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NJDA sees interest in Jersey Fresh rising

By
Keith Loria

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is proud to have associated itself with the New York Produce Show and have attended it since its inception.

“Each of the various produce shows offer unique aspects that set them apart and makes them exceptionally worthwhile to attend,” said NJDA Secretary of Agriculture  Douglas Fisher. “The New York Produce Show provides us with a fantastic one-day experience with opportunities to meet buyers throughout our primary marketing areas as well as expanding our reach.”

Having seen COVID-19 cases rise recently, the NJDA understands the reason for the show going virtual, and it gives credit to those in charge for being able to continue this important show at such a busy time of year under these circumstances.

“We think it’s great that the New York Produce Show has pivoted and is offering exhibitors an option to promote their products. It  may also gain some additional participants who may not have otherwise been able to attend,” Fisher said. “While supply chains have been disrupted at times, the demand for fruits and vegetables continues to climb and this platform offers great exposure to raise the consciousness and foster connections to food buyers and consumers alike.”

Historically, the show has been a great source of regional connections for New Jersey-based growers — such as Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm in Hammonton, and Cutts Brothers Cranberry Farm in Hogwallow — as it has allowed them to market their products to a diverse audience and enhance the already strong reputation that causes consumers to demand Jersey Fresh.

The Jersey Fresh program, now entering its 36th year, is the longest-running state produce marketing program in the U.S., and the program continues to be an industry leader.

“When growers are packing and shipping under the Jersey Fresh imprint and retailers are leveraging our brand at the store, they are tapping into a truly powerful marketing tool,” Fisher said. “Our survey results show that consumer recognition of the Jersey Fresh emblem in the major mid-Atlantic and New England markets is on-par with that of most major national brands.”

Produce shipped from farms in New Jersey typically reach millions of consumers up-and-down the East Coast and into Eastern Canada more quickly than products from anywhere else in the world. Fisher noted that this means when products hit produce displays at the retail-level, they’re unmatched in quality, taste and freshness.

“The market opportunity truly is limitless, particularly when our retail partners make the commitment to source and promote under the Jersey Fresh brand,” he said. “Without question, the growers are the key to our produce industry’s success. The family farms growing fresh fruits and vegetables across the state are peerless. Their pride in the products they grow shows in every package they ship. From the outset, we’ve recognized that the success.”

Looking to 2021, the NJDA will continue to work with farmers and food buyers so that more connections can be made and that Jersey Fresh produce will remain an essential part of the region’s produce market.

“The demand for local produce is as high as it has ever been, and we will do all that we can to ensure our growers are in the best position possible to provide the delicious fruits and vegetables that consumers insist on purchasing,” Fisher said. “We have greatly expanded our virtual platforms and advertising to gain the maximum amount of exposure for Jersey Fresh.”

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