to help raise awareness of how we eat. Her two-day workshop at RWJ Rahway Fitness and Wellness Center in Scotch Plains includes a dinner that will allow participants to put her techniques into practice. Eating mindfully involves slowing down and using the senses to appreciate a meal. How foods look, how they feel in the hand and mouth, and how they smell and taste are all involved in this more focused way of eating. The program fee is $10 per person. Registration is required by calling (732) 499-6193. RWJ Rahway Fitness & Wellness Center is at 2120 Lamberts Mill Road, Scotch Plains. The center offers free community health- and nutrition-related presentations, including cooking demonstrations. See “News & Events” at for the schedule.

ides, Pony Rides Visit our Website for Events, and Hours 524 Springfield Ave•Westfield•908-232-4076 Huge selection our Own Pumpkins We’ve got everything of miniatures & Peturbed Bird Slingshot for fair y for your fairytale garden ept. 27th-Oct. 26h gardens and

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May-June 2016

The dirt on gardening success: Feed your soil By Elizabeth Murphy

Gardening is the art of transformation. With some seeds, water, sunlight and a bit of sweat, I change my backyard into my own piece of paradise. It’s a magic recipe. Take soil, add seeds, and grow a garden. We naturally expect this to happen; but why, really, does it work? Like us, plants need a balanced diet of nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, to name a few. When the garden is well fed, there is nothing more satisfying than hours spent planting, weeding, harvesting or simply lounging among vibrant plants. On the other hand, when our gardens are starving, straggling and stunted, despite our long labors of love, then gardening is no longer fun. The difference between gardening as an act of transformation and gardening as an exercise in frustration comes down to fertility — that is, how well we feed our plants. As gardeners, we have two main choices for fertility. We can choose fact-acting fertilizers that give plants a concentrated nutrient burst when they need it and where they need it. This is the nutritional equivalent of a candy bar. Like a candy bar, concentrated fertilizers give a boom then a bust of nutrition. Plants can grow and thrive, but this diet does little to build long-term garden health or soil fertility. Our other option is to feed the soil instead of the plants. In the soil below our garden is an equally vibrant jungle of life, a beating, breathing, throbbing world of microbes, fungi, worms and insects of all shapes and sizes. Just like us, and just like the plants in our garden, the living soil needs food. For the living soil, food means organic materials – that is, anything that is or once was living. This includes yard trimmings,

Elizabeth Murphy

Vegetables past their prime for sauces can provide essential nutrients to the microorganisms that thrive in healthy garden soil. Don’t throw them out; they’re valuable as compost.

garden residues, fallen leaves, kitchen scraps, compost, organic fertilizers, grass clippings and manure. If it was once alive, then it can be used to feed the soil. Organic food builds long-lasting soil fertility, a storehouse of garden nutrients. As microbes, fungi and other critters go about the daily tasks of life, they digest and transform this soil food, releasing the nutrients that garden plants need. By building this natural soil fertility, our gardens receive a steady, balanced diet from the living soil. As an

added benefit, a well-fed healthy soil builds resistance to pests and diseases, conserves water and suppresses weeds. As the living garden system begins to take care of itself, garden failures are minimized, while garden enjoyment is maximized. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight; crucial to building natural soil fertility is correcting any pre-existing nutritional deficiencies. Neither microbes nor plants will grow if they are missing an essential nutrient. To do this, I suggest getting a soil nutrient test

from a certified soil testing lab and using corrective fertilizers and lime in the first few seasons of soil building. Right from the start of soil building, I add organic soil food in whatever form and fashion I can. This has the added benefit of recycling so-called “waste” materials in my community, such as yard debris, garden residues, leaves, or grass clippings. I use them in compost or mulch, or I bury them directly into the soil. When I have kitchen scraps or manures, I’ll layer them in sheet mulches on an inactive garden bed. My favorite way to add organic materials is with living plants themselves. I use cover crops, like buckwheat or fava beans, in between gaps in planting. Before planting my next round of veggies, I’ll chop these into the bed for a soil feast. While building fertility, I also want to make sure that nitrogen — the most in-demand of all garden nutrients — is plentiful. To ensure that I have enough nitrogen every season, I do the following: add manures; use nitrogen-rich organic fertilizers like blood meal or seed meals; or grow nitrogen-fixing legumes, such as clovers and beans. The final step in building soil fertility is simple observation. With lemonade in hand, I sit out in my backyard, observing the art of transformation. A green, growing garden is the best measure of soil fertility success. In the end, feeding the soil to build natural and long-lasting fertility simplifies the task of choosing and using fertilizers in the backyard garden. As the living soil takes care of garden plants, our garden labor becomes much easier and our job of enjoying a garden paradise much more demanding. Elizabeth Murphy is a soil scientist and author of “Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach” (Cool Springs Press, 2015). Learn more from her blog,

Warm weather brings more deer to dine in your yard


Has your garden become a feeding station for hungry deer?

