Though it may not seem like it, state-grown agriculture is important in New Jersey. With the launch of the Jersey Fresh program in 1984, which focuses on advertising, promoting and grading the quality of produce grown in New Jersey, consumer awareness about farming and agriculture in the state has grown. Bringing the consumers and farmers together through the distribution of information regarding availability and variety of fresh vegetables and fruits grown within the state, the program has even inspired other states to follow New Jersey’s lead.
The NJ Department of Agriculture works tirelessly with various local communities, large stores, schools, hotels, restaurants and many more to bring fresh state-grown produce to any and all consumers who want it.
Consumers can find everything from a list of organic farms in the state, roadside stands, farmers markets and even a list of fresh produce available at various supermarkets throughout New Jersey via the Jersey Fresh program. For those looking to pick their own items, there are even certain farms that encourage customers to visit and pick out what they plan to purchase. Consumers can handpick pumpkins, apples, peaches, raspberries and other various fruits and vegetables, for example.
Best Ways to Get Jersey Fresh Produce
Roadside Markets make it easier for consumers to find products year round based on availability. Farmers markets help New Jersey farmers sell their produce and other products directly to consumers seasonally. Anyone looking to purchase wholesale produce can always find a list of farms and distributors on the Jersey Fresh website.
Other Benefits of Jersey Fresh
The program also keeps a list of products that use New Jersey produce as ingredients so consumers interested in eating items made with state-grown produce can easily find them.
Another important aspect of state-grown agriculture is the support of the communities. Any consumers that wish to pledge their support to a certain farm prior to the growing season will receive shares of the farm’s products throughout the season. Members can pay a fee at sign up (depending on the farm and how they run their community support programs) and will have access to fresh, affordable products week to week.
Family Fun on the Farms
Apart from the obvious importance of farms throughout the state, there are also plenty other things they offer for families.
In the fall, many farms offer events and activities for the whole family. Pumpkin and apple picking are staples of any family’s fall, but farms also hold festivals with live music, offer hayrides, corn mazes and tours. Some farms (depending on location) even have Pony rides and petting zoos. All of these activities are affordable and family-friendly so everyone is encouraged to make a day of it and have some fun on the farm every fall.
Something for the Adults
For the wine enthusiasts, New Jersey has plenty of licensed farm wineries with over 40 varieties of wines made from fresh New Jersey fruits. Many vineyards are open to visitors for events, tours and wine tastings. As of last year, New Jersey was ranked 9th in the country, with over 1.6 million gallons of wine produced in 2012.
Whether you’re looking for fresh state-grown produce, local wines or just a fun outing with the family, the over 9,000 farms in New Jersey are making it all possible.