Jersey Fresh Love Tour -- Secretary Fisher traveled through 10 New Jersey counties from Cape May up to Sussex County on a “Jersey Fresh Love Tour” on July 30 and 31, making stops at farms, farmers markets, restaurants, supermarkets, wineries and breweries to highlight the peak of Jersey Fresh season in New Jersey. Jersey Fresh Love is a social media campaign seeking Jersey Fresh produce fans post pictures on their social media channels about where they get their New Jersey produce, how the produce is being used and their favorite farms and restaurants to visit. The Department has been showcasing some of those pictures once a week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. The photos have depicted farm visits, recipes, home-grown produce, farmers markets and more. Secretary Fisher’s tour took him to the following locations: B&B Farms, Galloway Township; Margate Farmers Market, Margate; The Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May; Cape May Winery, Cape May; Cape May Brewing Company, Cape May; Genoa Farms, Vineland; Grasso Girls Farm Market, West Deptford; Shop-Rite, Cherry Hill; Peppadew Fresh Vineyards and Winery, Morganville; Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market, New Brunswick; Dreyer Farms, Cranford; Kings Supermarket, Ridgewood; Cava Winery and Vineyard, Hamburg.
Lt. Governor Guadagno’s Tourism Tuesday – Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray joined Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on a stop at Auburn Road Winery in Pilesgrove on August 18. The Lt. Governor promotes tourism venues on Tuesdays throughout the summer and wanted to highlight New Jersey wineries as great tourist destinations. While visiting, she and Murray toured the winery and learned about wine-making.
Animal Emergency Response Website – The Department has launched new website at www.animalemergency.nj.gov that will provide the public with up-to-the minute information they would need to protect their pets and livestock in times of emergency. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Animal Emergency Response website and its companion mobile and tablet sites provide resources for animal owners to prepare for disasters of all kinds. It gives them resources on what they can do prior to, during and after emergencies. The site is interactive, allowing people to simply type in their location to find the nearest help available, including animal shelter, veterinary hospitals, offices of emergency management, feed stores, county fairgrounds and Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices. In the event of an emergency, a “ticker” will be visible on the home page displaying real-time messages. The site has species-specific information for preparing for, during and after emergencies, describes County Animal Response Teams, and has information about disaster assistance. The creation of the website was made possible by a grant to NJDA by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Emerald Ash Borer – Emerald ash borer continues to spread in Burlington, Mercer and Somerset counties. Trapping in August has discovered the ash tree-killing beetles in Edgewater Park and Westampton Township, Burlington County; Hamilton Township, Hopewell Borough, Princeton Township and West Windsor Township, Mercer County; Bridgewater Township, Hillsborough Township and Franklin Township, Somerset County.
First On-Farm Brewery -- Secretary Fisher toured Screamin’ Hill Brewery in Cream Ridge, the state’s first on-farm brewery on August 25. The brewery is part of Bullock Farms, a 100-acre permanently preserved farm in western Monmouth County. The brewery, owned by Brett Bullock, a sixth-generation farmer, and his friends Ryan Cole and Patrick Jones, is currently producing five varieties of beer using ingredients grown on the farm. New Jersey had been home to many breweries before Prohibition and the Great Depression and now, New Jersey’s beer industry is growing steadily, with many unique beer varieties. A limited brewery, also known by some as a craft brewery, is allowed to brew up to 300,000 barrels of beer a year. Screamin’ Hill is one of 33 limited breweries operating in New Jersey. Brett Bullock said he, Jones and Cole had been home brewing for 10 years when they got the idea of opening the brewery on his family’s farm. They are currently growing their own hop, a key beer ingredient, wheat for their wheat beer and pumpkins and habanero peppers as flavorings for their beers. They produce five varieties of beer.
