Author Archives: mmason

Each growing season, Rutgers produces a newsletter entitled “What’s in Season from the Garden State”. This month the newsletter discusses the contributions of two distributors who have helped make Jersey Fresh produce available across the state to restaurants, schools, and local farmers markets. What makes these distributors so important that Rutgers has dedicated their seasonal newsletter to them? One of the main reasons why these distributors are valued is because they are bridging the gap between farmers and local businesses so that local produce is available to us! Check out the following link to view the whole newsletter and read more about the good our local distributors are doing for NJ.  Rutgers What’s in Season

Also found in the newsletter is a list of produce that is available through the winter from these distributors. I’ve included some links for recipes that can be made using a variety of the items found on the list. You can also find more recipes at the Jersey Fresh website.

Winter-Fresh Recipes

Red Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans  This is a great winter dish, one that really sticks to your bones and gives you that warm feeling inside! Quinoa is a grain that is jam-packed with protein.  The butternut squash and cranberries add great flavor and color to this delicious dish.

Fried Brussels Sprouts In many the word fried usually conveys one of two messages; unhealthy or yummy! Well believe it or not this dish is both healthy and delicious. The Brussels sprouts are pan-fried in olive oil and lightly seasoned with garlic and lemon.  These veggies are a simple and satisfying addition to any meal!

Winter Vegetable Soup This soup is full of winter-harvested veggies.  It would be perfect served on a cold snowy day.

Feel free to share your winter-Fresh recipes with us!


GCU’s got the Power!

      When you pull into the A&S parking lot it is not difficult to notice the solar panels which line the fields. This is a large sustainable initiative, which provides 15% of the power needed for the A&S, library and Wellness Center, has gained recognition from the EPA. The solar panels provide “green” energy to the campus. This means that the energy created by the solar panels is renewable and reduces the amount of CO2 emissions which are generally created by conventional power systems (

A little less noticeable, but definitely not any less important, is the change in thermostat settings on campus. The heating and air conditioning thermostats have been set to 78F and 68F, respectively, in attempt to reduce energy use on campus. Have you ever walked into a classroom in the winter time where it feels like the heat has been on full blast all day? Instead of leaving the heat (or air) running unnecessarily, the thermostats have been set in order to allow the buildings to maintain a comfortable temperature but also turn off when that temperature is achieved. This simple, yet efficient task can be performed at home, in an office, or any place that has a thermostat.

In my house during the winter, the thermostat is set so that it’s warm in the morning and evening when everyone is home, and cooler during the day and overnight while no one is home or we’re sleeping. If you can’t program your thermostat (i.e. if you live in a dorm room that has a thermostat with an on/off switch), turn it off just like you’d turn the light off when you leave the house! What do you do to conserve energy in your day-to-day life?

Eat Well Through the Holidays

Eating locally grown foods is not only a sustainable practice, but has many nutritional benefits as well. Since local produce doesn’t have a long way to travel, when you purchase it you are receiving a truly fresh product. Less travel time also means fewer emissions from delivery trucks, less energy used to store products, and overall decreased pollution. These are just a few of the many benefits of eating locally grown food.

You may be saying to yourself, “It’s almost December, what can I buy now that is locally grown?” You may be surprised to learn that in NJ, beets, cabbage, and lettuce are just a few types of produce grown through November. There are also farms in NJ, such as Good Tree Farm in New Egypt, that have green houses on premise so that they can continue to produce goods through the winter months.

To find up-to-date availability of local produce check out the NJ Department of Agriculture Jersey Fresh page: (This is the latest availability report as of November 14 You can also check with your local supermarket or farmers market to find out if they sell Jersey Fresh produce.


When planning your holiday meals this year don’t forget to serve your family and guests something fresh, Jersey Fresh that is. Check back for recipes that incorporate seasonal produce!

The Mercy Garden

Mercy Garden

Behind St. Catherine’s you will find GCU’s newest addition, the Mercy Garden. Faculty, staff, students and community members have been working together in the past couple of months to get the garden up and running! And just because the cold weather is upon us does not mean we can’t grow yummy veggies in our garden! Currently cabbage, swiss chard, some leafy greens and herbs have been planted and will grow through the end of the fall semester. Environmentally friendly practices, such as composting, are used in the garden to promote sustainability.  To learn more about GCU’s Mercy Garden, check out the video below.

The Mercy Garden

The next time you take a stroll around GCU, stop by and see what’s growing in our garden 🙂