Image Source: https://thewatershed.org

On Saturday, June 18 at 5 p.m., get ready to race in the Watershed Solstice Trail Run in Pennington!

Back and bigger than ever, the trail run offers both a 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) distance. Participants can run or walk virtually or in person. The in-person competitors will have the chance to enjoy the signs of early summer at the Watershed Reserve.  more

Located at 1501 Glasstown Road in Millville, New Jersey, join WheatonArts for the Fantasy Faire on Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19. This family-friendly festival will take place each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Fantasy Faire features talented performers as they bring to life the “Kingdom of Wheaton” by enacting a series of interconnected shows that tell the story of the day. Interact with strolling costumed characters portraying historical and mythical figures in their favorite fantasy garb.  more

Celebrate the birthday of Frederic Law Olmsted on Saturday, May 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Anderson Park, located at 274 Bellevue Avenue in Montclair. The event is free to attend and open to all ages. The rain date is Sunday, May 15. Anderson Park is handicap accessible. more

Princeton Garden Theatre, a nonprofit community arthouse theater located at 160 Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, presents a screening of Beethoven in Beijing on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Dispatched by President Nixon in 1973 to help open the bamboo curtain separating Chinese and American people, the iconic Philadelphia Orchestra now turns to its past as a cultural ambassador to strengthen its future at home. Mixing archival images and audio with present-day observational footage, and enlivened with animation, Beethoven in Beijing dramatizes how the revival of classical music in China is energizing the world of music.  more

A 30th anniversary is an impressive milestone for any business, but a restaurant? After two years of a worldwide pandemic, it’s even more extraordinary. That is why Stage Left Steak owners Mark Pascal and Francis Schott (best friends who met at Rutgers University in the early 1980s) will be throwing fabulous events all summer long. 

At Stage Left Steak, you can always expect great steaks and the finest cuts of meat dressed in a Neapolitan-Based, Brooklyn-influenced Italian cooking. Pare your steak with perfectly balanced wines and cocktails in the restaurant’s pleasant outdoor space.  more

The Historical Society of Princeton introduces their next historical fiction book group on Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. with Libertie: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge.

Named by the New York Times Book Review as the Best Historical Fiction of 2021, Libertie is “a coming of age story, tracing the travails of a free-born Black girl raised in Deconstructionist-Era Brooklyn. Libertie Sampson defies her doctor mother’s stifling dreams that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, instead following her fiancée to his home country of Haiti — where Libertie escapes American-style racism but not the misogyny that leaves her subordinate to all men.” more

Located at 15 Church Street in the bustling town of Montclair, Fresco Da Franco has attracted a lot of attention for its vibrant, party-like atmosphere combined with authentic Italian cuisine that is always fresh, and always made with love. 

Created by chef/owner Franco Porporino Jr., a first generation Italian American, Fresco Da Franco is a destination for brunch, lunch, and fine dining. The success of the place is owed a great deal to authentic cucina all nonna — delicious comfort food that it always satisfying and refined.  more

The Seventh Annual Nassau Film Festival will take place in person on May 21 and 22 at Princeton Garden Theatre. Attendees can also participate virtually from May 23 through June 8 at nassaufilmfestival.festivee.com.

The event will screen independent short films and music videos from filmmakers all over the world. Guests can participate in a question-and-answer panel with selected filmmakers. Proceeds go toward the Lisa Goldstein Education Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarship money from West Windsor-Plainsboro District students attending college. Showtimes vary and ticket prices range from $15-25.  more

Photo Credit: Julia Child in her kitchen as photographed ©Lynn Gilbert, 1978, Cambridge, Mass. (wikipedia.org)

On Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m., Hopewell Theater presents never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge food cinematography that traces Julia Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to becoming the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose — and her fame — at the age of 50 and took America along for the whole delicious journey.  more

On Sunday, May 15 from 4 to 6 p.m., the Arts Council of Princeton will host a traditional English High Tea courtesy of Samira Ghani, known for her popular Instagram blog Slice of Gourmet (https://www.instagram.com/sliceofgourmet/). 

Each elegant station will represent a country’s traditional beverage and assorted small bites. Guests will have the chance to sample English High Tea, Greek coffee, Arabic Mint Kava, and Pakastani Kashmiri. As a bonus, stations will include literature about the country’s beverage customs. Wear your best hat and come hungry!  more

Photo Credit: From Wawona Tunnel, Winter, Yosemite, 1935. Photo by Ansel Adams. @The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Works by iconic 20th-century landscape photographer Ansel Adams are now on display at the Galleries at Liberty Hall Academic Center at Kean University. 

