The column that says you don’t go 50 miles to the Lobster House for the food, because we have seafood just as good around here, but you go so you can tell everybody, “Oh, we went to the Lobster House.”
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
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Bridgeton High School has to play Washington Township in football this week?
Who drew up this schedule?
As of 2012-13, Washington Township has an enrollment of 2,431 students.
At the same time, Bridgeton had 1,118 students.
Who hates Coach Danny Busnardo?
“Have you been to Sunny Slope for your apples and cider yet this year?”
— Sam “Cider Man” Feinstein
“Here at Sunny Slope, we are a family-owned business in Hopewell Township that has grown from 20 to over 800 acres in 80-plus years.
“We grow peaches and nectarines that are mainly shipped commercially, but we also have a small retail market at the entrance of the farm’s packing house where the peaches and nectarines are sold.
“Apples are grown as well and sold at the farm’s market, along with our custom-blended cider.
“A big thanks goes to everyone involved here: Tony (who thankfully, didn’t retire yet), Ron, Reyes, Rita, Roy, all the great kids who helped out in the packing house last summer and fall, Artemio and the field crew.
“Thank you to our customers. We hope you will again choose to enjoy some of our peaches this year, whether from our own retail stand, your local supermarket, or from the local farm markets who offer our peaches along with other great Jersey Fresh produce. We truly appreciate your patronage.”
— Sunny Slope Farms
A little history
Dec. 13, 2012
Tony Mazzeo is 76 years old.
The first time he handled a peach at Sunny Slope Farms outside Bridgeton was 60 years ago.
He figures it’s time.
“Every good thing must come to an end,’’ said the face of Sunny Slope this week.
“I’m going to retire. At the end of this year, I’m going to retire.’’
They’ve heard it before.
“Ah, he’s not going to retire,’’ said Ken Sheppard, retired area school bus magnate who, like a lot of other people, make visiting Tony a daily ritual.
“We hold board meetings here,’’ said Sheppard.
“He can’t retire,’’ said Sonny Bender, a retired auto body man. “Where will I get my apples?’’
They all tell him he can’t retire because they can’t remember getting peaches from anybody else.
But Tony says it has to happen.
“I missed my kids growing up,’’ he said. “I own a place in Fortescue. Know how many times I’ve been there this year? Three times.
“My daughter, Michelle, was a good swimmer. She swam in Delaware and Maryland, and she went to Florida to compete.
“I missed it all.’’
And he refuses to make that mistake again.
“I want to spend time with my grandson,’’ he smiled. “I don’t want to miss him growing up. I want to take him fishing.
“We have Cambodian help here. This Cambodian worker, she kept telling my son she had the right woman for him in Cambodia.
“So he went to Cambodia and met her.’’
The rest is history, the apple of Mazzeo’s eye.
During the peach harvesting season, you’re either in all the way or you’re out.
“Who knows how many hours?’’ he said. “Maybe 115 hours a week. Seven days.
“My wife, she knew I would be coming home at night, but she didn’t know when. I would tell her, I’ll be home, honey. Sometimes by 6:30. Sometimes by 8:30 or 9.’’
Mazzeo was born in Italy.
His family that was first here lost all their money twice when banks failed.
He speaks with an accent and he talks quickly, but always with a smile.
“I can’t remember when I didn’t work with Tony,’’ said Al Caggiano Jr., 48, who runs the 600-acre operation his father built.
Sunny Slope does 100,000 to 150,000 bushels of peaches a year.
“We work together,’’ said Mazzeo of Al Jr. “We clean all the equipment. We do the dirty jobs together.’’
He doesn’t know how to cut back.
“I’m 48,’’ said Caggiano, “so you know how long I’ve worked with him. I’ve never known him to wear a watch.
“He doesn’t leave until the job is done and he usually drags me into it.’’
The 85-year-old Sheppard isn’t convinced Mazzeo’s retiring.
“He’ll still be here,’’ he said.
“No,’’ corrected Tony. “All good things must come to an end. I want to go to Cambodia. It’s beautiful there.’’
“Tony will be here because his grandson likes to drive the forklift,’’ he smiled.
His grandson is 6. He carries his picture in his vest pocket.
“I’m going to invite my good friend Mario Andretti to my house to eat,’’ said Mazzeo.
He’s known the race car mogul for over 40 years.
“He calls and asks me why I don’t come to the races,’’ said Mazzeo.
Obviously, he doesn’t understand the peach harvesting business.
“Roger Penske used to race at Vineland Speedway,’’ offered Mazzeo. “Today, he has 40,000 people working for him. He owns two racetracks.’’
Penske comes to the New Jersey Motorsports Park when his team races.
Mazzeo has never been able to get away to go see him.
