NJDA showcasing produce from Garden State at CPMA
With the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Show back in Toronto, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture will be headed up north to exhibit, as it does each time the CPMA is in Eastern Canada.
“Nearly 90 percent of fruit and vegetable exports from New Jersey are bound for store shelves in Eastern Canada, so it is imperative we maintain relationships that exist and extol the benefits of sourcing fruits and vegetables from the Garden State to others who are attending the show,” said Joe Atchison III, the NJDA’s marketing and development division director. “We will connect in-person with retailers and brokers from across the region to continue to develop existing and new partnerships for our farmers.”
The NJDA’s Jersey Fresh team will be located at booth No. 506, and visitors can expect to find friendly, knowledgeable ambassadors ready to address the buyers’ needs and make connections.
“New Jersey has the ability to pick, pack and ship — often on the same day — as many of our growers have trucks ready to make deliveries within 24 hours,” Atchison said. “We are on track for a fabulous growing season, Early offerings of herbs and greens and lettuces in dozens of varieties are coming on as well as some of our early primary crops, such as radishes and broccoli rabe being available now. Asparagus will be available at the end of April and beginning of May.”
Members of the Jersey Fresh team have been attending the CPMA show for decades. On deck this year are Atchison III and coordinator of agricultural marketing, Christine Fries.
“In short, engagement makes for a successful show for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture,” Atchison said. “We are not direct sellers, but we facilitate connections. Sometimes they are immediate and other times it takes weeks, even months or even years to form partnerships. Making people aware of what New Jersey has to offer is the first step to building those relationships. We are dedicated in that pursuit.”
Throughout 2023, the NJDA will continue to promote the Jersey Fresh brand by using a multimedia marketing campaign, which includes digital billboards on many of the nation’s busiest roads, TV, radio, transit, social and online media, print advertisements, aerial banners flying above the famous Jersey Shore and sampling events at the busiest boardwalks along the shoreline.
“In addition, we will be attending several trade shows and conventions to promote the Garden State’s harvest and our exceptional Jersey Fresh growers,” Atchison said.
Overall, New Jersey has approximately 10,000 farms on 750,000 acres. The state is among the top 10 producers in the country in asparagus, spinach, Bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches, cranberries, cucumbers, eggplant and squash.
Its highest production crops include blueberries on 9,300 acres and 46 million pounds produced; tomatoes on 3,400 acres with 89.3 million pounds produced; peaches on 3,900 acres with 36 million pounds produced; cucumbers on 2,400 acres with 37.2 million pounds produced; and Bell peppers on 3,800 acres with 104.5 million pounds produced.
The Jersey Fresh season has just begun with greens, radishes, lettuces and asparagus being harvested in late March, and blueberries expected in the second week of June with the rest of the state’s great fruits and vegetables in the following weeks and months.
“To date, the weather has been cooperative and we are expecting a robust season,” Atchison said.