– New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher on Friday completed Part One of his Jersey Fresh tour to highlight the many varieties of produce now available at the peak of growing season. Secretary Fisher visited the ShopRite of Greater Morristown in Morris County on Thursday and then visited Larchmont Farms in Salem County on Friday.
“We are at the height of Jersey Fresh season and our farmers are providing outstanding product to consumers,” Secretary Fisher said. “The partnerships with ShopRite and other supermarkets help us deliver outstanding quality fruits and vegetables throughout the state.
Like all of the 140 ShopRite stores in New Jersey, the ShopRite of Greater Morristown features a wide range of Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables. They include blueberries, peppers, sweet corn, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, peaches and others. Many of those items come from Tranquillity Farms in Sussex County, which supplies more than 20 supermarkets with its more than 800 acres of produce.
“We are really proud of our partnership with the Jersey Fresh growers who provide our stores with delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Our family owned and operated ShopRite stores have a long tradition of working with local family farms and food producers, and our partnership with Jersey Fresh is a natural extension of this commitment,” said Nicholas Sumas, a third-generation grocer and Chief Marketing Officer of Village Super Market, Inc., which owns the ShopRite of Greater Morristown. “Customers have become increasingly interested in sourcing their food locally and supporting neighborhood businesses, so we’re expanding our Locally Grown program by working hand-in-hand with family farms to provide even more locally grown and sourced foods.”
Fisher also visited the ShopRite of Parsipanny Thursday, above, to sample produce and talk with staff at the store.
Plenty of fresh peaches are available and one of the places to find them is Larchmont Farms in Upper Pittsgrove. Larchmont Farms is a twelfth-generation farm owned by Tom Dunn and Charles and Keith Haines. It is located on more than 900 acres and has a reputation for delivering high quality peaches and other fruits.
“We are having a wonderful year with peaches,” said Keith Haines. “We have a very good supply and they are also tasting great. The weather has been just right for us and that’s always a key element in growing any crop.”
Larchmont Farms is also environmentally friendly, with the entire farm running on solar power and all of its fruit is packed into boxes that were made from 100 percent recycled paper.
“Larchmont Farms is a great example of why it’s important to support our local farmers. They take pride in what they do in order to grow the best quality produce," noted Fisher.
New Jersey is one of the nation’s top growers of peaches, ranking sixth in the U.S. in production value in 2016 at $28.4 million. The 2017 New Jersey peach crop is projected to produce between 55 and 60 million pounds of peaches on 5,500 acres, according to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council.
The peach season is well underway throughout the state. The first peach variety of New Jersey’s season is Sentry, followed by the Gala, Flavorcrest, Loring and Red Haven varieties. Next is the John Boy season followed by the Crest Haven, Gloria, Jersey Queen and Fayette varieties. The Encore and Laurol varieties wrap up the state’s peach season in mid- to late-September. White peaches are expected to begin shipping around the end of July and continue through mid-September.
Look for Jersey Fresh peaches in your local supermarkets, farmers markets and roadside stands. You can find what is available and where to buy Jersey Fresh items at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov
To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJDeptofAgriculture and www.facebook.com/JerseyFreshOfficial or Twitter @NJDA1 and @JerseyFreshNJDA.