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Remembering Jim Bouton, Yankees Pitcher and Tell-All Author of “Ball Four”

Photo courtesy of Amazon

[Editor’s note: Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, who was born in Newark and grew up in Rochelle Park and Ridgewood, died this week at the age of 80. Bouton, whose notorious tell-all memoir
Ball Four, published in 1970, made him a baseball outcast, spoke with New Jersey Monthly correspondent Tom Wilk in the spring of 1994 upon the publication of his first novel. Here’s that story, from our June 1994 issue.]

As a pitcher who played with four pro ball clubs, Jim Bouton knew the value of trying something new. When a sore arm robbed him of his fastball, he turned to the knuckleball to extend his career.

Now, 24 years after publication of Ball Four, his best-selling diary of the 1969 baseball season, Bouton is following that same philosophy with the release of his first novel Strike Zone, co-written with Eliot Asinof. “I never thought I could write a novel,” says Bouton, a resident of Teaneck. “But I found it more liberating than straight reporting.”

Asinof wrote the book Eight Men Out, the story of the Chicago White Sox players accused of fixing the 1919 World Series. Gambling also plays a pivotal role in Strike Zone.

The novel’s premise is an intriguing one. The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies are tied for a playoff spot on the last day of the season. With a pitching staff wracked by injuries, the Cubs turn to Sam Ward, a journeyman knuckleballer, to get them into the playoffs. Unbeknownst to Ward, home-plate umpire Ernie Kolacka, in his final game before retiring, has agreed to fix the outcome so the Cubs lose, as a favor to a friend deep in debt.

Through the characters of Ward and Kolacka, respectively, Bouton and Asinof tell the story in alternating chapters, in a narrative propelled by the game’s increasing tension.

“We sat down and mapped out the game, batter by batter, but we wrote our chapters by ourselves,” says Bouton. “We served as each other’s editors.”

While Strike Zone is unlikely to rival Ball Four’s mammoth sales figures (5 million copies to date), Bouton felt a kinship with Sam Ward. “I saw myself as Sam Ward, if it had taken me ten years to make the majors instead of three. It was hard to sell where he left off and I began.”

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Campbell to sell Danish snack manufacturer for $300M

Camden-based Campbell Soup Co. announced Friday it has agreed to offload Denmark-based Kelsen Group to Ferrero affiliate CTH Invest for approximately $300 million.

The Kelsen Group, which had net sales of approximately $157 million over the last 12 months, is a manufacturer of baked snacks sold under brands such as Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk. The company is part of Campbell International, which includes Arnott’s biscuits; Campbell’s simple meals businesses in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan; and manufacturing operations in Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“The sale of Kelsen Group supports our strategy to focus on North America where we have iconic brands and strong market positions, while reducing debt. Throughout the divestiture process, we have considered many options for our valuable international assets. Selling Kelsen separately from the rest of our international business generates the greatest possible value for Campbell. We are committed to the divestiture of the remainder of our international operations and will remain disciplined as we move forward,” Mark Clouse, Campbell CEO and president, said.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advised Campbell in the sale.

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8 Breathtaking NJ Dream Homes For Nature Lovers

Maybe sprawling square footage, a resort-style pool, and luxury amenities aren’t the most important thing to you when looking for a new dream home. Instead, what you want is a place to unwind and connect with nature.

Here are eight cozy homes that are perfect for nature lovers, and anyone who wants to step back from the hustle and bustle of busy New Jersey life.

69 Mountain Ave, West Orange, $1,475,000

Kinda takes your breath away, right? This five-bedroom home was designed by noted architect William Hunt, with a style reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. Enjoy the serenity with the convenience of being 30 miles from New York City. More photos and information.

71 Van Horn Rd, Fredon Township, $359,900

Nestled among the trees on four acres in Fredon Township, this three-bedroom Mid-Century modern home was build to complement the nature that surrounds it. More photos and information.

637 Fox Farm Rd, Bethlehem Township, $628,000

Boasting more than 5,000 square-feet, this contemporary four-bedroom home is nestled on a private wooded five-acre lot. A wall of windows bring the natural light and nature into every corner. More photos and information.

65 Summit Dr, Bernards Twp, $859,999

This home is complete with a large covered back deck, offering a front row seat to sunset, a lush backyard, and gardens. More photos and information.

430 Riegelsville Rd, Milford, $579,000

This five-bedroom home is positioned on a ridge, offering a birds-eye view of nature in Holland Township. It has been built to embrace the breathtaking views: there are two terraces, two decks, and a solarium. More photos and information.

