NJ Secretary of Agriculture Visits Atlantic County to Celebrate National Blueberry Month

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HAMMONTON, N.J. -

New Jersey is known for its Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables.

With the summer in full swing, so is harvesting season for many of the Garden State’s crops with one of those crops being the official state fruit, blueberries.

Blueberries have taken over as the number one crop in the Garden State and on Thursday, July 12th, officials came down to Hammonton, the Blueberry Capital of the World, to celebrate National Blueberry Month.

“Most of the acreage is right here in Hammonton and that’s why they call it the Blueberry Capital of the World," said Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. "Because it’s so concentrated, so large, [and] incredibly productive.” 

“I think the one thing is it’s been native here to New Jersey, and Hammonton specifically, because the soil is perfect for it," said Paul Macrie, partner at Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm. "The weather is perfect because we seem to miss some of the heavier rains that go south and north of us.” 

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The Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm has been growing blueberries for 65 years in Hammonton and Thursday they welcomed Fisher to tour their hundreds of acres of fresh blueberries and get a look at their packing facility.

“We do blueberries for the months of mid-June to mid-August starting with our early variety called Duke," said Macrie. "[Then we transition] into our Blue crop, which is our mid-season, and Draper, which is our newest variety that is larger and more machine adaptable for harvest.” 

Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm is the third largest blueberry farm in the state.

During the peak of the season, New Jersey’s blueberry production can reach as high as 300,000 crates per day.

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According to officials with the USDA, it was New Jersey’s number one crop in terms of production value last year at almost $84 million over 10,000 acres.

“It’s important to the state because obviously it’s an economic generator as well," said Fisher. "It employs thousands of people [and] is responsible for many farmers’ incomes, so it’s vitally important from the agriculture sector and to Atlantic County and to the state." 

Blueberry season is at its peak now through the rest of the summer, so be sure to enjoy this Jersey Fresh fruit while it lasts.

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