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September 27, 2023   
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330   

Jeff Wolfe
P: (609) 913-6559
C: (609) 433-1785


Coombs Barnyard Wins Farmer Recognition Award

(ELMER) – New Jersey Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III recognized Coombs Barnyard in Salem County as the winner of the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Farmer Recognition Award. The presentation took place during the celebration of the 13th annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week being held September 25-29, 2023.

The program is an opportunity for farmers to highlight their Farm to School efforts and to help feature Jersey Fresh produce in local school meals.

“Coombs Barnyard’s focused and enthusiastic mission of educating students and the public about the importance of farming is an outstanding example of how to promote the significance of agriculture,” Assistant Secretary Atchison said. “The ability to host so many different groups allows more people to gain a better understanding of how a farm operates and enhances the awareness of agriculture in the Garden State.”

Coombs Barnyard was started by Amanda Coombs and her sister Jennifer in 2008. Amanda, her family, and staff operate the Barnyard now. The farm features field trips for many different organizations and groups from April through October. The trips include a hayride, agri-education on vegetables, vegetable and pumpkin picking, a corn maze, animal visits, and other farm activities. During the summer months, they feature six weeks of farm day camps for children ages 5-12. All six of the weeks sold out this past summer. In 2015, they started a Farmyard Education Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit with the mission of educating the community about agriculture through the eyes of children with the hope of empowering people to understand the importance of agriculture.

“Agriculture plays an essential role in producing what we need to survive and we want to do our part in helping people understand this significant endeavor,” Amanda Coombs said. “The sooner we can educate children and students about farms and their importance increases the chances of them developing a true appreciation for farming.”

Other farms across the state nominated for the honor will receive a Farm to School materials kit which includes a Jersey Fresh Farm to School banner, hats, and seasonality charts. Those farms are:

GeoGreens, Mercer County

Pochuck Valley Farm Market & Deli, Sussex County

Greens do Good, Bergen County

Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week celebrates the partnerships being built between state farmers and schools which encourage schools to purchase produce from local farmers to incorporate into meals.

The influence of the Farm to School Program has led to almost 500 schools purchasing local. More than 300 of the districts buying local have implemented cafeteria programs using Harvest of the Month promotional material to highlight the nutritional value of local items. Nearly 200 districts use a curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and/or field trips to farms.

Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week was established by law in 2010 to bring attention to the Farm to School Program, which connects schools to local farmers to increase the amount of local fresh produce available for consumption by students during the school day.

To learn more, visit


To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at and or Twitter @NJDA and @JerseyFreshNJDA.