With 2015 being reported as the warmest year on record since temperature records began being kept in 1880, one side effect could be deer browsing backyards in greater numbers. Deer are moving closer and closer to homes, where they know they can find food. Deer possess a memory of negative and positive experiences and adapt their habits accordingly. With greater exposure to hunters and predators in woodlands, they have moved closer to suburban neighborhoods where they’ve learned they’re safe. They’re smart enough to know danger is not threatening in suburbia, and they will remember your bountiful backyard food sources, too. Deer can carry ticks. They damage trees, shrubs and other plants, compromising the investment of time and money in gardens and landscapes. One deer can eat a ton and a half of vegetation per year, so even a few can do significant damage. Negative conditioning works well to deter deer. Scare tactics such as dogs barking, canned noise and scarecrows have limited effects, as deer quickly learn there’s no real harm associated with these “threats.” Fences lower than 8 feet also have limitations because deer can easily jump them.

A product that combines scent and taste deterrents will be most effective in keeping deer away from suburban landscapes. They remember the unpleasant smell and taste of your backyard’s food source and they’ll pass your yard rather than eat something they’ve already been conditioned to learn will be distasteful. Bobbex Deer Repellent is an all-natural foliar spray that combines scent and taste deterrents. The product is made in Connecticut, and testing by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found Bobbex to be more effective than nine other commercial repellents (including coyote urine), scoring 93 percent in protection. The repellent blends six scents — including rotten eggs, garlic, fish, clove oil and vinegar — to mimic predator scents. It tastes terrible to deer, but is actually good for plants because it contains elements high in nitrogen and phosphorus. The product dries clear, won’t damage plants and is harmless to humans and pets. After 24 hours, its odor is undetectable to humans. It can be used beyond the growing season and throughout the year. Learn more about the product at

May-June 2016


Architects design shelters for homeless cats

NAC Architecture’s colorful cylinders were made of sample materials.

D3 Architecture built platforms of painted wooden shipping palettes.

Since 2010, volunteer architects and designers from New York and Los Angeles have created outdoor shelters for feral, homeless, stray and outdoor cats through a design event called Giving Shelter. This year, the non-profit organization Architects for Animals invited top architecture and design firms in Los Angeles to build and donate creative and functional outdoor dwellings for cats. They were displayed at a cocktail reception at a Herman Miller Showroom outside the city. Two dozen cat food bowls decorated by cat-loving celebrities were also on display and later sold through a fund-raising auction.

Standard Architecture Design notes that concrete’s high thermal mass can hold warmth when cats seek it.

Architects for Animals plans the events to benefit organizations that help animals in need. This year’s event was a fundraiser for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit FixNation, which provides free spay and neuter services for homeless cats in the city. “Many communities resort to lethal methods to control populations of stray, abandoned and feral cats,” said Karn Myers, FixNation co-founder and executive director, in a written statement. “Such methods are not only cruel, they simply don’t work. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a much more effective and compassionate alternative. It allows us to humanely manage colonies of

homeless cats and gradually reduce their number through sterilization alone.” Giving Shelter design events began in New York in 2010 when Architects for Animals invited New York architects and designers to build functional winter shelters for large feral cat colonies in Manhattan. Over the years, the breadth of designs has been remarkable. Some have incorporated sleeping pads, built-in feeding bowls, toy mice and even a fishbowl with live fish. The shelters are often constructed of recycled materials to demonstrate that it is possible to build humane shelters inexpensively. Learn more at

Mixed messages Unscramble these words to reveal lines from a 1987 song by a controversial music artist. Solution on

Photos by Grey Crawford

Room to explore in RTKL’s Meow house .

fi odg eno ayd kscrut em dlnib uroy eyatbu di tlsli ese. solve oto ekwa ot eifden stuj htwa uyo amne ot em. — crepin orsger senlno


May-June 2016

Greening clean Ethan Covey/Earth Friendly Products

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, chief executive of Earth Friendly Products, in the Parsippany plant with Ecos, a hypoallergenic laundry detergent that is free of formaldehyde and dyes.

