It’s difficult to think of new Jersey as anything more than highways and also factories. Between the Turnpike and the Parkway, it have the right to sometimes feel favor the entire state of new Jersey is simply a long driveway to new York City. However despite gift a hotbed the industry and being the nation’s most densely lived in state behind Washington D.C., new Jersey has the nerve to officially declare itself “The Garden State.”

Perhaps this is part of the factor why new Jersey find itself at the end of so countless jokes. The audacity of new Jersey to contact itself The Garden State as soon as all you have the right to see on your method to brand-new York City are rows and also rows the smokestacks. There are many reasons this state is therefore misunderstood, and the juxtaposition in between what brand-new Jersey looks like from the side of the highway and also the official state nickname is among the huge ones, due to the fact that the fact is, new Jersey is an farming juggernaut. Follow to the brand-new Jersey department of Agriculture, the state is one of the top ten producer of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash, and also asparagus. Impressive once you consider new Jersey’s modest size compared to its calculation of fresh produce.

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If girlfriend look beyond the smokestacks and industrial parks, past the to buy malls and also urban centers, over there are farms (over 720,000 acre worth) scattered transparent the state. But the first time new Jersey was dubbed The Garden State no at the 1876 world’s Fair in Philadelphia like regional legends had once told, and also it wasn’t a recommendation to the entire state. It was fairly a nickname offered to one region of brand-new Jersey: The pine tree Barrens.


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It took figured out farmers to learn just how to cultivate the temperamental pine Barrens, and several generations the farmers who came after to learn just how to prosper commercially viable plants in this ecologically distinct landscape. Stefanie Haines of pine Island Cranberry in Chatsworth, new Jersey is one of numerous examples. She a fifth-generation pine tree Barren cranberry grower.

Her great-great grandfather gained the family members farm in 1890, and it has been in operation ever since. “We have 1,400 acre of cranberry developing land,” states Haines, “and because that every acre of land we have about 10 acre of sustaining woodland to assist protect the water supply.” Both cranberries and blueberries thrive in sandy, acidic soil, but component of why cranberries are an especially successful in the pine Barrens is the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, an secret water mechanism that contains about 17 trillion gallons of water. It’s crucial part that the pine tree Barrens ecosystem, and a an essential part the the cranberry farming process.


Cranberries space perennial plants grown in bogs. Once the cranberries are prepared for harvest, farmers fill these bogs through water resulting in the ripe cranberries come float. For cranberry farmers in the jaw Barrens, the water is pumped straight up indigenous the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer and also recycled throughout the season. “You will never uncover a an ext passionate environmentalist than the cranberry grower,” states Haines. “The an essential to growing cranberries is where the water coming from and also where execute you desire it come go. And also protecting the water is our peak priority.”


Haines is committed to land stewardship. In fact, since of pine Island Cranberry’s forestry efforts, they to be named new Jersey’s Outstanding forest Steward of 2011 through the State room of eco-friendly Protection.

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But it’s not just about producing deliciously tart and perfectly firm cranberries, it’s about taking care of the location she’s really proud of. “I think the a little misunderstood. But that’s fine,” says Hains. “For every the misunderstandings around the pine Barrens, a lot of people want come come down and see what we’re doing. Can’t avoid the tourists.” Haines says a the majority of visitors come to the Pines not just for hiking, kayaking, camping, and other popular outdoor activities, but also to affix with the history and the area’s rural farming heritage. 

Farmers favor Haines aid this state live approximately its seemingly inconsistent nickname. “I never believed brand-new Jersey to be anything however The Garden State,” says Haines. What makes the pine Barrens “barren” to part is what makes it a location of abundance because that others.