For Immediate Release: March 26, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(WHITEHOUSE STATION) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher was joined today by state horticulture industry representatives in announcing the expansion of the Jersey Grown program to include annual bedding plants in time for the spring planting season.
“New Jersey has many great growers known throughout the region and beyond our state’s borders who will soon be able to identify their annual plants as Jersey Grown,” said Secretary Fisher. “As people head to nurseries and garden centers for their spring planting, they should look for this brand new designation, which means the plant is accustomed to our state and region’s climate and is disease and pest-free.”
Jersey Grown, similar to the Jersey Fresh program for local produce, was launched in 2004 to draw consumer attention to the availability of New Jersey trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. Besides helping to promote the state’s horticulture industry, which brings in more than $451 million in revenue a year, Jersey Grown indicates a high-quality product that is disease and pest-free and accustomed to the state’s growing conditions.
Tim Hionis; Dominick Mondi, Exec. Dir. of the NJ Nursery and Landscape Association; Secretary Fisher; Hunterdon County Freeholder George Melick; Senator Christopher Bateman; and Freeholder Director Rob Walton at a press conference announcing the expansion of the Jersey Grown program to annual bedding plants.
Since its inception, the Jersey Grown program has been expanded several times and now includes cut Christmas trees, firewood, sunflower seed birdseed and wood products.
The officials visited Hionis Greenhouses and Garden Center in Whitehouse Station today to view its selection of Jersey Grown pansies, primrose, tulips, and hyacinths. Hionis was selected to conduct a pilot project as the Department finalizes rules regarding Jersey Grown annuals. Hionis is one of the largest growers of finished annuals, perennials and bulbs in central New Jersey.
Floriculture is big business in New Jersey, accounting for $178 million in sales in 2010, up 7 percent from 2009. Bedding and garden plants were the largest contributor, bringing in $110 million in revenue. New Jersey ranked eighth in the nation in expanded wholesale value of floriculture crops, in a survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service.
All annual and bedding plants would be eligible to be labeled Jersey Grown if they were grown in New Jersey and meet or exceed the Department’s standards. The Department is adopting two Rutgers Cooperative Extension publications: “Pest Control Recommendations for Shade Tree and Commercial Nursery Crops” and “Insect Control Recommendations for Shade Trees and Commercial Nursery Crops, 2011,” for use as guides by New Jersey plant and nursery stock producers to ensure freedom from injurious plant pests and diseases.
To assist in the marketing of Jersey Grown ornamental annuals, those licensed to participate in the program will be listed on the Jersey Grown website at www.jerseygrown.nj.gov. The website lists all Jersey Grown growers, explains the different aspects of the program, has a search for New Jersey nurseries and garden centers and provides all the materials to become part of the program.
The Department of Agriculture and horticulture industry representatives urged consumers to buy local from our state’s farmers, nurseries, garden centers and landscapers as we head into the planting season.
“Mother Nature is giving our senses an amazing gift this year with a wonderful spring season,” said Suzanne VanSciver, President of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association (NJNLA) and Owner of Quinton Nursery in Salem County. “Whether you are an experienced gardener, or a novice, you will want to get out to your local nursery or garden center to check out the many varied textures, aromas, and colors that are available. The warm weather will encourage plantings to take hold and be enjoyable through the entire year.”
“It’s a great time to get plants in the ground early in the calendar so they can get established and you can enjoy your landscape for the entire year,” said Ray Cole, Vice President NJNLA and Landscape Designer at Elite Landscaping in Berlin, New Jersey. “This early spring has been great for landscape businesses, so now is the time to contact your local landscape professional and start planning your next project.”