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Home Grown

There was a time, back in the day, when communities sustained themselves: food, shelter, clothing — all came from the locals. Little by little, we’ve been migrating back to this life, and some local shops are helping us along the way.

Make your own clothes

Old Spool Sewing Studio in Brielle is a dream come true to owner Julia Passafiume, and for the rest of us too. Old Spool is where you can find high quality and beautiful fabric supplies for your next project or you can take classes in the shop. This modern sewing school and fabric shop caters to kids and adults of all skill levels.

"More and more in our tech filled lives, I think it's important to stop and make something with our hands to remind ourselves how good it feels and how capable we are. There's nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you made something yourself," states owner Julie Passafiume of Old Spool Sewing Studio.

Lots of workshops going on at Old Spool! Learn how to make a poolside tote, espadrilles, or your perfect summer dress. After school programs are also available for the kiddos. Check out the workshop calendar and follow Julia on Instagram and her blog.

Feed Thyself

Want to grow your own food? Dave Druze of Oasis Backyard Farms is your go-to person. He has a love for gardening and is helping residents of Monmouth county with their gardens. His firm provides consultation to help newbies or long-time gardeners build up their bounty. Clients welcome his visits with relish. Some work along side him and his team to learn how it's done. Other's simply sit back and watch their tomatoes grow, as they pick what they need for the evening's meals.

Oasis Backyard Farms can help turn unused, outdoor space into a thriving organic garden. If you want to make use of indoor space, like a basement for growing year-round, provides hydroponic supplies. Based in Wanamassa, Shore Grow does great work for the community too. When they learned that some teachers were paying out of pocket to teach hydroponics to students, Shore Grow supported them with guidance and products. They even helped some teachers get grants so they can acquire funding for their classroom.

ShoreGrow offers free classes on growing a garden the last Thursday of each month at 6pm.

Before you grow anything outside, be sure to check your soil. Jennifer M. Coffey of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) tells us why.

"Growing your own food is a great way to assure you know exactly what is in your food and reduce your carbon footprint. New Jersey has an industrial legacy, so it's a good idea to get your soil tested before you start growing. County soil conservation districts and Rutgers University have easy, low-cost testing for residents," Jennifer M. Coffey, Executive Director Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC).

Yes, this is NJ, and industrial legacy is a reality. So, check before you dig. Once you have the green light, this little info graphic shows just how much you save by shortening your food chain.

Take control of your hairstyle

In the pandemic of 2020, most people went months without a haircut. Even a year later, some people have still not gotten their hair cut — but that’s more a matter of style. For those that like to have their hair trimmed regularly, you can learn take matters into your own hands and do it yourself! We tried the unisex 5.5" German barber hair cutting scissors from Hashir and were super happy with the results. For $22 and free shipping in the U.S., it's a great buy.

Before you start cutting your own tresses, educate yourself first! shares a selection of videos for all different hair types.

Mary Lee of Brielle, NJ has been cutting her own hair for over 50 decades! "I would no sooner receive a Ginny doll for a gift, that I had my scissors out chopping the hair off!" comments Mary.

"I specialize in layering, just taking sections at a time and cutting on a slant. I like to feather bangs. Since my hair is basic ally one length, after I wash it I pull it straight down and cut. For the back, I lean to one side and cut straight in the the middle and then do the other side. After I blow dry it, I kind of even it out."

The best piece of advice when cutting your hair, however, is that a little goes a long way. Be patient and start with a little trim, then as you get more confident, then go for more.

We're sure that's the approach Patti took with Bruce's 2020 quarantine cut!

Keep the music going

Last but not least... keeping the music home grown and going for 45 years and counting is 90.5 The Night, Brookdale public radio! The first time we heard of Adele and Muse was on 90.5. We also fell in love with Glen Campbell's song A Thousand Lifetimes, so hauntingly beautiful.

In addition to great music and great DJs, the station also maintains a long list of activities on their events calendar, music and community related. Check it out.

As a public radio station, 90.5 relies on our donations to sustain themselves. They just wrapped up their Spring 2021 membership drive, but you still have an opportunity to make a donation. Pick up their "Home Grown" t-shirt by making a monthly $8 donation. Visit

Until next time, peace!


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