Parsippany plant honors people and the planet What exactly does “green” mean when it comes to cleaning products? It should be a bit easier to know when a product bears the Safer Choice logo, which identifies products that contain only U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved ingredients found to be less toxic for people and the planet. Label-bearing products must meet standards for performance, eco-friendly packaging or production, and levels of volatile organic compounds, airborne substances that can lead to cancer. Ecos, a laundry detergent made at the year-old Parsippany manufacturing facility of Earth Friendly Products, was among the first to be packaged with the Safer Choice label. To reduce its carbon footprint by being closer to its various markets, the California company has five U.S. manufacturing plants, including the Parsippany plant, which makes more than 250 products, including dye-free dish soaps and pet-safe ice melting products.

“We really want to serve as a sustainable business model for everyone,” says Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, Earth Friendly Products chief executive. In a massive warehouse with huge vats for mixing up to 3,000 gallons of product, her message was on the wall: “Building a cleaner, safer future for families bottle by bottle.” The crews that fill, label and box those bottles are dressed in green shirts and brown khakis, recalling plants and soil in symbolic solidarity of purpose. Vlahakis-Hanks says each employee received an extra paycheck in honor of Earth Day, and that paying a minimum wage of $17 per hour is part of what being socially and environmentally responsible means at the company. There are also incentives that encourage employees to move closer to work and engage in eco-friendly practices away from work, she said. Earth Friendly Products aims for zero waste. “People put

something in the recycling bin, and they think it is gone,” Vlahakis-Hanks says. While her products undoubtedly require tons of packaging, the goal is to “reduce, redesign, rethink,” she says. Trigger sprayers are made without metal springs so they can be recycled along with the bottle. Some products are sold as concentrates. By removing water, the packaged product shrinks in size and weight, requiring fewer resources and producing less waste. The company recently introduced biodegradable paper towels and toilet tissue that are free of dyes, fragrance or chlorine bleach. They are made of a 90-percent bamboo and sugarcane blend to save trees. Earth Friendly Products are carried by a variety of retailers ­— Kings and Whole Foods as well as Wal-Mart. Learn more at

Clover instead of grass?

owner of, which sells miniclover seed. Clover comes in a variety of sizes, with rich green leaves characteristic of all types. Miniclover, considered the top turf alternative, is a perennial that grows about 4 inches tall, about half the size of the White Dutch Clover considered a lawn weed. Miniclover is a productive producer; the more you mow it, the smaller the leaves grow, providing a thick, carpet-like appearance that blends well with turf. Its growth begins earlier than grass, it needs less water, and it grows deeper roots to stay green, thriving even in cold and drought conditions. Miniclover tolerates wear, so it’s good in high-traffic areas like golf courses, or backyards where kids and pets play. Learn more at

A home surrounded by gorgeous green turf has long been part of the American dream. For some, that dream is being adjusted with a hardy, fast-growing ground cover: clover. This is not the clover that many seek to eliminate through the maintenance and chemicals required for a perfect turf lawn. Miniclover thrives in sun or shade, and grows in poor soil without need for chemical fertilizers. Clover infuses the soil with nitrogen, so it acts as a natural fertilizer. Miniclover will quickly fill in gaps in lawns, preventing weeds. “Today, clover offers many advantages over traditional turf, which is why golf courses and sports fields in Europe have been using it for years instead of grass,” says Troy Hake,

May-June 2016



Are all those ladies really your true friends? Dear Dr. Barb, I sometimes get together for drinks or lunch or shopping with a group of women I met through my son’s school. I like some of them more than others, but there’s a lot of gossip within the group, including judgmental conversations about those who aren’t around. I suspect they discuss my business when I am not there. I have resorted to not sharing much about my husband or family. It doesn’t really feel like true friendship, but I like having other women to go places with. What can I do? — Sharon Dear Sharon, In today’s world, women face numerous problems — unhappy marriages, job discrimination and parenting issues, to name but a few. Women need to have each other’s backs. It is understandable that you are uncomfortable sharing much about your personal life with this particular group of women. Gossip can be mean and hurtful. Moreover, it is hard to consider individuals as true friends if you are unable to trust them. When undergoing personal problems, friends you can trust and confide in are invaluable. Young girls, more so than boys, learn to socially bond by listening to and confirming one another’s feelings. It is often said that girls grow up to be emotional caretakers. However, in taking care of others, women often forget how to take care of themselves. To move forward, here are some solutions to help you become more independent and

