(TRENTON) – The Jersey Fresh promotional
and quality-standard program, now synonymous with New
Jersey agriculture, is marking its 20th anniversary
Kicking off the anniversary celebration tonight at the Eastern Produce
Council dinner, New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus told
more than 200 produce retailers, wholesalers, buyers, brokers, growers
and government officials that the campaign has become the premier state
agricultural marketing program.
“Universally recognized, Jersey Fresh consistently achieves its mission
to increase consumer awareness and preference as well as trade usage of New Jersey’s
farm products,” said Secretary Kuperus. “Jersey Fresh is the benchmark
for other states in developing their own home-grown programs.”
First unveiled at the 1984 State Agricultural Convention in Cherry Hill,
the program has grown from a $350,000-a-year regional billboard and radio
campaign to a $826,000 multimedia effort that touts New Jersey farm products
throughout the East Coast and Canada. In addition to media advertising,
Jersey Fresh is promoted through point-of-purchase materials, such as
signage and labeling.
“Through Jersey Fresh, we help guide our state’s locally grown, nutritious
produce from the farm to the table,” said Secretary Kuperus. “When
people see that red-and-green logo, they know they are getting the freshest and
safest locally grown produce.”
The meeting of the Eastern Produce Council – a trade association
of about 400 retailers, wholesalers and transporters – coincided
with the annual conference of the Northeastern Association of State Departments
of Agriculture (NEASDA), whose 10 member departments stretch from Maine
Building on the Jersey Fresh model, other NEASDA states’ marketing
campaigns include: Get Real, Get Maine, Massachusetts Made With Pride
and Grown and Fresher, Pennsylvania Preferred and Simply Delicious, Delaware’s
First Rate From the First State, Pride Of New York, New Hampshire’s
Own, A Product of Yankee Pride, Vermont’s Buy Local, It’s
Just That Simple, and Rhode Island Grown, Take Some Home.
According to a Rutgers University Food Policy Institute study, every
dollar spent on the Jersey Fresh promotional program through the year
2000 resulted in $54.49 of increased economic output in the state. That
means that the $1.16 million spent in 2000 increased fruit and vegetable
cash receipts by $36.6 million and created an additional $26.6 million
in economic activity within agricultural support industries in the state.
In total, the statewide economic impact of the Jersey Fresh program was
an estimated $63.2 million. The economic activity generated through the
program also increased New Jersey’s state and local tax revenue
by $2.2 million in 2000.
“Spending on Jersey Fresh directly helps our agriculture industry stay
viable,” said Secretary Kuperus. “We are preserving the farmland,
but we also want to keep our working family farms healthy and growing.
A 2002 study of the Jersey Fresh program found that 92 percent of people
either completely agreed or somewhat agreed that farm products grown
in New Jersey would be fresher than those shipped from other states and
82 percent agreeing that farm products grown in New Jersey would be safer
than those shipped from other states. The study also found that 88 percent
of shoppers said freshness was the most important factor when purchasing
fruits and vegetables.
The fresh market value of New Jersey’s fruit and vegetable production
for 2003 was roughly $200 million, according to the National Agricultural
Statistics Service. The state ranks in the top-10 nationally in the total
acres of land devoted to a number of fruits and vegetables, including:
Second in cultivated blueberries; third in cranberries; fourth in peaches,
bell peppers and spinach; sixth in squash; and eighth in tomatoes.
“After 20 years, New Jersey can declare Jersey Fresh a huge success,” said
Secretary Kuperus. “But we’re not stopping there. We’re building
on that success with branding of different agricultural products: Jersey Grown
for landscape and nursery products; Jersey Seafood; Jersey Organics to incorporate
new organic standards; and Jersey Bred to be used by the livestock industry.”
Information about Jersey Fresh produce can be found on a consumer- and
industry-friendly web site, which allows visitors to get recipes using
Jersey Fresh products and to locate pick-your-own farms, as well as roadside
and community farmers markets. The web site address is www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.