Nancy Silverman wants you to know something. As summer winds down and school gears up, you might notice signs and painted bikes popping up all over for Jake's Ride. Jake is Nancy's 15-year-old son and he was diagnosed with Dystonia in fifth grade when he was just 10.
Before Jake's diagnosis, Nancy, like most of us, led a typical life not knowing much about the disease at all. Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, causes painful spasms in one or more parts of the body. It was a long year of tests and doctors visits when they finally got the diagnosis and subsequent treatment for Jake. It's a year Nancy never wants to live through again and is passionate about raising awareness so no other family has to suffer, too. Being the tenacious mom that she is, three years ago she helped found Jake's Ride, a family bike ride in varying miles through Millburn and Short Hills. This year, the ride is on September 25.
"We have raised $750,000 and hope to reach a $1 million this year, " Silverman said, all towards Dystonia research.
All this blind ambition is nothing new for Nancy. She first achieved success marketing her tomato sauce, Pomodoro Fresca which became a successful, nationally recognized brand for about 20 years. What's so interesting is that putting up tomatoes has been done for generations, but commercially marketing them had rarely been done? It's simply fresh tomatoes mixed with spices. Perfect on pasta, bruschetta or as a condiment with meat or fish, Nancy's is a family recipe. Like all the good ones, this was passed down through the generations.
"I always wanted to make sauce from a fresh tomato, unprocessed and I couldn't find a packager. My family had done this for generations, but manufacturing it was completely unique," Nancy explained.
Sure enough, she figured it out and created the first jarred, unprocessed tomato sauce ever to be sold in supermarkets and specialty stores. Not only did Pomodoro Fresca win awards for excellence, Nancy herself was nominated for entrepreneur of the year.
With Jake's diagnosis, she put her business on hold to focus entirely on his care. However, her true love will always be cooking, "nothing brings me more pleasure than cooking for my family. While I no longer have my Pomodoro business, I still make it all the time."
So whether it's spreading the word about Jake's Ride and Dystonia research or making Pomodoro Fresca, this is one busy Mom who puts her whole heart in everything she does.
Fresca Style Sauce
3 lbs ripe plum tomatoes chopped into sixths
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of fresh basil cut in length wide strips
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped small
½ cup calamata olives
grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
1 pound penne rigate
Mix the first six ingredients together. Let stand at room temperature for at least three hours. Cook pasta, drain (do not rinse) and add to sauce.
Toss pasta and sauce. Let stand for five minutes then toss with cheese and serve. Serve at room temperature.