The “Early Works” exhibition features 42 original vintage photographs by the master photographer of the American West, ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s. It is open to the public with a pay-what-you-wish (PWYW) admission. more

Rock out to a good cause on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Airport Hangar, 41 Airpark Road in Princeton, in a benefit for Greenwood House. Live music will be accompanied by dinners prepared by award-winning chef Max Hansen and desserts from featured food trucks, Glazed & Confused Fresh Mini Donuts and Rita’s Italian Ice. Guests will also be able to eat, drink, and bid on auction items such as rock star-autographed guitars and world-class vacations.  more

Join New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) for a special virtual presentation on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. to celebrate International Jazz Day, National Poetry Month, and the playwright and novelist Langston Hughes. 

Viewers will be treated to song and poetry performances by NJPAC’s Verses and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Two local Newark poets, Dimitri Reyes and Treasure Borde, will share poetry inspired by Hughes’ life and times. Renowned jazz saxophonist Mark Gross and his quartet will also share their interpretations of Hughes’ compendium of writing.  more

Located at 100 Straube Center Boulevard in Pennington, Cambridge School is an independent K-12 day school that specializes in helping students with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, auditory processing disorder, and executive function difficulties, among others. However, the school prides itself on teaching to learning differences, not disabilities, as some educational institutions perceive it.  more

Now on view at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., “Keith Haring: A Radiant Legacy” is drawing visitors from around the region for this intimate and extensive collection of a beloved artist. The exhibit will run through July 31, 2022.

Born in Reading, Pa., and raised in nearby Kutztown, Pa., Haring (1958-1990) developed an early love for drawing, which eventually expanded into paintings, prints, posters, sculpture, and his famous street art. Completely unique to himself, Haring developed a style that became as recognizable as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf. Haring’s colorful graffiti, which punctuated New York City’s streetscape, helped to contribute to his meteoric rise.  more

On Saturday, April 9, Princeton Junior School’s Odyssey of the Mind teams competed in the New Jersey State Finals at Princeton High School. There, both teams qualified to advance to the World Finals taking place at Iowa State University, May 25-28.

The Grade 6 Team competed in Division II against other New Jersey middle school 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students and placed second in their long-term problem, Escape Vroom. The Grade 5 Team competed in Division I against elementary students and placed third for their Matryoshka Structure. more

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Spring issue of Princeton Magazine where you will discover a range of articles exploring how we can protect, enjoy, and learn from Mother Earth.

The cover illustration created by our Art Director, Jeffrey Tryon, blends a painterly image of Earth with a portrait of Pearl S. Buck, author of The Good Earth. Donald Sanborn’s article about Buck explains how her time in China inspired her to write the book in 1931, which is known for its epic descriptions of peasant farm life in China. The “nourishing power of the land” is the book’s central theme, and that still resonates strongly today.

In addition to being a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author, Buck was an advocate for women’s rights, minority groups, and mixed-race adoptions. Today, her home in Bucks County is a museum and the location of her active and impactful foundation.

The original intention of an Earth issue has taken on new meaning as countries around the globe unite in support of Ukraine. There is an age-old Russian military deception tactic known as “maskirovka,” or little masquerade. It is clear that the world won’t allow Vladimir Putin to hide behind a veil of maskirovka as he demonstrates blatant disregard for human life and world order.  more

Pearl S. Buck, circa 1931. (Wikipedia/Arnold Genthe)

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday,” author and activist Pearl S. Buck is quoted as saying. To understand Buck’s work as the author of The Good Earth and founder of the organization that became Pearl S. Buck International, based in Bucks County, Pa., it is helpful to search her upbringing as the daughter of a missionary in China.

Buck (1892-1973) was the daughter of Absalom Sydenstricker, a Southern Presbyterian missionary, and Caroline Stulting Sydenstricker. When Buck was 5 months old, the family moved to China, eventually settling near Nanking; they chose to live among the Chinese people rather than in a missionary compound. Pearl S. Buck International’s biography of Buck notes that she “played with Chinese children and visited their homes … she later used this material in her novels.”

However, Buck also observed the suffocating effect of Absalom’s work on his relationship with his family, especially his treatment of Caroline. Buck’s mother had “accompanied her husband to China, where she was homesick for the remaining 40 years of her life,” writes Peter Conn in Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

“Carie’s emotionally impoverished marriage and exile provided Pearl a tragic example of the price that women pay for the loyalty to codes and customs that oppress them. It was the most important lesson Pearl would ever learn … [she] would not, as Carie had done, collaborate in her own defeat,” Conn writes. But he adds that, despite Buck’s rejection of her father’s religious beliefs, she inherited “his evangelical zeal, his sense of rectitude, and his passion for learning … she became, in effect, a secular missionary, bringing the gospels of civil rights and cross-cultural understanding to people on two continents.”

