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The Star-Ledger

James Simon, a Rutgers professor who directs the university’s New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Program, has made the study of herbs his life’s work.
With ersatz Stars of Bethlehem twinkling on Christmas trees and Stars of David decorating Chanukah cards, it should come as no surprise to find a starburst etched into each horizontal slice of Sharon fruit.
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By now most of the cranberry bogs of the fabled Pine Barrens have been flooded to allow farmers to easily scoop up the scarlet fruit as it bobs to the water’s surface. But don’t expect many of those so-called rubies of the Pine Barrens to grace your Thanksgiving table — at least not in anything other than liquid form.
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One would think that sales of pumpkin seeds would soar at Halloween, the height of the pumpkin-picking season. But one would be wrong. The favorite holiday of witches and goblins doesn’t really scare up sales all that much.
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Piled high in supermarket displays and hanging from leafy limbs in local orchards, pears are in abundant supply these days. And yet, they often go ignored.
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When hunger strikes at work, some people might munch on candy; others, on crackers or even carrots. These days, Henry Dreyer of Dreyer Farms in Cranford is just as likely to be found snacking on cabbage.