246 Mount Harmony Rd, Bernardsville, $519,000

Enjoy four bedrooms on five acres in Bernardsville in the low 500s price range. This contemporary ranch, newly listed this week, is nestled near the top of a mountain. More photos and information.

56 Golden Chain Rd, Frelinghuysen, $369,000

This home may be minutes from Rt. 80, but it offers peace and serenity. Set on three acres, the property has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 3,700 square-feet of indoor living space. Outdoor features include a back deck, screened-in porch, and patio. More photos and information.

59 Lake Shore Rd W, Hardyston, $398,000

What’s better than seeing the water from every corner of your home? At this lakefront home, you can do just that. This cozy cottage has two bedrooms and is located on Lake Tamarack. More photos and information.

For Sale: $385,000
1 bd/2 full ba

<div>304 Ottawa Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $555,000
3 bd/3 full ba

<div>168 Berkshire Rd</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $459,999
4 bd/1 full ba

<div>485 Burton Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $595,000
0 bd/0 ba

<div>510 Terrace Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $480,000
3 bd/2 full ba

<div>130 Hamilton Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $474,321
3 bd/2 full ba

<div>322 Springfield Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $505,000
4 bd/2 full ba

<div>283 Oldfield Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $399,000
2 bd/1 full ba

<div>491 Hasbrouck Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $530,000
5 bd/2 full ba

<div>318 Springfield Ave Unit 2</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

For Sale: $530,000
5 bd/2 full ba

<div>318 Springfield Ave</div><div>Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604</div>

NJR Chairman, CEO Downes to retire; Westhoven named successor

New Jersey Resources announced Friday its chairman and CEO, Laurence M. Downes, is retiring.

Downes said he will retire on Sept. 30 after spending 34 years with the company and 24 at the helm. NJR also announced Steve Westhoven will be succeeding Downes and will take over as CEO and president on Oct. 1.

The Wall-based energy provider, also the parent company of New Jersey Natural Gas, said Downes will continue to serve as chairman of the board until the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

File photo
Steve Westhoven will become CEO of New Jersey Resources.

Downes joined NJR in 1985 and was named treasurer in 1986, followed by vice president and treasurer in 1988. He was then promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1990 and executive vice president of NJNG in 1994. Downes was the named CEO, president and chairman of NJR’s board of directors in 1996.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the New Jersey Resources family for more than three decades,” Downes said. “I’m grateful to the women and men of our company, past and present, who have made us the organization we are today. Their hard work has earned us 13 J.D. Power Awards — more than any other utility in New Jersey; significantly improved the performance of our delivery system; increased the value of our company more than tenfold and helped over 1,800 community service organizations annually across New Jersey. I know our team will continue to deliver on our commitment to our stakeholders for many years to come.”

Westhoven joined the company in 1990 and was named vice president of NJR Energy Services in 2004 and senior vice president in 2010. He was then promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2017, followed by president and chief operating officer in 2018.

“Larry’s outstanding leadership has driven strong performance at New Jersey Resources for more than three decades. His passion for customers, employees and the communities we serve has delivered consistent results. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely thank Larry for his contributions over the years.” said Donald L. Correll, lead director of NJR’s board. “The board is confident, under Steve’s leadership, we will continue to grow our business, serve our customers and communities, support our employees and deliver performance for our investors.”

Downes also served as chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority board until resigning earlier this year.

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When Dentistry is a Family Affair

Kevin Lehnes with his wife, Stephanie Rossy, and sister-in-law Danielle Rossy, left. Photo by Scott Jones

Danielle & Stephanie Rossy, sisters
Pediatric Dentistry

Kevin Lehnes, husband of Stephanie

OFFICES: Randolph and Newton (Kevin only)

FAMILY FACTS: Danielle and Stephanie co-own Rossy Pediatric Dentistry, but they’re not the only ones with a sibling in the field. Stephanie’s husband, Kevin, has a twin brother, Greg Lehnes, who is a dentist in Voorhees. Kevin and Stephanie met at Stephanie’s orientation for dental school at UMDNJ (now Rutgers), where Kevin was also studying dentistry. His crush was immediate. Stephanie and Kevin live in Randolph with their four children, ages six and under. Danielle and her husband, George Mazpule, a surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center, live in Denville. They have a 2-year-old and another baby on the way.

Danielle and Stephanie, how did you get into dentistry?

