2019 Foodshed Alliance Gala Celebration

Of Local Food and Farms

Thursday, May 16, 2019, 6 p.m., at Perona Farms


2019 Honorees

John Krueger

Farmer of the Year

John Krueger owns and operates Circle Brook Farm, a certified organic farm in Andover, NJ. Committed to providing the best organic produce to his customers, John is also one of the most generous supporters of the Foodshed Alliance’s LocalShare program. Each season, he allows our volunteers to glean thousands of pounds of excess produce which is delivered to food pantries to feed those in need.

John’s interest in organic growing goes back 30 years when he co-founded the Cook Organic Garden Club while earning a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cook College, Rutgers University in 1989. In 1996, he was hired as Farm Manager of Heirloom Harvest Farm in Blairstown where he gained experience in the techniques and equipment for larger scale vegetable production. In 2002, he began managing the certified organic Starbrite Farm in Hardwick, eventually supplying numerous CSAs and farmers’ markets.

By 2008, he began leasing land from Good Hand Farm and Circle Brook Farm in Andover. In 2013, thanks to the generous support of many CSA members, John purchased the 80-acre property known as Circle Brook Farm where he farms organically. He is anxious to begin planting fruit trees and bushes, and slowly expand into production of eggs, and other grass-fed animal products. His grand vision is to run a diversified and integrated farm, something akin to the typical small farm of 100 years ago, except with the cutting-edge techniques and materials available in the 21st century. It will be a sustainable operation producing nutritious food for as many folks as possible with a minimum of external inputs; one of many emerging “model farms” that are leading the way as we learn to farm for the future.

Eric Olsen

Partner of the Year

Eric Olsen has worked for The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey since 2006 and currently serves as the Director of the Lands Program. In this role, working with a team of four, he oversees land protection, land management and land policy work for the Chapter. Over the last two years, Eric has been working closely with the Foodshed Alliance to design the Sustainable Agriculture Enterprise (SaGE) program to provide farmers access to preserved farmland at affordable cost.

Prior to this position, he served as the Delaware River and Bay Whole System Project Director for The Nature Conservancy, coordinating the organization’s work across the four-state Delaware River region. During his tenure with TNC, Eric has been involved with forest and freshwater projects including land protection, stewardship, and restoration projects. One of his most enjoyable things is working with landowners to realize their goal of permanently protecting their land.

Prior to the Conservancy, Eric worked for the Fairview Lake YMCA as a Program Specialist in Environmental Education, introducing children and adults to the wonders of the natural world. Eric received a B.A. in English with a minor in Environmental Studies from Drew University and an A.A in Liberal Arts from Sussex County Community College. He is active in his community, sitting on the environmental commission, land use board and founding and serving as Chair of Sustainable Andover Township that achieved certification for the town through the Sustainable Jersey program. He is married, with three children and his greatest joys come on a soccer field coaching his son’s soccer team, in the garden with his wife growing veggies and alone in the woods watching birds.

Michael Carrino

Volunteer of the Year

Michael Carrino, chef and owner of Pig & Prince Restaurant in Montclair, and creator of the renowned French restaurant, Passionné, is considered by many to be a pillar of the culinary world, and staple of the NJ restaurant scene. He is also one of the first volunteers for the Foodshed Alliance, having volunteered his time as chef for our first Farm-to-Fork dinner in 2010. Since then, he has said “yes” every time we have invited him to cook at our fundraising events.

Staying true to his Garden State roots, Chef Carrino is steadfastly committed to using local and sustainable raw materials to keep his cuisine purely Jersey Fresh, a direct reflection of the place in which he works, plays, and resides.

A graduate of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Carrino embarked on what is now a quarter century journey starting as a dishwasher/porter and honing his craft in every corner of the kitchen working towards Executive Chef and owner. Chef Carrino worked vigilantly through hotel kitchens in New Jersey, New York City and Virginia expanding his knowledge in cooking, baking, patisserie and butchery. Within his tenure, he helped build and maintain four and five diamond dining status’ for the likes of Benchmark Hospitality International, and the Hilton Corporation before venturing out on his own.

Chef Carrino was inducted into the prestigious society of wine gurus, chefs, hotel executives and restaurant owners, known as The Chaîne des Rotisseurs, at the impressive age of 28. On a remarkable ten separate occasions, Chef Carrino was invited to the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York City to present his views and philosophies through food. He was also invited to assist the chefs of Colonial Williamsburg for the 400th anniversary celebration of Jamestown, cooking for the likes of President George W. Bush, former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, and dignitaries such as Margret Thatcher and Tony Blair.