Old Bridge’s Hauser wins Farmer of the Year honors
EAST BRUNSWICK — Carolyn “Midge” Hauser of Old Bridge was named Farmer of the Year by the Middlesex County Fair Association, and Rose Morgart of East Brunswick was named Volunteer of the Year at opening ceremonies for the fair on Aug. 5 in East Brunswick.
The opening ceremonies for the 81st Annual Middlesex County Fair were attended by a crowd of more than 100 people under a large tent near one of the entrances to the fair grounds on Cranbury Road/Route 535, one of the oldest roads in the Garden State.
Nurseryman Alan Habiak of South Brunswick, president of the Middlesex County Fair Association, welcomed governmental dignitaries to the fair, adding the fair association for Middlesex County is one of just a few remaining fair associations that is completed, owned and governed by area farmers. Officials included Assemblyman Sam Thompson of Old Bridge, Assemblyman Rob Clifton of Matawan, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin of East Brusnwick, and Middlesex County Freeholders Ronald Rios, Leslie Koppel, Blanquita Valenti and Shanti Narra. Also in attendance were county Sherriff Mildred Scott and East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen.
Morgart has devoted 38 years to volunteering in East Brunswick and has been a volunteer for 4-H and the county fair for 27 years. She and her husband James Morgart have been married for 46 years and lived in East Brunswick for 43 years. Aside from her volunteering endeavors with the fair association, Morgart has served on the East Brunswick Human Relations Commission, as transportation coordinator for Interfaith Network of Care Inc. in Milltown and as an East Brunswick Republican poll worker coordinator for 16 years.
Morgart credited her children and grandchildren for keeping her involved in 4-H and county fair activities for the past 27 years. In closing, she cited one of her heroes, Mother Theresa.
“She said, ‘All of us can’t do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. That’s what I truly believe we do as volunteers. If you haven’t tried it, [volunteering,] I suggest that you do. Your reward is so great when you do these things, and you will be happy you did. Thank you so much for this honor, and now I have to go back to my tent.”
Middlesex County Rutgers Ag Extension Agent Bill Hlubik and farmer Jim Giamarese, president of the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture, presented the Farmer of the Year award to Hauser.
Raised in Old Bridge, Hauser was the first woman president of the county’s Board of Agriculture and completed her two-year term at the end of 2018.
Hlubik remarked, “We have some of the greatest farmers anywhere and they’ve all served in a lot of different leadership roles and they’ve given a lot back to our fellow farmers around the state and the region.”
Hauser told the assembled crowd: “I don’t come from a farm background. My parents moved to Old Bridge from the Bronx. When I met my husband John almost 20 years ago, he was kind enough and generous enough — those of you who know John, you know he’s very generous with his time and his talents and his patience — I immediately fell in love with the farm. And as soon as I got involved with the county Board of Agriculture I realized it wasn’t just John who was so generous with everything, it’s every farmer I’ve met. So I’m humbled and honored to be a part of Middlesex County Agriculture.
“I’m a teacher and not a farmer,” Hauser continued, “so I’m grateful to John’s family, my mother-in-law [Marie,] who is amazing and the glue who keeps everybody together, my sister-in-law, [Theresa,] my nieces and nephews, my sister, an elementary school principal, my brother-in-law, [George,] my mother [Mary] who grew up in the South Bronx and now comes over every day and cleans eggs and does anything else that needs to be done.”
“Lastly I have to thank John. He is the greatest gift I’ve ever received and I think I’m the luckiest person on earth,” she concluded.
Delegates from the Fair Association, including vice president John Hauser, presented two $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors going on to college in part to study agriculture. Scholarships were awarded to Angelina Guzzi from Dunellen High School and to Nadia Barchesi of South Amboy.
Brian Schilling, the statewide Director of Cooperative Extension Service at Rutgers in nearby New Brunswick, thanked the farmers and 4-H volunteers involved in orchestrating each year’s fair, which always has some new booths, attractions, rides or displays, aside from the usual pig races, horse and dog competitions and food vendors.
“In Middlesex County, the relationship we have with the Freeholder Board is as strong as any we have in the state,” Schilling said, and added, “to the 4-H’ers in this group, it’s been my experience, as you go through life and go to college and start moving on in life, you’re going to look back and realize how important 4-H has been for you.”
John Hauser, currently serving another term as vice-president of the Middlesex County Fair Association, noted several weeks after the event, which ran from Aug. 5-11, that attendance this year was 78,000 paid patrons.
Were it not for one day with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms in the forecast when the fair was not open, he said attendance would have set an all-time peak at more than 80,000 visitors.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925