Stephanie: It was her idea, but I stole it. Danielle and I shared a room growing up. I’m four years older, but Danielle started running around at age two saying she wanted to be a dentist. As we grew up, I thought, That’s a good idea! But since I’m older, I got to do it first. I always knew I wanted to work with children, and I loved the pediatric dental rotations in school. So when Danielle got into dental school, I was like, “You have to check this out.” She loved it also. That’s how we both wound up in pediatric dentistry.

What is your working relationship like?

Stephanie: We love it. I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. It’s fun—you’re doing what you love with people you love.
Danielle: Our relationship engenders that family vibe in our office. We’ve found that everyone feels like family—the office staff, everybody.
Stephanie: And that’s our big thing with our patients. In this day and age, you get to know your hygienist. The dentist comes in and counts your teeth and says, “Goodbye”! People are really responsive to us spending time with them and treating them like they’re in a family place.

Stephanie and Kevin, do you bring your work home with you?

Kevin: Our dinner conversation is very boring. The funny thing is we have a large number of patients in common, and the patients we see in the practice are people we interact with in the community. They’re people we’ll see at gymnastics or at birthday parties. A lot of times, it boils down to what happened in someone’s mouth that day.
Stephanie: It’s fun to have other people to talk to who understand your quirkiness. Like, if I see a crazy thing at work, and I was to call somebody else and say, “I saw this molar that was wild,” they would be like, “What?” But if I say it to Danielle and Kevin, they’re like, “Really? Show me a picture!” We actually learn a lot from each other that way.

Do you differ in the way you interact with your patients?

Danielle: The big difference is that when Steph sings, kids love it. If I sing, they start to cry.

Photo by Scott Jones

Lauren & John Archible, wife & husband

OFFICES: Phillipsburg and Annandale

FAMILY FACTS: John and Lauren met as dental students at the former UMDNJ (now Rutgers) 16 years ago, then did a general dentistry residency together before taking turns going back to school to learn their specialty, root canals. When they started to practice together in Phillipsburg in 2015—Annandale came a year later—the community had high expectations: Lauren’s father, Bruce Jiorle, was an orthodontist in the same building. He recently retired after more than 30 years of straightening teeth. 

How does working together affect your marriage?

Lauren: We work together only one day a week in Phillipsburg, so we’re not together all the time. For the most part, it’s been really good, because we have a built-in support system, and we feed off each other’s strengths. Like, if we have any questions about any cases we’re working on, we talk about it. Four eyes are better than two. And in terms of running the practice, he sees my strengths and I see his strengths, and we put them together. 

How would you characterize those strengths and weaknesses? 

John: Lauren’s strength is that she really puts people at ease. She talks to them in depth about everything under the sun before she even worries about the tooth. She’s friends with the person by the time she starts working. Me, I’m more direct. I get down to business. Besides doing root canals, I’m pretty good at the management side. 

Do you feel the need to pursue separate hobbies for space?

Lauren: We have an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old, so our social life is geared mostly toward them and whatever activities they have going on. But we have the same interests. We both enjoy going to Long Beach Island in the summer—that’s where John is from—and we have the same friends.
John: Everybody needs balance in their life between the person that they love and their business partner, but I’ve got both in one person. That makes my life really simple. We hang out with each other and make each other laugh.  

Do you talk about work at home? 

Lauren: We’re definitely able to compartmentalize those things. Work doesn’t really carry over. If it does, we put the kibosh on it and move on. But when the extended family is together, teeth can come up. My dad’s an orthodontist, and my younger brother is an endodontist in Washington, D.C.
John: Her dad is a legend in Phillipsburg. Everybody who comes in asks her, “Are you Bruce’s daughter?” And they’ll say to me, “Are you Bruce’s son-in-law?” It’s helped with familiarity. 

Would you recommend working together to other couples? 

Lauren: Yes. One of the great things about it is, we’re able to do stuff with the kids and still have coverage at the office. Like, I can be a chaperone on a field trip while John is with patients. Or if there’s a snow day, they can come to the office. It’s a huge benefit.

Photo by Scott Jones

George Papasikos, father

Jacy Papasikos & Arianna Papasikos, siblings

OFFICES: Montclair (all) and Bedminster (George only)

FAMILY FACTS: Arianna and Jacy grew up in Morristown in a tooth-conscious family. Their mother, Corinne, is a dental hygienist and educator; she works in George’s Bedminster office. Arianna is three years older than Jacy. George has been practicing 35 years, Arianna, 7, and Jacy, 6. Jacy’s wife, Samantha, is the office manager in Montclair.