Farmers Market Week -- Secretary Fisher, Acting Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett and U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Patricia Dombroski marked Farmers Market Week on August 5 with a visit to the South Orange Farmers Market in South Orange. Governor Chris Christie proclaimed August 2 through 8, 2015 as Farmers Market Week in New Jersey proclaimed the week National Farmers Market Week to remind consumers to visit these markets this summer and fall. There are 147 community farmers markets in the state. Farmers who attend these markets sell produce they’ve picked at the peak of ripeness within 24 hours of sale to ensure the best taste and highest quality. Many of the farmers accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers and SNAP food stamp electronic benefit cards. These US Department of Agriculture-sponsored programs provide purchasing assistance to those in need.
Summer Food Service Program Visit – On August 3, Secretary Fisher, USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon and Regional Administrator Patricia Dombroski participated in a roundtable discussion at Rutgers Technology Center in Camden on cultivating the City of Camden’s Food System. On August 11, Secretary Fisher joined USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe and Regional Administrator Dombroski at the Amity Heights apartment complex in Bridgeton to help serve lunch to about 35 young residents through the NJDA’s Summer Food Service Program. Bridgeton has expanded the number of feeding sites in the program this year to serve more children in need while school is out for summer.
Case Institute -- Secretary Fisher visited Stone Bridge Middle School in Allentown on July 27 where 18 agriculture teachers from five states including 11 from New Jersey attended a 50-hour training course preparing them to teach a new rigorous, academic course on agricultural research in the fall. The Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Institute was hosted by Rutgers University, Upper Freehold Regional District and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Education from July 26 – 31. The participants became certified to field test the “Agricultural Research and Development” course and were provided the curriculum and practical experience to teach the course upon completion of the five-day session. The teachers will now report back to CASE on the course; any necessary adjustments will be made and then the course will be offered to all agriculture teachers. Agricultural Research and Development is the capstone course designed to culminate students’ experiences in agriculture, based on the pathway of study they pursued. CASE is supported in New Jersey by the State Department of Agriculture, Office of Agricultural Education and State Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education. There are 22 New Jersey school districts offering one or more CASE courses.
New Jersey Envirothon Team -- The New Jersey Envirothon team from the Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science Team #1 (Ocean County) this month represented the Garden State at the NCF Envirothon, which is North America’s Largest Environmental Education Competition. They placed 6th out of 52 teams - 45 teams were from the U.S., six from Canada, and one from Canadian territory.
Gleaning Grants -- The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Gleaning Support Program Grant. A total of $100,000, subject to availability of funds, is anticipated to be accessible to eligible non-profit organizations. Eligibility requirements include being a non-profit entity operating in New Jersey with evidence of a gleaning program for a minimum of 2 years within the past three calendar years. Gleaning Support Program funds should be used to support “gleaning activities.” This means gleaning the local New Jersey farm fields, collecting such gleaned locally grown products and distributing such gleaned locally grown products to New Jersey organizations to help feed our state’s hungry. The Public Notice, Eligibility Requirements and Application are posted here www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/gleaninggrants.html. The funding for the grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Governor Christie and the Legislature allocated $6.8 million dollar this year to be distributed quarterly to the state’s six food banks to purchase healthy food, with a high priority on buying locally grown produce from New Jersey farmers.
Equine Scholarship Available -- The New Jersey Equine Advisory Board is offering a $1,000 scholarship to help 4-H and FFA members pursue their equine activities. Members of organizations represented on the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board also are eligible. Applicants must be New Jersey residents between the ages of 15-19. The Sara Dubinin Scholarship, in memory of Sara Dubinin who loved horses, will be presented at the New Jersey Bred Equine Breeder Awards Luncheon on January 24, 2016 at O’Connors Restaurant (formally Charleys Other Brother) in Eastampton. Sara, a Sayreville resident, graduated from Cardinal McCarrick High School in South Amboy in 2006. The 19-year-old was attending Middlesex County College when she succumbed to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident in September of 2007. Those interested in receiving the scholarship must submit an application form including an essay on, “How horses have affected my life and how horses figure into my future.” The application can be found at www.jerseyequine.nj.gov/dubininapplicationform.pdf. Consideration of applications will be weighted upon the candidate’s financial need. The deadline to submit the essay is January 2, 2016. It can be submitted to Lynn Mathews, 609-292-2888 or email@example.com.