Middlesex County Board of Agriculture hosts state legislators to dinner
CRANBURY — The Middlesex County Board of Agriculture hosted its semi-annual dinner with a select group of New Jersey legislators here at the Cranbury Inn, Friday April 5.
Incoming Middlesex County Board of Agriculture President Jim Giamarese of Giamarese Farms on Fresh Ponds Road, East Brunswick, said the turnout for the dinner in April was very healthy this year, compared to other dinners they’ve hosted with area legislators in the last decade.
“The County Board of Ag has always had an annual dinner and it used to be just for the members, but as time went on, we saw the value of talking to the freeholders and keeping things funded, especially for Rutgers and our county Extension agents. It used to be held in January and it used to be a bit more county board business was done, but over the years it’s evolved so that now we highlight issues,” Giamarese said.
“This year we wanted to show the freeholders the future farmers here in Middlesex County, so we got Tim Von Thun, Shaun Lluchy and Peter Etsch, and they all did a very good job and talked about their operations.”
Lluchy spoke about his bustling Tidbury Creek nursery and farm operations, Etsch spoke about grain operations at Etsch Farms, and VonThun spoke about produce and agritourism at Von Thun’s Farm in South Brunswick.
“They all showed over time, how family farmers adapt,” he said.
“Forty years ago Bobby Von Thun and his family were basically potato growers,” he said. “Then potatoes went away and Bobby changed up the operations to be growing other kinds of vegetables.
“All three young farmers did a great job and I think it was very enlightening for the freeholders. We also had three legislators.”
Also in attendance were Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling from Monmouth County, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin from Middlesex County and Senator Linda Greenstein from Middlesex and Mercer Counties.
Middlesex County Freeholders in attendance included Charles Tomaro, Shanti Narra, Charles Kenny and Leslie Koppel.
“I think in Middlesex County we’re at about 4,500 acres of preserved farmland. Charlie Tomaro, the deputy director, got up and said, ‘Hey listen, we’re always here for you, if you need something, come and see us.,” Giamarese said.
Giamarese said he was President of the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture in the early 1990’s and this marks the beginning of his second term.
“I don’t mind doing the job but we always like to see new blood involved on our board,” he said, noting he’ll be president until 2021. Meetings of the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture are held at the Earth Center on Riva Avenue in North Brunswick at 7:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month.
“We were very pleased with the turnout and we hope to build on this in coming years.”
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