New Jersey Department of Agriculture gearing up for fall marketing program
As it does with much of its produce, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture promotes different crops as they come into season during the fall.
“Jersey Fresh season continues through November for many of our growers who will have plenty of greens, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cranberries, kale, leeks, potatoes, spinach, winter squashes and root vegetables in addition to, of course, apples and pumpkins,” said Joe Atchison III, assistant secretary of the NJDA. “The fall season is an important time for many New Jersey farms as they have various agritourism activities that offer opportunities for people to visit their farms and pick their own fruits and veggies, experience family fun activities and learn about agriculture.”
The state of New Jersey was ranked No. 3 in the country in cranberry production in 2022 and expects to have another healthy crop in 2023. For cranberries, the state produced 56.1 million pounds on 2,800 acres for a production value of nearly $20 million.
New Jersey was also ranked annually among the top 10 producers in the nation in apples and remains one of the top producers of pumpkins in the country as well. For pumpkins, in 2021, New Jersey produced 9 million pounds on 1,500 acres for a production value of $3.1 million ranking the state No. 12 in the country.
“The 2023 crop looks spectacular,” Atchison said. “We anticipate full, healthy crops of all our fall produce items such as greens, root vegetables, winter squashes, potatoes, cranberries, pumpkins and especially apples. The apple industry in New Jersey expects to have exceptional quality in larger quantities of all apple varieties this year.”
The secret to success for wholesale farmers, Atchison noted, is to continually be in contact with retailers, establishing or maintaining relationships.
“They must be aware of changing consumer needs and demands for new produce varieties,” he said. “For direct marketers, many of the successful farms have developed impressive agritourism businesses with many events and activities throughout the fall season. They are also very active and knowledgeable about how to promote the agritourism activates on social media making sure people are aware of what is coming up and encouraging them to visit the farms.”
After all, once they get people to the farms, that provides an avenue for consumers to buy locally grown produce.
“The NJDA focuses on building awareness of all that is available in New Jersey in the fall,” Atchison said. “Not everyone realizes how much Jersey Fresh produce is still being harvested in our fields after September. So, we have developed a fall marketing campaign utilizing TV, digital billboards, radio and social media to continue educating consumers that there is plenty of locally grown produce available in the Garden State during this time of year and encouraging them to visit their favorite retailers and look for Jersey Fresh.”
This season, the NJDA will be working with the Apple Industry Advisory Council on a social media contest to encourage visits to orchards for pick-your-own apples.
“Consumers are demanding local now more than ever,” Atchison said. “Retailers must focus on meeting their demands by continuing to connect with their New Jersey growers after Labor Day and sourcing Jersey Fresh product through the fall. They should also utilize the Jersey Fresh point of purchase materials and can always reach out to us at [email protected] or 1 (609) 913-6515 to request banners, bin wraps, pennants, price cards, aprons, hats and more.”
Over the next several months, NJDA plans to post several positions that will help to further enhance and expand all the marketing initiatives and projects it creates to help promote Jersey Fresh produce and growers throughout the Garden State.