He also knew Andy Granatelli, another racing mogul.
“He liked Serra sausage made in Vineland,’’ said Mazzeo. “He always asked me to bring him pounds of it.’’
More importantly, Tony Mazzeo knows everybody in the Bridgeton area who likes peaches.
“I don’t know when my last day is,’’ he hedged. “I’ve got to get things cleaned up. It might not be done by the end of the year. But, it’s going to happen.’’
It will happen before the next peach season.
Before that, you can bet the pilgrimage will begin to say goodbye to an icon.
It still hasn’t happened.
We never knew there were so many kinds of potato salad named after the places they were first made.Sam, did you know there is a Sam The Salad Man at the Amish Market.
“We used to have a 5th quarter with the MHS-BHS football games with coaches and youth of the Bridgeton and Millville assemblies — enjoyable.
“Youth have a lesson for us. Tonight, the MHS band cheered the BHS band when they performed on the field — great human relations.”
— Gerritt W. Kenyon
It wound up 54-0 on a night when former Thunderbolt Ryquell Armstead rushed for 210 yards and scored 2 TDs in Temple’s upset win over the University of South Florida.
“Just got back from Florida Seniors Golf Assn. golf tournament at Mystic Dunes Golf Club.
“I finished in a tie for 1st place low gross/low net (184/136). Split the prize money.
“Last day was 4 ball two net score and our team came in first. What a phenomenal 3 days of golf. Amazing.”
— Lynn Noyes
And all the while, we thought husband Bill was the best in the family.
Lynn, we remember when your back or neck or both were so bad, you never thought you’d play again.
Hope first place was worth $1 million, like the PGA.
We’re going to have to start calling you “Tiger.”
“This morning, I ate a P&J sandwich and tomorrow morning I’ll be doing the same.
“Let me explain the difference between A Sacrifice and A Struggle.
“I’m sacrificing for the growth of my business, a business that I know will be a success and allow me to live the life of financial freedom while making an impact in youth and families’ lives.
“Example: (Struggle) If you give a struggling person money for food, they’re going to go buy food.
“(Sacrifice) If you give me money for food, I’ll continue eating my P&J sandwiches for breakfast and spend that money on my new business Website, Marketing Material, Lawyer fees for copyrights and trademarks, down payment for a business van, toward my budget for teen programs/trips, mobile app for village mentors, Teen Development Curriculum, training supplies, etc.
“Why? Because I know that those things are going to be the reason why Lobster, Shrimp and Steak will be breakfast in the future. Sacrifice takes STRENGTH, DISCIPLINE, BELIEF, AND FAITH!
“How much of GOOD are you willing to GIVE to be GREAT? That’s a Sacrifice!”
— Bryan Real,
Takes A Village
As Albert Kelly would say, “Good is the enemy of great.”
“Here is a message to me a couple years ago from the kid who got shot in Gouldtown back in March.
“This is the reason I always volunteer my time to help kids. It doesn’t get no betta than this!”
— Lynwood Mosley
Oct. 22, 2012
“Out of all the coaches I ever had, ‘Coach Spook’ was the only one who ever believed in me.
“No matter how many times I messed up, he always fought for me and always had faith in me. If I needed anything I know I can go to Coach Spook.
“He helped me out w/a lot and I just wanna give him a big shoutout for being one of the ones who helped me get to where I’m at and believing in me.”
— Rickie Harris Jr.
And then the agony started.
April 1o, 2016
State Police are looking for the public’s help in the shooting death of a 22-year-old King Drive resident Thursday.
Rickie Harris, Jr., 22, was fatally wounded by gunfire in front of his residence located on King Drive, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said in a news release.
State Police from the Bridgeton station are investigating. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call detective Sgt. Glenn Garrels at 856-451-0101.
And a killer is still on the loose.
“Something that I find interesting.
“Several years ago heroin street value was between $35 and $50 a bag ( one dose ). Today it is between $3 and $5 a bag.
According to the law of supply and demand, there must be a glut of heroin available.
“For the correct chemical formation to occur in the poppy plant, it must be grown at an altitude of 14,500 feet or above. There is no place in North America that vegetarian grows at that altitude.
“It is grown in the Middle East, processed and smuggled into the U.S.
“Many of the people with opioid addictions have turned to heron. A 7.5 mg pill is going for $10 a mg or $75 a pill.
“Does it ring a bell that an open southern border facilitates the current heroin epidemic?
— John Bondi,
former Bridgeton police chief
“They think, one more time and I’ll quit.
“Had some really nice ladies out of rehab a week and they OD’d!”
— in the trenches
YOU CAN BOOK IT: Addiction, not terrorism, is going to take down this country, and history will ask why did the most powerful country in the world do nothing about it until it was too late.