Premium Peach -- Shipments of peaches under the new Jersey Fresh Premium Peach program began July 25. All pallets that have been shipped were labeled with the Jersey Fresh Premium Peach sticker. Each pallet of peaches shipped under the “Premium Jersey Fresh Grade” label must be inspected to ensure that the peaches were packed and shipped within seven days of picking. All “Premium” peaches also must meet the “US Fancy” grade. Also, farms can receive the new premium grade only if they have been licensed by the Department’s Farm Certification Program, a third-party audit that ensures product traceability, good handling and good agricultural practices. No other state has a freshness guarantee for its peaches. This program is designed to give peach farmers added value through this new standard and consumers a freshness guarantee that reinforces the taste experience of Jersey Fresh.
Horseracing/Equine Industry -- The Sire Stakes Board on Tuesday, July 19, gave favorable comments to a new Department web page that covers the state’s equine industry. The page covers everything from horseracing to breeding farms, show horses and support businesses. The web page is another step taken by the Department’s working group, which meets weekly to explore how New Jersey’s equine industry can be bolstered through various approaches, including helping the horseracing industry compete with increasing purses in surrounding states. The health of horseracing is critical to the various other sectors of the equine industry, especially to breeding operations and other related agricultural sectors. New Jersey’s horse racing sector has much going for it, such as this coming weekend’s $1.7 million Hambletonian and $1 million Haskell Invitational. The economic impact of the state’s overall equine industry was placed at $1.1 billion in a report released recently by the American Horse Council Foundation.
Dean’s Tour – Secretary Kuperus will host Dean Robert Goodman of Cook College for a tour of New Jersey’s agriculture industry on Wednesday, August 3. They will visit a nursery, a winery, a community farmers market, a farm stand, a pick-your-own farm and an equine breeding facility. The tour is aimed at helping the new Dean acquaint himself with New Jersey agriculture and strengthen the cooperative working relationship between the college and the Department.
Farmers Market Tours -- Secretary Kuperus on Friday, July 22, visited community farmers markets in Englewood, West Orange and Middlesex and on Saturday, July 30, he visited markets in Vineland and Millville. Tours also are planned in other areas of the state later this summer and early fall. The tours are intended to draw attention to the various markets around the state that have increasingly become the preferred place for customers to find Jersey Fresh produce. There are now 76 Community Farmers Markets statewide, up from 69 just one year ago.
Marketing Report: Jersey Fresh Breakfast -- The Department of Agriculture’s annual Jersey Fresh Breakfast was held at Drumthwacket on Friday, July 29. The breakfast was held to rally support for purchases of Jersey Fresh produce by the supermarkets and other retail outlets in the state. Acting Governor Richard Codey addressed the group, reinforcing the partnership between food retailers and producers in their support of the Jersey Fresh brand, which helps sustain the food and agriculture industries.
New Advertising Agency -- The Jersey Fresh advertising and marketing program will get a fresh new approach during the 2005 produce season. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has awarded its three-year Jersey Fresh advertising, marketing and promotional contract to CMD & Partners, Fairfield, New Jersey. CMD promises to bring their creative and imaginative approach to the program, as well as a reinvigorate the Jersey Fresh name in order to leverage the brand’s equity while also increasing purchase and awareness of Jersey Fresh and its Jersey Grown and Jersey Seafood programs.
Supermarket Visits -- Secretary Kuperus will visit the Super Foodtown of Ocean in Monmouth County on August 9 and the Stop and Shop in Wayne on August 12 to support the chains’ commitments to selling Jersey Fresh produce.
NAAMO Conference -- New Jersey hosted a successful conference of the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials (NAAMO) from July 17-21. The organization, which covers all 50 states, Canada and Mexico, is devoted to improving the marketing of its members’ agricultural products both domestically and internationally. Thought-provoking seminars included marketing to an increasingly diverse population in the U.S. and the decreasing role of supermarkets as the primary retail outlets for food purchases as they are replaced by “big box” stores, wholesale clubs and even dollar stores. Portions of the conference received media attention from the Courier Post of South Jersey, New Jersey Farmer and the Hammonton Gazette.
Asian longhorned beetle -- The majority of tree removal work in the Middlesex-Union ALB quarantine area has been completed, with more than 8,000 trees taken down. In all, 517 infested trees were found in the area, with the remainder of those removed being high-risk exposed host trees. Treatment of more than 21,000 low-risk exposed host trees with the preventive insecticide imidacloprid also has been completed. More than 700 replacement trees were planted in the spring, with more planting scheduled to begin in the fall.
Deer Fence Program -- Contracts were mailed to the 100 applicants that were approved to receive deer fence, poles and associated wire from the 2005 Program. Delivery of the material is anticipated to take place in mid to late August. Once contracts are returned, awarded farmers will be contacted to set a date to pick up the material. The mandatory deer fence installation workshop is scheduled for August 12 in Cream Ridge.
USDA Seafood Marketing Research Grant -- The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Rutgers University and the University of Delaware, has received a grant from the USDA to help promote the production and consumption of locally grown live seafood products. The $56,500 matching grant from the USDA’s Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), will fund a survey of consumers, producers, wholesalers and buyers in the Northeast about consumption of live fish, shellfish and other seafood products that will result in a central resource to facilitate sales. Live markets are a premium price, low volume outlet that can help support small aquatic farmers.