Trenton NJ (August 21, 2014) -- Want to go peach picking? Get into the fields and harvest your own vegetables? Maybe just visit a farmstand and get the freshest produce just picked?
In urbanized New Jersey, what better way to educate kids (and maybe yourself) about where our food actually comes from than visiting a local farm? Now a new website,www.visitnjfarms.org, makes it easy to find farms and wineries throughout the state, and learn what and when fruits and vegetables are available. A graph on the site shows the fresh produce season starting in May, with asparagus and strawberries. Fruits and vegetables are ripe for picking or purchasing all summer long. Fall adds to the offerings with pumpkin picking, hayrides and corn mazes. Winter holiday fare includes cut-your-own Christmas trees, farm-made wreaths and decorations. Wine from New Jersey’s 48 wineries is a good purchase anytime.
www.visitnjfarms.org is a dynamic site loaded concisely with all the information you could want for visiting an on-farm market, pick your own farm or winery. The easy-to-navigate site shows a map of farms by county, and what each farm has for sale. It also lists special events through the end of the year, and provides several informational videos.
“By visiting a farm market, tailgate market, CSA, local winery or community farmers market,
you learn where your food comes from and how it’s grown, as well as supporting agriculture and keeping farming a viable way of life in the Garden State,” says John Hauser, president, New Jersey Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association. “www.visitnjfarms.org is designed to make it very easy to find a farm.”
The website’s top banner lists Find Farms, Events, What’s in Season, and News. Clicking on Find Farms takes you to a map of farms throughout the state, with tabs titled ‘Activities,’ ‘Pick Your Own,’ ‘Farm Products,’ ‘Facilities,’ ‘Services’ and ‘Special Events.’ Searching by ‘key word’ or putting a check mark next to a key word within any of the tabs, takes you to an icon on the map. Clicking the icon of choice displays the name of a farm in the right column. Clicking the farm name gives a complete description of that farm’s offerings, with directions for getting there.
The ‘Events’ tab shows a calendar of special events and activities on specific farms until the end of the year. ‘What’s in Season’ is a graph of fruits and vegetables and their seasons of harvest. ‘News’ is a variety of useful information and videos. A printed brochure available via the New Jersey Farm Bureau’s website www.njfb.orgdescribes www.visitnjfarms.org and provides a link to the site.
Sponsors of the website include Rutgers University, New Jersey Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association, and New Jersey Farm Bureau. “The site was designed to generate public awareness and encourage visits to New Jersey farms,” says Ryck Suydam, New Jersey Farm Bureau president.
New Jersey has 9,000 farms on 715,000 acres, with a market value of agricultural products in excess of a billion dollars/ $1-billion (source: 2012 census of agriculture).