Hot Sauce, Reclaimed Wood and Beach Glass

April 7, 2017
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Made in Monmouth Expo Is Saturday |

By Jay Cook |

Over 250 different businesses and hundreds of shoppers will show their wares at OceanFirst Bank Center at Monmouth University on April 8 for one of the county’s most popular events.

Now in its sixth year, the free “Made in Monmouth” event showcases many unique products produced by small businesses in Monmouth County.

While participants are from all corners of the county, the Two River area boasts a number of unique businesses. Here are three.

Amy and Ed Bucholtz have watched Born to Hula grow into a critically-acclaimed hot sauce business. All photos by Jay Cook

Born to Hula, LLC.

Seven years ago, Ed Bucholtz would not have believed anyone, even his wife Amy, that his passion for cooking would turn into a full-fledged business.

Ed needed a change of pace from his career in injection molding, so he leapt into the restaurant world. He received a cooking degree from the New York Restaurant School and worked weekends bartending at Gabriel’s in New York City.

A true hot sauce aficionado, Ed would never be caught without a bottle. After trying some of the novelty, extreme-heat sauces found at airports and other miscellaneous stores, a revelation came to him.

“Why don’t I try to make my own, and make it better?”

Then he was laid off from his manufacturing job. So he began thinking more seriously about the hot sauce business.

It was at that point, in 2010, that Ed created Born to Hula, LLC., and became a local hot sauce vendor based in Highlands.

“I can’t eat extremely hot,” he said, “so I went the avenue of ‘flavor over heat.”

He created his first three sauces Oct. 2010, and three months later his product was on the shelves at Dearborn Market in Holmdel.

Within months, Born to Hula sauces were being sold at Sickles Market in Little Silver and local Dean’s Natural Food Market stores.

“All three of those stores are real supporters of local products, exactly what Made in Monmouth it all about,” said Amy, his wife.

Judges from around the country appreciate Ed’s style. Each of the mild to medium sauces, from Cayenne, Habanero Ancho, and Habanero Guajillo, to the hot styles like Ghost of Ancho and Reaper of Sorrow, have all won national and regional awards. Born to Hula has won 30 awards since its inception in 2010.

Ed cooks locally at the Taste & Technique Cooking Studio, Rumson, and uses a co-packer in Florida to keep up with demand.

While putting all East Coast hot sauce stigmas to rest, he has found the community to be more than inclusive.

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“It’s not a cutthroat business where you have to be afraid to get into anything,” he said. “People help you out all over the place.”

Sauces can be found throughout the tristate, on the west coast and in seven different countries. Born to Hula is online at their namesake Facebook page and website, with purchase available through the latter. Most bottles sell for $5.99 and come in 5 fluid ounces, and some of the hotter, more extreme sauces sell for $6.99.

Bruce Perlmutter, a local woodturner based in Red Bank, is one of 250 local vendors who will set up shop at the sixth annual Made in Monmouth event this Saturday at Monmouth University’s OceanFirst Bank Center.

Bruce Perlmutter, Woodturner

While most people are at home cleaning up after a storm hits, Red Bank resident Bruce Perlmutter is loading his chainsaw into the back of his car for an afternoon of scavenging.

Collecting branches, trunks and limbs, Perlmutter brings all the recovered wood back to his house and prepares for his next batch of homemade woodturned bowls.

His appreciation for wood is evident. Along with the wooden cabinets, chairs and tables, a collection of his personal favorites sits inside a cabinet in the kitchen.

“There’s so many aspects even to the simplest of bowls,” he said.

Perlmutter has made a name for himself in the tristate woodworking community. A simple, forlorn chunk of wood is crafted – sometimes easily, sometimes painstakingly – into beautiful bowls that, with a little soap and water, can handle everyday use.

Perlmutter focuses on finding specific pieces to capture his style.

“I look for irregularities and flaws in the wood, and try to maximize those in the piece,” he said.

For over 30 years, Perlmuter has handcrafted hundreds of different bowls, lidded, non-lidded and hollow vessels, all in his basement woodworking shop.

Certainly not an activity for the impatient, the process can take up to a year, with a half-year drying-out period and then time for carving, sanding and polishing each piece.

“To take a log and incorporate its natural features and maximize it in its form is a challenge, and when done right, is really rewarding,” Perlmutter said.

Jill Briggles, Perlmutter’s wife, assists with the work. As a woodburner, she adds design patterns to many of the pieces.

She believes a specific kind of customer appreciates their work.

“I think for sure there are people that have an aesthetic sensibility, who can look at something and discern whether it has been mass produced or hand made,” she said.

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Perlmutter’s work ranges in price from smaller pieces at $45 to larger, 22-inch diameter bowls at $600, all of which will be on display this weekend.

Buyers can directly contact him through his Facebook page Bruce Perlmutter, Woodturner.

“We enjoy the freedom and the self-expression,” he said. “That’s a major thing.”

Ginny and Bill Pointon work as a team to create handmade sea glass jewelry that is popular along the East Coast.

Sea Ginny’s Beach Jewelry

Tucked away in Atlantic Highlands, borough resident Ginny Pointon very well may have one of the largest sea glass collections around, stowed away in plastic bins and old pretzel jars.

Pointon found her passion shortly after moving to New Jersey in 1999 with Bill, her husband.

“He was fishing on the beach, I was sitting on a log,” Pointon recalled. “I looked down and saw a piece of yellow sea glass.”

That piece of sea glass would evolve from a fascination into a passion, becoming the calling card for her jewelry business found right behind Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen on Center Avenue.

Different shades of blues, browns, whites and greens are the common bases for her jewelry, which range from bracelets to pendants to long necklaces.

“You’ll never see the same piece again,” she said. “Not that I don’t want to duplicate it, but I just won’t have that same size or color.”

While much of the sea glass in her shop is found on the Jersey Shore, Pointon has options from all around. In the U.S., she has glass from California and the Great Lakes, and has international pieces from England, Greece, Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean.

A typical piece of sea glass has been in the ocean for about 30 years, she said. Beer bottles seem to be the main source, and vintage Coca-Cola bottles are some of the rarest pieces.

In 2005, Pointon began to craft and sell sea glass pieces with the help of her husband, well-known as “Bill the Drill,” whose home-made drilling station makes the process possible.

After three years in the shop, Pointon has stepped back from traditional trade shows, though “Made in Monmouth” is on her short list.

The general price range for her jewelry is between $25 and $150. A simple pendant with a single piece of sea glass is one of the $25 pieces. Her pure silver bracelets sell for $95 and her favorite necklaces, the Shades of Blue, sell for $150.

“I had an office job all my life where I was always creative, and making jewelry was always in the back of my head,” she said. “It all started when I found that piece of sea glass.”

This article was first published in the April 6-13, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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