|(BROWNS MILLS) – Every fall weekend in New Jersey, residents and
visitors eagerly visit farms to pick apples and
pumpkins, go on hay rides, and navigate corn mazes
or take in one of the many fall or harvest festivals.
To farmers, it’s known as agricultural tourism,
or agri-tourism – a way for farmers to expand
their businesses from traditional farming and also
give non-farmers an opportunity to experience New
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced that every
year there are a greater number and a more diverse array of agri-tourism events
in the state, including the new Harvest Tours offered at Joseph J. White Farm
in Browns Mills.
not many people have had the opportunity to get such a close-up view of the harvesting
of cranberries on a commercial farm,” said Secretary Kuperus while touring
the White Farm, the historic center of cranberry production in New Jersey and
birthplace of the blueberry industry. “We are working to help agri-tourism
in the state grow each year. These outdoor activities highlight agriculture in
the Garden State as well as keep agriculture green and growing.”
Joe Darlington and wife, Brenda Conner, are fifth generation farmers who actively
cultivate the White farm’s 350 acres of cranberries and have opened up
their operation to visitors. This year, they also launched the White Star Country
Store on Route 206 in Southampton.
Secretary Kuperus is given a lesson on how to use a cranberry scoop by
“We realized that we could diversify our farm by offering harvest tours
and opening a country store,” said Darlington, owner of Joseph J.
White, Inc. “Not only does this improve our revenue possibilities but it
gives us an opportunity to educate the public about our good stewardship of agricultural
wetlands, an important consideration for cranberry cropland, a significant crop
in an urbanized state like ours.”
New Jersey ranks fourth in the nation in cranberry production. Last year, cranberry
farmers in the state produced 402,000 barrels, resulting in $13.5 million in
Assemblyman Larry Chatzidakis, Joe Darlington, Secretary Kuperus and Brenda Conner
at cranberry bog
Secretary Kuperus said there is a new webpage on the Department of Agriculture’s
Jersey Fresh website to help people find agri-tourism activities to enjoy.
“There is so much to see and do for families, students and individuals
in New Jersey agriculture, and the fall is an active time of year to get out
on the farm,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Now, there’s a place
on the web where people can go for a comprehensive list of agri-tourism events
and attractions to help them plan their outings.”
The new agri-tourism webpage on the Jersey Fresh website at www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/agritourismhome.htm provides
convenient information and links to everything from living history farms and
pick your own operations to food festivals, equine events and agricultural fairs.
Featured on the new webpage is a database to search for specific agri-tourism
activities, a separate listing of the many corn mazes, hay rides and fall activities
in the state and a calendar of upcoming events.
New Jersey is working to strengthen and grow the agri-tourism industry. To determine
the impact of the agri-tourism industry on the state’s economy, the New
Jersey Department of Agriculture is working with Rutgers University’s Food
Policy Institute to conduct a comprehensive study on agri-tourism in the Garden
State. In addition, in 2004, the Department formed the New Jersey Agri-Tourism
Industry Advisory Council, whose charge is to develop and expand the agri-tourism
industry in the state.
While there are no agri-tourism statistics in New Jersey, travel and tourism
in general is the state’s second largest industry, generating $31 billion
in revenues annually. As an example, income from agri-tourism related activities
on Vermont farms totaled $19.5 million in 2002.
A full line-up of New Jersey agri-tourism events is available at: www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/funcalendar.htm.