- What is Jersey Fresh?
Jersey Fresh is an advertising, promotional and quality grading program originally developed in 1983 to help farmers inform consumers about the availability and variety of fruits and vegetables grown in New Jersey. Through the many years of the program, consumers' awareness has increased, and it has become the benchmark for other states to initiate their own state-grown agricultural marketing programs. New Jersey grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs. We are also ranked nationally in the top ten as producer of such items as blueberries, peaches, bell peppers, squash, tomatoes and cranberries.
Initially begun as a radio advertising campaign, the Jersey Fresh program has also used billboards, television and print ads, and colorful point-of-purchase (PDF 12K) materials to remind consumers about the availability of locally grown products. The Jersey Fresh message has reached nearly every state in the nation and in many countries abroad with special emphasis on consumers along the Eastern Seaboard from Richmond, Va., to Montreal, Quebec, where the campaign was translated in to French to accommodate this important New Jersey market.
- Why choose Jersey Fresh?
What makes Jersey Fresh produce so special is the basic quality and freshness of the individual commodities. When a commodity is featured as Jersey Fresh, it is guaranteed to meet a certain quality standard for the size, shape and coloring of that commodity. Often times when produce is shipped to New Jersey from other states, it must be picked, harvested, etc. before it is at its peak of flavor and ripeness. This is done to allow for both time and shipping conditions of that item from another state or sometimes even another country. If the commodities were harvested at their tree or vine-ripened stages, they would become bruised or damaged during shipment and would not have the shelf life necessary to be sold.
A Jersey Fresh commodity is grown right here in New Jersey and because of the obvious geographic proximity to local distribution centers, the commodity can be picked/harvested at its peak tree or vine ripened stage and offered to retailers in a much shorter amount of time. Additionally, when commodities are picked at their peak of flavor and freshness, more of the very important vitamins and minerals each commodity offers is retained within the commodity.
New Jersey is proud of its agricultural background and with a program such as Jersey Fresh, we are helping to keep the farming tradition in New Jersey. With its 10,300 farms and 730,000 acres of farmland, even though New Jersey is a very densely populated state, the program is working to keep our state green and growing and the garden in the Garden State.
- How do I participate in Jersey Fresh?
After registering with the Quality Grading Program, growers are licensed to use the Jersey Fresh logo on their packages. The logo indicates that the contents have been inspected and meet quality standards equal to or better than U.S. No. 1. This inspection standard adds a quality assurance note to the overall Jersey Fresh marketing program that is welcomed by wholesale produce buyers and consumers who want high quality products that are uniformly sized and consistently packed.
With food safety and quality uppermost in consumers' minds, the commodity inspection and grading service offered by the department is particularly important. Inspections and certifications at packing houses and processing facilities help guarantee that the products being shipped or processed meet all grade standards so that the commodities can be shipped domestically and internationally.
Most inspection services provided by the department are paid for by those for whom the inspections are done. Inspected products include shell eggs and liquid, dried and frozen egg products; turkey and chicken; fresh produce, including most fruits and vegetables grown commercially in New Jersey as well as fresh fruits and vegetables received from other growing areas at terminal markets.
Download the Jersey Fresh Quality Grading Program application.