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New Jersey Department of Agriculture champions local peach growers

By
Keith Loria

Each season, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jersey Fresh marketing campaign includes radio, print, digital, social and billboard advertising that highlights products as they come in season, including peaches.

“We also film, edit and distribute recipe videos that incorporate peaches and nectarines,” said NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher. “So, New Jerseyans and visitors can expect to see and hear all about Jersey Fresh peaches starting in the middle of July through August.”

The NJDA actively participates in meetings with the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council and assists in making connections with growers, packers, distributors, retailers and businesses that use peaches as a value-added product.

“We also review and plan different marketing initiatives to emphasize peaches while they are in season,” Fisher said. “We are in regular communication with industry leaders to stay abreast of any issues that may arise so we can meet their needs in a timely manner. Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, we will resume promoting Jersey Fresh and all of our growers at national trade shows.”

Early reports from New Jersey peach growers have been very encouraging.

“Growers across the state are saying they expect an outstanding crop as the weather has been very cooperative up to this point,” Fisher said. “According to the latest statistics, New Jersey ranks fifth in production of peaches in the United States with 3,900 acres and 39 million pounds. We are annually among the top five or six producing states, and we expect that to continue based on what we have been hearing so far this season.”

The NJDA expects to see early varieties such as Sunbrite, Sentry, Fury, and Ruby Prince, among others, readily available early in the season, and then move to Gala, Saturn (also known as donut), Flavorcrest, Early Loring, and Redstar from mid-July to early August, followed by Cresthaven, Gloria, Jerseyqueen, Laurol and Victoria from mid-August into September.

“Many retailers already do an outstanding job marketing specific Jersey Fresh produce as it comes into season,” Fisher said. “The point of purchase materials available to retailers from the NJDA allow consumers to easily recognize when Jersey Fresh produce is available. By utilizing the Jersey Fresh logo on advertisements, retailers can promote the fact that they are supporting our local growers.”

For the upcoming peach season, the NJDA will have specific targeted ads and marketing campaigns during the harvest season to highlight Jersey Fresh peaches.

“With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, and vehicle travel returning to normal levels, peaches will be one of the items we will highlight on digital billboards on major roadways throughout the state,” Fisher said. “In addition to print and radio ads, we will also do specific ads on digital and social media channels to highlight our delicious peaches to make diverse audiences aware of their availability in every way possible.”

Now more than ever, people want to know where their food is coming from and the NJDA understand that consumers are interested in supporting their local, essential farmers.

“We plan to encourage everyone to ‘Stay Loyal to Local’ again this season and visit their local farmers as often as possible,” Fisher said. “We are planning to work with a celebrity chef and social media influencer to create content about Jersey peaches. We are also in the works of planning a fun event highlighting Jersey peaches at the Jersey Shore on National Eat a Peach Day.”

Like many growers across the country, labor continues to be an ongoing challenge for New Jersey growers. While there is national concern about freight costs, New Jersey growers are positioned well as being in proximity of 50 million consumers allows for significantly less travel to distribute product.

That’s just one of the great things about growing in the state.

“New Jersey’s micro-climates and various soil compositions allow us to be a leader in growing a wide range of crops,” Fisher said. “We have long been a leader in peach production as the weather patterns from south to north allow our season to extend well into the fall, allowing our many varieties of peaches to be available for several months.”

 

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