EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Apple gleaning was the order of the day for members of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization this Saturday here in East Brunswick. About 30 people gathered apples that will be sent to MCFOODS and soup kitchens like Elijah's Promise in New Brunswick. There were four rows of extra produce because of the heat and rain this summer. Some Freeholders huffed. Some Legislators puffed, but the real hero of the day was, as always, Jim Giamarese who organizes gleanings on his multi-functioning farm as part of the many services he and his staff offer Middlesex County and those who may be going hungry in New Jersey.
James Giamarese and his wife, Sue, farm about 100 acres in East Brunswick. They operate a seasonal farm market, offering a full line of produce, with 80 percent of the products grown on their farm.
Giamarese is a former president of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, Middlesex County Board of Agriculture, Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, and New Jersey Farmer Direct Marketing Association. He also is involved with the Middlesex County Fair and the New Jersey Agricultural Museum. In 1989, the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture named Jim as Outstanding Young Farmer. That year, he was also recognized as a National Outstanding Young Farmer, one of only five New Jersey farmers to gain that honor in 54 years. (New Jersey Department of Agriculture)
In the Book of Ruth in The Bible, Ruth meets her future husband Boaz when she asked permission to glean from his fields, which means follow the grain cutters, gathering the seed kernels that had fallen on the ground. For the very poor at this time, gleaning was often means of getting food. For centuries since then, gleaning was a practice thought to be the right of the poor. In keeping with a tradition of charity and not wasting food, gleaning has helped New Jerseyans eat better and has helped eliminate wastefulness from the food chain.
So the politicos came to glean, and glean they did. Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak said, "Gleaning right here in East Brunswick was a great way for community leaders to help feed the hungry. This is a an opportunity to use our local resources to help those in Middlesex County who can't often access fresh produce." Four pallets of apples were ready for the New Jersey Agricultural Society truck.
Among those working at Saturday's gleaning were New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin; Assemblywomen Nancy J. Pinkin and Ivana Lopez; and Assemblymen Robert Karabinchak and Roy Freiman. Middlesex County was represented by Freeholders Charles Tomarro, Shanti Narra, and Charles Kenny. Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott was there gleaning right alongside them.
East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen and Town Council Candidate Sharon Sullivan were there to glean for the Bears.