Jacy and Arianna, how did your father influence your decision to get into dentistry?

Jacy: We grew up going to my father’s office, and I have great memories of spending time in that environment. I always had an interest in the field. And then as far as lifestyle, we had a father who was able to spend time with us, because he set his own hours.
Arianna: And he seemed to enjoy what he did.

George, did you encourage them?

George: I was very happy they made the choices they did. There’s a great mix of work and home and education in what we do.

Jacy and Arianna, you decided to study orthodontia. How does that work in the office?

Arianna: Not going into the same specialty my father chose was more challenging. But it’s been advantageous in terms of caring for patients.
Jacy: Oftentimes, patients have two different issues to treat, and it’s easy for us and for the patient to communicate between the different fields.

Do you all keep up with dental technology? Or maybe one of you introduces the others to the latest gizmos?

George: We have cone-beam scans, but Jacy and Arianna do a little more scanning than I do, because there are more patients in orthodontia who need scanning.
Jacy: But I would say for someone of his age….
George: Careful!
Jacy: I would say that he has kind of set the bar for us. He takes continuing education classes more than anyone I know. You’d think he’d reach a plateau, but he’s actually always bringing new techniques into the office.

Do you make a point of seeing each other outside the office?

Arianna: I have two kids under the age of two, and Jacy is expecting twins. So we have a lot to juggle outside of work. But in that respect, working together benefits us because one of us can keep the office open when the other can’t.
George: We took a family vacation to Greece a few years ago. We closed the office for that.

What is the benefit to patients, if any, of coming to a dental practice run by doctors who are family?

Jacy: We’re constantly communicating with each other. But maybe more important is that we’re so invested in our practice. Each of our names is on the door. It’s our family name.
Arianna: We’re in this long-term.

Are there ever sibling squabbles?

George: There’s only one challenge for me as a parent having siblings in the office, and that is I have to remember at work that they’re not my children, they’re highly trained professionals. At the beginning, when someone mentioned they needed orthodontic work, I would say, ‘Oh, you can see my children for that!’ There was always a big laugh. They’re not my children, but my colleagues.

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CBRE report: N.J.’s industrial market breaks records

New Jersey’s industrial market is continuing to break records in the second quarter of 2019, according to CBRE’s Q2 2019 New Jersey Industrial MarketView report.

The report said the strength of the overall market was best demonstrated by the continued rise in rents, with deals nearing $13 per-square-foot in North Jersey and $10.50 per-square-foot in Central Jersey – well above the average asking rates.

The market also experienced a 20 basis point drop in availability rate when compared to the first quarter, ending the quarter at 6.2% – the lowest rate seen in the state’s industrial market since the first quarter of 2005.

Leasing activity of 6.7 million square feet in the second quarter, although the highest second quarter result since 2001, was slightly lower than the 6.9 million square feet posted in the first quarter of 2019, CBRE found.

The report showed net absorption at 3.6 million square feet, which was 900,000-square-feet below the first quarter. However, this was the 10th consecutive quarter with a positive result.

The quarter ended with seven buildings delivered to the market, bringing 2.1 million square feet of new industrial space to the area, CBRE said. About 45% of the new product was pre-leased upon delivery and more than 6.7 million square feet is currently under construction across 20 buildings.

“As market fundamentals remain incredibly strong, although fluctuating, New Jersey’s industrial market continued to break records with higher asking rents and very low availabilities for quality product,” Mindy Lissner, executive vice president, CBRE, said. “Given New Jersey’s central location, at the epicenter of the Northeast distribution corridor, and strong demand by e-commerce and logistics users, the market is poised to remain robust for the foreseeable future.”

Third-party logistics providers dominated the second quarter leasing, taking up more than 41% of the activity. Food and beverage was the next industry, at 18.5%, and e-commerce coming in at third with 12.5%.

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Genova Burns promotes 2 to counsel

Genova Burns announced Thursday it has promoted two associates to counsel.

The Newark-based law firm said Erica M. Clifford and Maria R. Fruci have been named to the position of counsel.

“Maria Fruci and Erica Clifford are both accomplished law professionals and have repeatedly brought distinction upon themselves and on the Firm,” Angelo J. Genova, chairman and managing partner of Genova Burns, said. “Both of these attorneys are a strong voice for their specific specialty areas, and these promotions are an acknowledgement of their professional knowledge and skills, and their contributions to the Firm’s service and success on behalf of our clients.”

