Photography by Jeffrey Tryon 

American and Dutch designers highlight a land transformed by tulips and eco-design 

The 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, “Holland: Flowering the World,” celebrates the beauty and ingenuity of Dutch culture, from vivid flower fields to innovative eco-design, on view through Sunday, March 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

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The Princeton Pi Day Pie Eating Contest will take place at McCaffrey’s at the Princeton Shopping Center on Saturday, March 11 at 9 a.m. (Photo Credit: Princeton Tour Company)

Friday, March 10 

11 a.m.: Free, Tiger Tales for children ages 3-5 at Cotsen Children’s Library (repeats weekly).

12:30 p.m.: Free, Gallery Talk at Princeton University Art Museum on “A Singular Vision: Charles Rohlfs’s Chair and Chest.”

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Opening reception, “Mountain Lakes: A Lens on the Seasons” at the Arts Council of Princeton. Sales of photographs will benefit the Friends of Princeton Open Space, which maintains and enhances the Preserve for all to enjoy. more

Fresh lavender is just around the corner. 

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

You don’t have to travel far to inhale the intoxicating scent of Provence, France. Hidden Spring Lavender Farm and Gift Shop is Skillman’s South of France. For over six years, Steve and Marie Voorhees have grown and harvested two-acres of lavender to sell in their barn turned retail store. more

By Anne Levin

Photographs Courtesy of Princeton in Africa 

fter the deadliest flooding ever recorded in Malawi, a group of recent college graduates were on hand to help with emergency response efforts. In rural Togo, another corner of Africa, some of their colleagues wrote grants to help an organization called Mothers2Mothers in their fight against pediatric AIDS. Still others from the group taught English, math, science, and history to secondary school students in Botswana. more

By Anne Levin

If you attended a charity auction to benefit McCarter Theatre, Trinity Counseling Service, Princeton Charter School, or any number of other organizations in town last spring, you probably encountered Sebastian Clarke. He’s the lanky, personable guy who runs the show, rattling off the numbers and “filler words” to coax bidders higher and higher—but always with a light touch. more

Photo Credit: Camp Kieve

Find rollercoasters, horses, and s’more fun at summer camp this year. 

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

In Allan Sherman’s famous song, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter from Camp Granada),” he parodies a boy’s classic reaction to summer camp: initial anxiousness and homesickness followed by excitement and enthusiasm. To Sherman’s credit, summer camp can lead to some poison ivy, but it’s more likely to bring self-discovery, lifelong friendships, and even a first kiss. While away from their “Muddah and Fadduh” at summer camp, kids often undergo a transformative experience. They develop new personalities, challenge themselves mentally and physically, and beat the summer doldrums with a band of likeminded individuals. Luckily, Camp Granada doesn’t exist, but roller coaster camp, ice hockey camp, and film camp certainly do. Here, Princeton Magazine outlines a myriad of places that promise an unforgettable summer—without the alligators, bears, or malaria. more

Howell Living History Farm’s maple sugaring operations are in full swing in late February when freezing nights and thawing days make for heavy sap flows. For more information, visit www.howellfarm.org

Friday, February 24 

11 a.m.: Free, Tiger Tales for children ages 3-5 at Cotsen Children’s Library (repeats weekly).

12:30 p.m.: Gotham Princeton meeting at Medierra Restaurant in Princeton. To register in advance, visit http://bit.ly/2lmKyOJ.

6:30 p.m.: Community Musical Shabbat Dinner with Magevet at The Jewish Center of Princeton.

7 p.m.: Princeton University men’s ice hockey vs. Brown at Hobey Baker Rink. more

The Princeton Indoor Track and Field Invitational at Jadwin Gym will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, February 19. (Photo Credit: Princeton Athletics | www.goprincetontigers.com)

Friday, February 17

11 a.m.: Free, Tiger Tales for children ages 3-5 at Cotsen Children’s Library (repeats weekly).

Noon: “Black History at PTS Matters,” a panel discussion about the role of black history at Princeton Theological Seminary; Mackay Campus Center Auditorium at PTS.

4:30 p.m.: Fund for Irish Studies at Princeton University presents Fintan O’Toole on “If It Wasn’t for the Irish and Jews” at James M. Stewart ’32 Theater. more

Lucian Msamati and Southbank Sinfonia in National Theatre Live’s Amadeus 

Friday, February 3

11 a.m.: Free, Tiger Tales for children ages 3-5 at Cotsen Children’s Library (repeats weekly).

