Jul 12, 2018New Jersey ag chief highlights Jersey Fresh blueberries
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher on July 12 highlighted National Blueberry Month with a visit to Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm. Secretary Fisher and state and local officials viewed the packing of Jersey Fresh blueberries to emphasize that locally grown produce and farm products are readily available now at farmers markets and stores around the state.
“Blueberries are one of the mainstays in Jersey Fresh produce and growers like the Macrie Brothers help make New Jersey famous for growing blueberries,” Secretary Fisher said. “Hammonton has long been known as the blueberry capital of the world for good reason. Our blueberry farmers are dedicated and passionate about what they do and it is evident by the high-quality fruit they grow each year.”
Blueberries were the No. 1 crop in New Jersey for 2017 with a production value of almost $84 million. New Jersey annually ranks in the top six in the U.S. in the production of blueberries. Farmers in the Garden State harvested 43.4 million pounds of blueberries on 10,000 acres last year.
“It has been a good year for us so far,” said Paul Macrie, who owns and operates Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farms with his brothers Nick and Mike. “Even with the heat, we have been able to harvest a good volume, which is of course really important. We have a new packing equipment as well, which helps us operate more efficiently. It’s really rewarding to be a part of this process from the beginning all the way to the conclusion.”
The Macrie Brothers have been growing blueberries in New Jersey since 1953. What started as a 26-acre farm has now blossomed into an 800-acre operation. The Macrie Brothers are also an active member of the New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory Council.
The blueberry season for New Jersey lasts through the end of July. During the peak of blueberry season, production can be as high as 250,000-300,000 crates per day. Eating blueberries is beneficial to health as they are known as the “King of Anti-Oxidants.” Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients.
Go to www.FindJerseyFresh.com to see where Jersey Fresh blueberries are available locally and to find recipes that include great tasting Jersey Fresh blueberries.
Photo: New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, left, and Paul Macrie checking out the blueberries in one of the fields at the Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm on July 12.