Clifford is a member of the Employment Law & Litigation and Human Resource Counseling & Compliance Practice Groups. She advises clients on employment matters, Genova Burns said. Her primary role is as a litigator, defending clients against claims of discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment and more.

Fruci is a member of the Complex Commercial Litigation, Class Action Defense, Intellectual Property, and Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Groups. She represents clients in complex commercial disputes, trademark protection and litigations, and mediations and arbitrations.

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You’re invited: CBD, Hemp and Cannabis Culture Pop-Up

CBD, Hemp and Cannabis Culture Pop-Up

Join us at Canna Pop-Up for an evening of education and fun. (CannaPopUp.com)

Cannabis Culture Pop-Up Event Thursday, August 8, 2019

What is Canna Pop-Up? 

Where haute meets hippie. It’s unique. It’s social. It’s fun. Be ready to lift your mood and enrich your life at a Canna Pop-Up event where the canna-curious, novice, and seasoned cannabis enthusiasts will sample, shop, and savor a CBD experience to remember. We bring people together to learn about Hemp-derived CBD for health, wellness, fitness, self-care, and caregiving. 

Canna Pop-Up will showcase a curated selection of the best products and services from high-quality vendors and sponsors you will want to meet. CBD essentials, accessories, wellness and beauty products, edibles and more will be available to ease your busy lifestyle and nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Shop and discover top quality CBD brands.

Industry professionals will educate and share information that will elevate your understanding of what’s safe and legally available. Through our events, you will learn more about the amazing benefits of plant-based CBD, how to get a medical marijuana card and most of all be inspired to consider an alternative, natural therapy for people and their pets.

The cannabis industry has made remarkable strides and it’s our desire to help shape the cannabis landscape in the NJ/NY area and create buzz and excitement about medical and adult-use. Until then, we have a very powerful supplement, Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis extract legal in all 50 states and is proven to have calming and stress-relieving effects, among other positive health benefits for a variety of medical and social conditions.WHO should attend: discerning adults who are open to plant-based medicine, wellness-aware, socially savvy, foodies, pet lovers, fun-loving, responsible parents and grandparents.


Get Tickets

Use Code:PATCH88 to save on tickets.

Military Veterans get complimentary admission with a special code. Please contact us directly for more information.

WHERE: 18 Label Studios Montclair, NJ

WHEN & WHAT: Thursday, August 8, 2019

5:30 -7:00pm VIP Experience
7:00pm-10:00pm After Dark

Educational Pop-Talks CBD sampling & shopping. Live music. Entertainment. Infused food & Terpene Mocktails. Food truck. Prizes.
Tickets are not available at the door.

NOTE: No products containing THC (with the exception of Full Spectrum CBD products containing no more than .03% THC) will be sold at this event due to local New Jersey law and regulation. The consumption of cannabis is illegal and not permitted on the premises. Failure to comply will result in removal from the event.

You’re invited: Open House at 121 Walnut St in Nutley NJ

Open House at 121 Walnut St in Nutley NJ

121 Walnut St in Nutley New Jersey (Matthew De Fede)

We are having an Open House this Sunday from 1-4pm at 121 Walnut St in Nutley NJ, This 3 Bedroom 2.5 Bath Home Listed By Realty Executives in Nutley New Jersey Is For Sale! This home features A Huge Open Floor Plan, Wood Floors, Stainless Appliances & So Much More For Any Home Buyer! 

Get A 3D Walk Through Click Here!

This Company Wants to Help Hudson County Compost Leftover Food Scraps

Food scraps in a Community Compost Co. five-gallon bucket. Photo courtesy of Community Compost Co.

Food waste is heating up.

As in, it’s literally contributing to the warming of our planet (food makes up a major chunk of what gets dumped in landfills). It’s also heating up in the sense that there’s a growing hunger to do something about it. While buying less food and fighting food waste in the kitchen are productive starts, some leftover food scraps are inevitable. After all, most modern home cooks and chefs don’t have the time to jam, pickle and repurpose every last peel or crumb.

Enter compost. The process, essentially nature’s recycling, takes food scraps and yard waste and turns them into an earthy, crumbly, darker-than-dirt material that gives soil a boost of extra nutrients. But doing it yourself at home can be close to impossible for urban dwellers or businesses without outdoor space (not to mention intimidating for those who do). For would-be composters in Hoboken and Jersey City, there’s Community Compost Company, a service that recycles subscribers’ cucumber skins, egg shells, apple cores and other food scraps for them.