11 a.m.: Homeschool Week at the Princeton University Art Museum. The day’s theme is “Africa” and includes interactive tours followed by related art projects. All ages are welcome. No tickets or reservations required.

6 p.m.: Princeton University women’s ice hockey vs. Yale.

7 p.m.: Princeton University women’s basketball vs. Dartmouth. more

Photo Credit: @canadagoose

This military-inspired print can be worn a number of ways!

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Photo Credit: Justin McLeod

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

December was a boozy month for the town of Hopewell, New Jersey. It marked the grand opening of two new breweries: Troon Brewing on the property of Double Brook Farm (130 Hopewell Rocky Hill Road) and The Referend Bier Blendery located on 1595 Reed Road. You might think this could lead to a “Battle of the Brews,” but in reality, it’s a welcomed coincidence according to James Priest, owner and founder of The Referend.

“Whenever you’re at either place, everyone is talking about the other one too,” he explains. “It’s great; we’re doing two considerably different beer styles, and people are really excited about both. On Untappd [an app where users can check-in to breweries and share their experiences], we’re the two highest rated breweries in New Jersey right now, so we’re trying to keep that going.”

The Referend isn’t just different from Troon, but the vast majority of breweries in the United States. This is due impart to the fact that the startup isn’t actually a brewery but a “bier blendery.” Priest explains that he doesn’t have a brewhouse of his own, which is where the “brewing” technically occurs. Instead, he travels to other breweries where he creates a specifically engineered wort, which is basically unfermented beer; pumps the boiling wort into a mobile coolship, or an open-top vessel in which wort cools; and brings the still non-alcoholic wort back to the blendery to spontaneously ferment in oak barrels.

The intricate art of spontaneous fermentation is the traditional brewing process for the most idiosyncratic type of beer you’ll taste: lambic. A Belgian specialty that dates back to the Roman Empire, lambic-style beers are relatively rare stateside. A handful of independent American breweries produce spontaneously fermented beer, but The Referend is the only brewery in the country that never adds cultured yeast to their beer. In short, Priest is likely “blending” up the most authentic lambic beer in the nation.

Unlike most beers that are fermented in sterile tanks with carefully selected strains of yeast engineered in a laboratory, Priest’s are left in his coolships overnight where wild yeasts and microbes in the air can enter the brew. The average brewer tries to prevent natural microbes from taking residence in their beer to avoid unpredictable flavors. Priest, on the other hand, embraces the “wildness” that is integral to lambics.

“It is not at all hard to ferment beer spontaneously,” says Priest. “What is difficult is completely ceding control to nature, which these beers require of you immediately. In turn, nature rewards you for trusting in its own process, on its own timeline. It seems to be a more philosophical brewing method than most.”

Mother Nature is indeed on her own timeline when it comes to the fermentation process. Once Priest transfers the wort to aged oak barrels to spontaneously ferment, they take anywhere between four months and four years to mature.

“I let the beer tell us when its ready to be enjoyed,” says the ever-patient Priest. “It’s consistently slower than one would hope, but I’m committed to its autonomy.”

There are some lambic-style beers that ease the waiting process. Priest explains that Jung, which is German for young, is served intentionally prematurely at months old to highlight the early developing complexities in the beer’s adolescence.

The aging process of lambic beer is similar to that of wine – and in some ways, so is the taste. Although all the beer produced at The Referend falls under the category of sour beer, Priest likens the taste to a dry wine, champagne, or cider. Others describe the flavor as earthy, hay-like, or leathery. There’s no debating that lambics have an impactful taste, even Priest had to ease-into the old-world beer.

“One of the earliest ones I remember having is Cantillon Gueuze, which is sort of held up as a benchmark for the lambic-style,” says Priest. “I found it slightly off-putting and couldn’t quite pick some of the associations, but I wanted to kind of delve into what else was going on there. Even when I found it, I had the desire to acquire the taste. In a matter of beers, I was legitimately enjoying them not just as an exploration.”

“Some lambics are very approachable for everyone and aren’t that much of an acquired taste,” he continues. “Other lambics certainly can be if you start getting any of the strong, funkier aromas and flavors. In that case, it can take a few times and it did for me.”