Conn writes of Buck’s mother, “Wherever she lived in China … Carie always made a flower garden. These were places of beauty and refuge, walled off from the Chinese streets that surrounded them.”

Asked whether this influenced the agrarian theme of The Good Earth, Conn tells this writer, “I thought of the gardens much more … in terms of a kind of emblem for the general disquiet and sense of loneliness that Pearl’s mother confronted, from the time she got to China until she died.”

VJ Kopacki, historic house director and curator for Pearl S. Buck International, adds that Caroline was “vibrant, thoughtful, and had a head full of ideas — and the only place in which she could express herself … was in that space of her garden. She could release some of that feeling of isolation and exile.” Kopacki observes that Buck “was an outspoken critic of the way that men, specifically American men, tended to treat their wives.” more

Thanks to the Pandemic, Mushroom Hunting is an Increasingly Popular Pursuit

By Anne Levin | Photos by Jeffrey E. Tryon

(Photo by Ed Ashton)

Spend some time talking to mushroom foragers about what they do and how they do it, and you are likely to start looking at trees differently. That feathery cluster you spy under an old oak — is that a hen of the woods? That funnel-shaped stalk with yellow flesh, peeking out of some moss — could it be a chanterelle?

Seeking out mushrooms is a treasure hunt that can become addictive. And when the hunt yields culinary prizes, it’s even better. But those fascinated by fungi do not restrict their curiosity to specimens that can be turned into gourmet meals. Photography, cultivation, botanical illustrations, and even jewelry-making can come into the picture. And the practice has become increasingly popular, especially during COVID-19.

“We’ve had an explosion of members this year,” said Jim Barg, a past president of the New Jersey Mycological Association and a consultant to the New Jersey Poison Control Center. “The pandemic definitely has something to do with it. People want to get out into nature and take part in outdoor activities. There are now somewhere between 800 and 900 people in the association.”

Although mushrooms are classified as vegetables, they are technically part of the kingdom called fungi. The edible ones are nutritious — low in calories, almost devoid of fat and cholesterol, and low in sodium.

Mushroom hunters tend to be tight-lipped about where they look. “Foragers are very protective,” said Princeton resident Steve Omiecinski, who ventures out on hunting expeditions in and around town, and in upstate New York where he and his family have a home. “No one wants to share their spots. The last thing I want is to find other people looking in my good places.”

“I have not found anybody who will share where they have found mushrooms, and I understand why,” says Ed Ashton, who lives in Hunterdon County and does technological work and facilities maintenance when not pursuing black trumpets, oysters, lion’s mane, and other mushroom varieties. “You really don’t want to go to a wild mushroom patch and find somebody else there already.” more

Photos courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Farminary 

Princeton Theological Seminary’s sustainable farm helps teach prospective theologians about the meaning of life

By Ilene Dube

It was a blustery day when I went to visit Princeton Theological Seminary’s (PTS) Farminary. The property — 21 acres off Princeton Pike — includes a few outbuildings and a pond. Chickens and bees are lovingly cared for in this serene agricultural oasis.

Suddenly a flock of geese took off from the pond, filling the sky with a chorus of honking and chattering. “The geese are our neighbors,” says Farminary Founder and Director Nathan Stucky. “They remind us we are all bodies in need of food, shelter, and warmth.”

I first learned about the Farminary listening to NPR’s “On Being,” when host Krista Tippett interviewed journalist and Farminary alum Jeff Chu.

Chu had had a revelatory moment gazing into the compost pile, but his love affair with the rotting vegetables, banana peels, and coffee grounds was not of the at-first-sight variety. His initial reaction: “I thought it was disgusting,” Chu told Tippett, “it was … all these things we would typically see as trash, as waste, which gets carted off to a landfill out of our sight.”

What changed it all for Chu was when “Nate told us to dig around and look for signs of new life.”

That taught Chu that there is an opportunity to “steward death well when death happens, which it will — not erasing the pain, not erasing the brutality, but acknowledging both it and the possibilities that still remain, afterwards … I refuse to believe that death is the end of the story.”

And that’s what Stucky hopes everyone will get from the Farminary.

On its website, it is described as an experiment in sustainable agriculture. “The Farminary is a place where theological education is integrated with small-scale regenerative agriculture to train faith leaders who are conversant in the areas of ecology, sustainability, and food justice,” it notes. “It is designed to train students to challenge society’s 24/7 culture of productivity by following a different rhythm, one that is governed by the seasons and Sabbath.” more