Summer Fest

Saturday, July 29, 2017
3:00PM - 7:00PM

FREE Admission

Taste and Tour:  Rutgers Jersey Fresh Varieties

Spend the afternoon in the Gardens tasting and touring some of the different varieties of vegetables, herbs and plants that have been developed at Rutgers University where plant breeding taken place since the early 1900s. Over the years, breeding efforts have resulted in superior varieties of NJ natives, such as blueberries, cranberries, and oysters, as well as important traditional NJ crops such as tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches. In addition, innovative crops for new markets have been developed, including asparagus, hazelnuts, lettuce and hot peppers, plus ornamentals like dogwoods and hollies.


Plant Diagnostics Taking photos in the gardens. Garden Tours Lectures.



Cooking Demonstrations
Join Ian Keith from Harvest at Rutgers Institute Food and Nutrition and Rachel Weston, author of "New Jersey Fresh: Four Seasons from Farm to Table", at a demonstration using Jersey fresh products. Some which are straight from the Student Sustainable Farm at Rutgers Gardens.

Rutgers Scarlet™  Strawberry
River Horse Brewery will be here with their craft beer "Farmers Daughter", a strawberry rhubarb blonde ale which is brewed from the Rutgers strawberry.
Edible Garden
Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce™ Rutgers has a license with Edible Garden Corp., a family-run hydroponic business selling Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce™ under the brand name “Superleaf.” The deep-burgundy colored lettuce was developed by Ilya Raskin, a plant biologist in the Department of Plant Biology & Pathology in New Brunswick.
Basil – ‘Sweet Dani’ and Lemon Basil Basil research is headed by Jim Simon, Department of Plant Biology & Pathology in New Brunswick, and Andy Wyenandt, from the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Bridgeton, New Jersey. They have focused on flavor, aroma, and disease resistance. Sweet basil varieties are currently undergoing trials to select for less sensitivity to cold and resistance to basil downy mildew.
Rutgers 250
‘Rutgers 250’ tomato
The ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato, developed by plant breeder Tom Orton, is a recreation of the coveted ‘Rutgers’ tomato from 1934, bringing back the flavor, color, and attributes that made the original so popular. The project was made possible by a discovery eight years ago that Campbell’s Soup Co. had retained derivatives of the original Rutgers parent seeds. The NJAES and Rutgers plant breeders work to develop tomatoes best-suited for New Jersey, boost local agriculture, and share Rutgers research with the public.




‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire® dogwood tree is the first Cornus kousa variety released in over 45 years of breeding where Rutgers plant breeder, Dr. Tom Molnar, continued the decades of work started by renowned breeder and professor emeritus Dr. Elwin Orton in the 1970s. Scarlet Fire® dogwood is known for its deep, consistently pink bracts that contrast beautifully with its dark green foliage. This tree blooms from late May to early June, making it one of the latest-blooming dogwood tree varieties developed at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Rutgers plant breeders have been at the forefront of holly tree research, crossing different holly varieties for decades. The main purpose of this research is to improve the durability, pest and disease resistance, and overall appearance of this woody ornamental tree. A beautiful display of mature hollies can be found at Rutgers Gardens. These trees became the core of the breeding programs of Dr. Elwin Orton, who crossed and developed many noteworthy varieties, including cultivars such as ‘Red Beauty’, ‘Dan Fenton’, ‘Jersey Princess’, ‘Jersey Delight’, ‘Jersey Knight’, and ‘Portia Orton’. Excellent specimens of several of these varieties can be viewed here.