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August 27, 2008
Weather Damage – On August 10, hail storms ripped through southern New Jersey, damaging crops along the way with some farmers saying they had 100 percent loss of certain crops.  The Department of Agriculture recommended Governor Jon Corzine ask U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer for a disaster designation for Atlantic, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties for the August 10 storm and other counties for various weather related incidents this growing season.  Governor Corzine sent a letter of request on August 14.  On August 26, Congressmen LoBiondo, Smith, Andrews, Rothman, Holt, Sires and Saxton sent a letter to Secretary Schafer supporting the Governor’s request.  Senators Menendez and Lautenberg also have sent letters to Secretary Schafer in support of the disaster designation.  The designation would make farmers who suffered damage eligible to apply for federal relief programs.  The Department developed a web page to help farmers better understand the process at

Hunger Event – Governor Corzine and Secretary Kuperus visited Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside to announce the distribution of the first installment of this fiscal year’s State Food Purchase Program.  In spite of tough budget times, the Governor made feeding the state’s hungry a priority.  The first quarter checks mailed out July 18 totaled $1,155,000.  The food banks use the funding to purchase fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods and distribute the items to their networks of food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

Gypsy Moth – The Department has received requests from 102 municipalities to date to conduct gypsy moth egg mass surveys this fall to identify potential target areas for treatment in spring of 2009.  There were 134 municipalities in 17 counties that experienced some level of gypsy moth defoliation this year.  An aerial survey for tree mortality was conducted in portions of southern, central and northwestern New Jersey that were predicted to experience tree deaths from multiple years of gypsy moth defoliation.  The data compiled from the survey is being analyzed.

Beginning Beekeepers – Following two beginner’s beekeeping classes at Rutgers this spring, Department apiary inspectors have found that several of the 200 new beekeepers have expanded to five to 10 colonies.  More than 100 new beekeepers joined the New Jersey Beekeepers Association since the beekeeping classes.  The next class scheduled for October 23-25 has 79 people enrolled at this time.

Veterinarian Emergency Training -- On September 12 and 13, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health and the Animal Emergency Working Group’s (AEWG) Veterinary Services Committee in conjunction with the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association will host a seminar on Veterinary Emergency Response sponsored by a grant from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. The seminar, aimed at involving the veterinary community in disaster response, will provide an awareness of veterinary medical issues common in disasters. In addition, the seminar will provide core training on the Incident Command System, which is vital for working in disasters. For more information, visit

Seafood Cook-off – New Jersey’s top seafood chef Peter J. Fischbach, food service director for the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, placed 6th in the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans on August 2.  Fischbach represented the Garden State in the national competition against 19 other top chefs.  Fischbach won the Jersey Seafood Challenge in January with his signature dish, Pan-seared Black Sea Bass.  In New Orleans, he highlighted the best of New Jersey Seafood and produce, using mostly local ingredients. 

Tri-County Auction – Secretary Kuperus, Assistant Secretary Murray and Emma Davis-Kovacs, Director of the Division of Food and Nutrition visited the Tri-County Cooperative Auction Market on Wednesday, August 13 to introduce food banks and supermarkets to the source of local produce.  Most of the produce sold there travels no more than 20 miles and is picked that day or the day before, ensuring that it is as fresh as fresh gets.  Representatives of Whole Foods supermarkets, Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Mercer Street Food Bank attended the auction and found the visit beneficial. 

JerseyFresh Promotion – In an effort to spur even more sales of Jersey Fresh produce, Secretary Kuperus and Assemblyman Douglas Fisher urged consumers to ask for Jersey Fresh produce while in stores.  Kuperus and Fisher made their comments at the Mullica Hill Grange Hall to help spur sales for peaches and other Jersey-grown products.

Marketing ReportCommunity Farmers Markets:  Secretary Kuperus celebrated National Farmers Market Week with a ceremony at the new Margate Farmers Market in Atlantic County on August 7.  There, he challenged New Jersey residents to seek out Jersey Fresh produce.  He then toured south Jersey farmers markets – Salem, Woodbury and Virtua Health in Camden – on August 14 to highlight the availability of Jersey Fresh produce at the height of the season.  Eighteen new community farmers markets opened in New Jersey this season, with 111 markets operating in every county in the state.  Market managers are reporting sales are up this year.

Jersey Fresh Day:  Secretary Kuperus participated in the Food Circus Foodtown annual celebration of Jersey Fresh on Wednesday, August 13 with a visit to the Wall Township store.

Advertising:  Jersey Fresh 60-second radio commercials began airing the week of July 13 on New Jersey’s Millennium Radio stations.  Secretary Kuperus recorded the commercials with each featuring a specific commodity, including blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, eggplant, Jersey Seafood, Jersey Grown, peppers, corn and cut flowers.

JerseyFresh Availability Report:  The weekly Jersey Fresh Availability and Forecast Reports will continue to update food writers, industry and consumers throughout the summer and fall.

Upcoming Events -- Wednesday, September 10:  The New Jersey Agricultural Society will hold its annual Legislators tour, focusing on Gloucester County.

Saturday, September 13:  The Department will participate in the 3rd Annual Celebration of Jersey Fresh aboard the Battleship New Jersey. The event will feature food sampling, wine tasting, live music and agriculture related displays from several vendors.