learn to take care of you. First, you need to make some new friends. It is disappointing that you cannot trust the women you hang out with; even worse, you feel trapped because you rely on them for companionship. On your own, consider developing new interests and activities besides shopping and going out for lunch. Perhaps by taking up a sport or pursuing a new hobby, you’ll meet other women who share that interest. Signing up for volunteer work is another good strategy where people work together for a good common cause. Even if you do not necessarily make good friends in any of these situations, at least you can feel good about doing something worthwhile or doing something you enjoy. When trying to make friends in these situations, do not worry that a new group does not form immediately. At first, try connecting with one or two individuals as it is easier to get to know another person one on one. Learning to trust someone in a social relationship is a gradual exercise rather than an all-or-nothing experience. It takes time to know a person well enough before feeling that individual can be trusted and supportive. However, there are social situations where you can join a group as well as get to know people more individually within the group. One online resource for this sort of activity is, which puts together adult groups of all kinds for women, men or both. MeetUp groups offer all kinds of activities. Hiking, attending book clubs and taking day

trips are but some examples. Several of my own clients have had positive experiences with MeetUp activities and groups. Again, in this kind of setting, you only may be able to develop one or two relationships. Making new friendships does not necessarily mean you have to leave your present group altogether. If you are uncomfortable with gossiping, why not consider speaking up about it? You can tell the women how much fun you have going out for lunch and shopping with them, but that the gossiping feels rather unfriendly and mean. Maybe some of the others will agree with you but were too afraid to speak up. Trying to swim against the tide is always challenging, but it can pay off in the long run. Others in the group may respect and admire you for being assertive and for helping the group become kinder and more caring. If the thought of telling the group something they may not want to hear seems too difficult for you, do not give up. I can recommend a few books. One is “Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Living” by Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons. Another, particularly useful for women, is “Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner. Working with a cognitive behavioral psychologist also can teach you how to become more assertive. The psychologist can challenge unwarranted fears, and practice with you through role modeling. Assertiveness training not only improves confidence and self-esteem, it allows an opportunity to form stronger and more satisfy-


ing social relationships. In learning to take care of yourself and others, you will enjoy the new found freedom of independence. Barbara L. Rosenberg, Ph.D, is a licensed psychologist and chair of educational and social programs for the Essex-Union County Association of Psychologists. Her Summit practice serves individuals of all ages, as well as couples and families. Contact her through

Seven ways you can find more time in your day By Gretchen Hydo

Gretchen Hydo is a California-based life coach. has more information about her programs.

Today more than ever, I am coaching around the topics of stress and time management. My clients often tell me that they would like to be able to live out their dreams, but are too busy with the business of dayto-day living to add anything else to their already-full plates. As a business owner, wife and mother of two, I completely understand. We all wear many hats and struggle with being pulled in too many directions. So how do we follow our dreams in a world that doesn’t always feel supportive? Following our passions and desires is crucial to living a satisfying life. Before we can do that, we have to clear an overcrowded mind to live and love the life we are yearning for. Here are seven ways to do it: Write down your vision. What dream do you have and how does it motivate you? What would it mean for you and those in your life if you got to live your dream? Make sure your vision is big enough for you to be

excited about. That will motivate you to take the steps you required to accomplish it. Create a 10-minute to-do list. Each week, make a list of tasks you can do in 10 minutes. When you find that you have a few minutes, pick one or two of those tasks to accomplish. By the end of the week, you will be surprised at how much you have accomplished. Create a won’t list. Make a list of all of the things you just aren’t going to do, and let yourself off of the hook about them. That yoga class you’ve meant to take for the last three years ... let it go. When we let go of the things that don’t motivate us, we make room for the things we enjoy. Don’t multi-task. The truth is, you will get more done if you focus on one task at a time. Avoid interruptions. Set your alarm for 30 minutes a day when you cannot be disturbed. I encourage you to turn off your phone and your email, and get to work. It is amazing how much time we waste when we are distracted by the dinging and binging of electronics.

Stop that thought. When negative thoughts come up that vie for your time and attention, picture a stop sign and literally tell yourself to stop. Negative thinking is a habit and a reoccurring pattern that we have formed. Although it takes practice, we can choose our thoughts and how long we entertain them. Meditate. Some things can’t be answered by Google. Our hearts and minds need time to unplug and get quiet. Set a timer for three minutes a day when you focus on your breath and the sounds around you. Don’t worry about how loud your brain is when you start. Soon enough, you will crave this time and be able to increase it. Meditating helps reduce stress, eliminates mind chatter, and clears brain fog. Some people like to focus on one word or intention that they repeat as they breathe to center themselves. Whatever your practice, don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Just start and see what happens. You will be happy with the results.


May-June 2016

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A salute to fruit Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board

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