It works like this: Similar to trash and recycling pick-up services, Community Compost Co. collects bins residents and restaurants place outside weekly or bi-weekly with their truck. They then pile up this discarded food at their one-and-half acre facility in the Hudson Valley, shepherding the natural process of creating compost out of broken down food scraps.

That’s 1.6 million pounds—and counting—of scraps diverted from landfills, says Andrea Rodriguez, Community Compost’s sales and marketing manager. Now a team of six women, all of whom Rodriguez describes as “passionate environmentalists,” the business started as the brainchild of New Jersey native Eileen Banyra. A city planner with three decades of experience (and a New Jersey native), Banyra switched gears in 2013, getting Community Compost off the ground through an incubator program in New Paltz, New York.

Two years later, Banyra wanted to expand beyond the Hudson Valley. She landed on Hoboken and Jersey City—both diverse, green-minded, urban communities with lots of New York transplants familiar with composting—as starting points in her home state. Drumming up interest by creating compost drop-offs at farmers markets, they then launched the pick-up service, handing out their signature five-gallon green buckets to home cooks (there are currently close to 300 household subscribers; it costs $29 or $19 per month for weekly or bi-weekly pick-up respectively.)

You may see Community Compost Co. buckets more around Hoboken and Jersey City. Photo courtesy of Community Compost Co.

Restaurants and chefs, too, have been an important part of Community Compost’s growth. In Hoboken, the company has partnered with the city to offer free compost pick-up for restaurants twice a week (other businesses and schools are eligible as well). Picking up scraps from eateries such as Choc-O-Pain, cooking school Hudson Table, Black Rail Coffee, Grand Vin and Simply Juiced has been a natural match. “Chefs really see the importance of good, healthy ingredients,” Rodriguez says. “With composting, you’re only helping to create more awesome ingredients to cook with later on.”

Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato owner Jen Kavlakov saw working with Community Compost as the logical way to come full circle, as she says her small-batch gelato shop, which opened in Jersey City in 2015, places a premium on sourcing local, seasonal ingredients. Community Compost’s first restaurant client in Jersey City, Kavlakov has recommended them to other area cafes and restaurants who want to recycle kitchen prep scraps and customer leftovers. “It’s about sustainability,” she tells peers. “It’s about doing what is right for the future.” In Jersey City, Subia’s Vegan Cafe, Barcade, and Busy Bee Organics also compost with Community Compost Co.

More communities, restaurants and home cooks are clamoring to get in on compost pick-up or communal drop-off locations, Rodriguez says. But she says there are steep hurdles for Community Compost and other small and mid-size businesses like theirs to take root or expand.

Just obtaining permits to recycle food waste in New Jersey is a costly, inflexible and lengthy process, explains Matthew A. Karmel, founding board member of the NJ Composting Council and an attorney in the Environmental Practice Group at Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland, Perretti LLP in Morristown. By his count there are only four facilities in the state with traditional food waste permits and an additional three with temporary research, development and demonstration permits, which Karmel says is not nearly enough when compared with the growing demand for such services in the state. Legislation passed at the end of June does require establishments generating large quantities of food waste to recycle this waste. The loophole? Landfills and incinerators count as recycling centers. In light of this, environmental and industry groups like Karmel’s are urging Governor Phil Murphy to veto the measure.

Because Community Compost Co. takes the scraps they collect over the border to a Kerhonkson, New York farm, they avoid much of this tricky legal landscape (New Jerseyans’ trash often gets carted to landfills much further away, Rodriguez is quick to point out; Hoboken’s garbage, for example, ends up in West Virginia), but Rodriguez says they are fighting for change in New Jersey so that “there more options, and more and more communities can get on board with composting.”

In the meantime, she says their focus is on their current New Jersey and New York locations and on educating communities and food businesses. They partner with community gardens and farmers markets, sell their compost at a handful of area markets and garden stores (they’re bagged under the name Hudson Soil Co.; subscribers can also get a container of compost back each fall and spring) and have worked with concerts, film and TV productions and festivals in New Jersey to compost catering leftovers, too.

Above all, Rodriguez says she encourages people “to try to not look at food as garbage.” Is composting, at home or via pick-up and drop-off services, extra effort? Yes. Does it take some getting used to? Sure. But, she says, “it’s really a resource that helps our soil to grow healthy food for us to eat again.”

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