With the increasing popularity of sour beers, there’s perhaps no better time for Priest to introduce his brews to the public. The Referend’s grand opening brought tons of thirsty Hopewellians to the previous site of Pennington Athletic Club (now Pennington Ewing Athletic Center) to taste the unconventional beer. The local support is reciprocating by Priest. A Chicago-native, he’s gone full-Jersey at The Referend. His “blends” have featured “Jersey Fresh” peaches, nectarines, grapes, hops, spelt, and grain. “There’s so much in the area,” says Priest, “that it’s thankfully very easy to seek out farmers for whatever we’re looking for and drag it down to The Referend.”

You have to go to the source to try one of Priest’s lambics. The Referend’s beer isn’t sold for off-site consumption, and due to the delicate nature of certain lambics, kegging isn’t advisable. Priest has completed one round of bottling, but they most likely won’t be ready for consumption until springtime. In true lambic style, it takes many months for the beer to carbonate or re-ferment in the bottle. Luckily, you don’t have to wait long to taste some of Priest’s other creations. The Referend’s Tasting Room is open from 2 to 8 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month, making the next tasting January 21, followed by February 4. If you plan on stopping by, you mine as well make it a beer tour. The Blendery is merely two miles away from River Horse Brewing Company in Ewing and eight miles from Troon Brewing in Pennington. Now that’s the way to start the weekend. Cheers!

Hydra, 2016. 18″x24″

Morristown-based artist exhibiting at Small World Coffee in Princeton, NJ

Artist Josh Rockland is displaying his work at Small World Coffee on 254 Nassau Street through out the month of January. On his website, joshrockland.com, he writes: “My paintings have a personal, narrative quality that combines seemingly unrelated objects in an aesthetic and accessible way.” Rockland is originally from Princeton and currently resides in Morristown. more

Photos courtesy of Cranford Millburn Camera Club

Send us your best shots of NJ by January 20, 2017 for the chance to be in the next issue of Urban Agenda Magazine!

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

You might have photographed your favorite Jersey diner. Perhaps you’ve snapped a picture of a secret trail in the Garden State. Maybe, you’ve taken an image of a historical location in NJ, or better yet, a historic moment in your life. If you’ve shot a picture of New Jersey that represents your personal vision of the state, we want to see it! more

Shine, shine, shine on New Year’s Eve with these fun products!

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Photo Courtesy of @marrden

Yesterday was the 2016 winter solstice, and though it marked the dark and the cold, it also began the countdown to the summer solstice on June 21, 2017!

… So maybe we’re rushing things, but we still can appreciate the frozen wonderland that winter brings. To kick-off winter 2016, we compiled “chillingly” beautiful Instagrams of Princeton.

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Photo Credit: @esstockholm

These field jackets for women will never go out of style. 

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SUMMER THEATER: French Woods is an individual choice performing arts summer camp for children from 7 to 17 years old in Hancock, NY. They offer programs in theater, dance, music, circus, magic, rock and roll, visual arts, film and video, sports, tennis, fitness, water sports, skate board, horseback riding and more. Younger campers have more guidance and supervision, while older campers are able to take on some responsibility and have a chance to work in the areas of their interest. French Woods is just one of the many sleep away camps that will be represented at the NJ Camp Fairs across NJ. 

You might not think that the dead of winter is the perfect time to find a summer camp for your child, but indeed it is. NJ Camp Fairs will be hosting a series of events this January 2017 where parents will have the opportunity to meet camp directors from exceptional day and sleepaway camps from around the country.  more

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Arts Council of Princeton’s Executive Director Jeff Nathanson with artist Paul Henry Ramirez

Photography by Erica Cardenas

Dining by Design, the Arts Council of Princeton’s signature annual fall gala, was held at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township on Saturday, November 12. This year’s theme, Eye Candy, was inspired by the art exhibit Rattle by Paul Henry Ramirez on view in Grounds for Sculpture’s West Gallery. The evening featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live modern dance, Party Boards, a multi-course dinner catered by STARR Events, and an exciting live auction. The choreography and direction of the dancers was the work of Dawn Cargiulo Berman, director of The Pennington Studio for Dance and the Creative Arts. Berman engaged dancers from the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company and Pilobolus Dance Theater to be a part of the evening. The event proved to be a major success, raising funds for the Arts Council of Princeton’s many community programs including their scholarship fund, which benefits local students.

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One-night-only Italian truffle dinner taking place at elements Princeton on Sunday, 11/13

On November 13, for one night only, elements will be open on a Sunday evening to tantalize your taste buds with an exclusive six-course Truffle tasting dinner with Italian wine pairings. Course highlights include fresh fluke with olive oil and cider vinegar, duck bolognese over tagliatelle and 48-hour brisket served over rice and mushrooms. more