For those who have decided that they want to reduce the amount of pesticides, chemicals and other artificial ingredients in the materials, foods and home environment that surrounds them every day, the question remains of where to find such "eco-friendly" or organic products.
The English Farm in the township's Liberty Corner section has been around for about two centuries, and these days the English family is back to farming the land themselves, with natural methods.
Harrison Brook Farm, right next door to the English Farm off Valley Road, follows organic farming practices in growing herbs and tomatos, said Carol English, one of the farm owners.
The entire English farm adheres to organic practices wherever possible, and has been doing so for quite a while, she said. But she noted that the process of becoming certified as organic is a lengthy one, requiring much paperwork.
For those who want to grow their own organic edibles — or have gardens and landscaping free of pesticides and other chemical treatments — all of that "green" greenery and more will be available at the new Back to Nature Home & Garden Center, scheduled to open on Earth Day itself next Friday, April 22.
Everything is pesticide-free in the garden store at the center, located at 3055 Valley Road, by the intersection with King George Road, including seeds, bulbs, deer repellent, starter organic vegetable plants, personal care products and more, said Kate Kurelja, marketing director for the new center.
The center even will have garden furniture made from cedar raised and harvested in the U.S., or made from recycled materials, she said.
"We are making it easy for people to get back to nature," the center's manager, Amy Seuberth, said as work on an arbor and other details was being completed earlier this week.
The staff is educated to help people find what they need in chosing everything from a single plant to an entire garden, she said. For those planning larger projects — including large landscaping designs, masonry, patios, outdoor kitchens and maintenance — the Basking Ridge facility can link them with the Back to Nature landscaping business based in the Oldwick section of Tewksbury, said Seuberth and Kurelja.
Those who stop by on opening day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. will be able to talk with a beekeeper, organic gardener, take a look at an organic garden and more, Kurelja said.
But the center won't end its organic and "back to nature" events after opening day. Everything from organic gardening classes, to classes on preserves, canning, beekeeping, and even exercises to keep gardeners from being injured is being planned on a regular basis, Kurelja said.
“We aim to help the backyard gardener turn to an organic approach. Our landscape team implements ecologically sustainable and regenerative designs, but we realized our community needed a place that could foster development of these practices individually,” said Anthony Sblendorio, founder of the center.
Other providers of organic products and foods can be found in nearby locations. In 2010, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture officially certified Alstede Farms in Chester as a producer of organic products and crops.
A list of organic farms in Hunterdon County is available online.
There's also a place to go for those people who stop to think about the chemicals in the clothing and bedding that comes in such close contact with themselves — or their babies. Organic Nest in downtown Bernardsville has filled a shop with organic bedding, clothing, furniture and even baby toys.
Organic Nest offers organic bedding, including sheets, hypoallergenic pillows, and organically produced mattresses for adults and toddlers. "We also offer everything mommys need to create a healthy 'Eco-Nursery' for baby, including organic crib mattresses, sweet crib sets, monogrammed organic blankets and more. We searched the market for the most adorable organic baby clothes and the sweetest organic layettes available," said owner Debbie Foster.
The store is at 17 Olcott Square in downtown Bernardsville. Information on products is on the shop's website.
For "green" building materials and supplies that avoid toxics, try Huston Lumber & Supply Co. in Oldwick and Watchung. Click on the Huston website and again on the tab for "why green?"