It's All About
the Pine Barrens!
Geographic Traveler as among the
"very best links for travel to the area"!
in the Pines
(2018 - ed. note: Niki
Giberson is no longer making james at Buzby's, as the shop has
closed due to owner R. Marilyn Schmidt's health. She does occasionally
offer it for sale at her Swan
Bay Folk Art Center and Farm, where she and her colorful
husband, well-known decoy carver "Mayor Gary" Giberson,
,raise sheep for wool that she dyes and sells, along with offering
classes on felting and basket weaving.
interview below has not been altered, in order to preserve a bit
If you're lucky, the next time
you visit the historic "Buzby's Chatsworth General Store"
in Chatsworth, you'll be greeted by the wonderful aroma of blueberry
jam. Here, tucked into the rear of the renovated building, now
"The Cheshire Cat" gift shop owned by Marilyn Schmidt,
is a spotless kitchen where on select days, Niki Giberson of Port
Republic creates wonderful homemade jams made from "Jersey
Fresh" fruits. I was lucky enough to catch her mixing up
a batch of Blueberry Jam one July afternoon.
Giberson stirs a batch of fresh blueberry jam, made with only
Jersey blueberries, sugar and pectin.
learned about making jams when I was eight years old",
said Niki, "watching my Aunt Millie make it. She learned
from my Grandmother, who had a Russian Tea House in Princeton
during the '30's. I never met her, but I am thankful I have
part of her legacy."
Niki carefully pours her jams into the freshly sterilized
jars, she reminisces: "I used to love to hear the jars
pop, when I watched with Aunt Millie. I knew even then I
wanted to make my own jams - it's my passion!"
Niki proudly shows her finished product, displayed
for sale in the shop.
not really a Piney", she laughs, "but I married
one. We met when I was working at Batso during college. I
actually grew up in Princeton, but I've always been a Piney
at heart. I'm just so much more comfortable in the Pine Barrens."
husband Gary Giberson's family has been in the Port Republic
area since the 17th century. She and Gary live on the same
property as his ancestors. Gary, the Mayor of town, is a master
decoy carver. (See his well-known beautiful work at www.masterdecoycarver.com)
offers Blueberry, Blueberry Peach, Peach, Strawberry, and Tripleberry
(strawberry, raspberry & blueberry) jams, as well as a reduced
sugar version (but no artificial sweeteners are used). Fall
harvest will bring some delicious varieties containing cranberries
as well. At this time, they are only available at the CHESHIRE
CAT GIFT SHOP at "Buzby's Chatsworth General Store"
on Route 563 in Chatsworth. Call for days and hours of operation:
Some of Niki's baskets are displayed for sale at The Cheshire
talents aren't limited to the kitchen - she's also an accomplished
basket maker. She even offers hands-on classes
to small groups She has many designs for her students to choose
from, so they can take home their own hand-made work of art.
The classes are given at the barn/studio at her Port Republic
unique feature of their home is "Mayor
Gary's Garage", a 1931 gas station complete
with antique cars, including a 1931 Model A pickup truck!
Visitors are welcomed, by advance appointment, please!
Barrens is becoming a popular tourist destination. It offers history,
nature, boating and fishing, swimming, and most of all, peace and
tranquility. It's important to families who live here, whether for
a few years or many generations, that our peace and tranquility be
preserved. Keep in mind that the local lawyer or doctor won't look
any different than his neighbors. Thousand dollar suits aren't what
impresses people of the Pines - taking care of nature and fellow man
is what matters. To that end, it is important for you to know that
as a visitor to our precious Pine Barrens, you should show respect
for the flora and fauna, for the historical buildings or their remains,
and show respect for the "locals". Walk and drive gently.
Treat our Pine Barrens as you would would want a visitor to treat
your own home town.
Celebrating PineyPower's 20th Year!
Barnegat NJ 08005
Owner-Webmaster: Cathy Antener
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