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SADC Preserves Nearly 600-Acre, Historic Cranberry Farm

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2004


Hope Gruzlovic




(PEMBERTON TWSP.) – Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus today announced the preservation of the Joseph J. White farm – a fifth-generation cranberry operation that played a key role in the history of both cranberry and blueberry production, and is the second largest cranberry producer in the state.

“The preservation of this farm helps protect the rich and diverse agricultural heritage of the Pinelands and ensures agriculture will continue to maintain a strong and vital presence here in the future,” said Kuperus. “We are pleased to add this farm – along with 25 others recently preserved as a result of stepped-up efforts in this region – to the state’s growing roster of permanently preserved farmland.”

“Cranberry farming is one of the traditional agricultural pursuits within the Pinelands, and the White farm has strong cultural and historical ties to the local cranberry industry,” said John C. Stokes, Executive Director of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. “Much of this property is in its natural state and, as preserved farmland, will remain that way. This is an important success in the long-term protection of the Pine Barrens environment.”

Since February 2003, 26 farms covering 2,735 acres have been permanently preserved in the Pinelands, with an additional 52 farms covering 8,274 acres approved for preservation. In the prior 20 years, only one farm covering 190 acres had been permanently preserved.

The State Agriculture Development Committee purchased the development rights to the Joseph J. White farm on Monday. Of the 594 acres preserved, 538 acres are in Pemberton Township, Burlington County, and 56 acres are in Manchester Township, Ocean County.

Joseph Darlington, primary owner and manager of the farm, said the proceeds from preservation will be reinvested in the operation to make improvements and launch agri-tourism activities, including tours and a retail store that will sell a variety of cranberry products. The farm produces 70,000 barrels – or 7 million pounds – of cranberries annually.

The Joseph J. White farm dates back to 1857. It was among the first successful cranberry operations in the Pinelands, helping to change the local economy’s focus on bog iron to the great potential of cranberry cultivation. The farm pioneered the use of berry sorting devices, innovative packing processes and dry-harvesting cranberry pickers that pre-dated the introduction of wet harvesting.

Elizabeth White, eldest daughter of farm founder Joseph J. White, is credited with helping to produce the first cultivated blueberry crop in 1916, giving birth to a new agricultural industry that continues to be an important part of the agriculture and economy of the Pinelands.

Today, New Jersey ranks second nationally in blueberry production and third in cranberry production. That production is concentrated in the Pinelands. In 2002, the state’s cranberry crop was valued at $11 million and the blueberry crop at $47 million.

In 1968, the Joseph J. White farm sold nearly 3,000 acres – including the historic Village of Whitesbog – to the state Green Acres program for preservation. That land is now part of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.

The State Agriculture Development Committee administers the state Farmland Preservation Program. To date, 1,119 farms covering 124,650 acres have been permanently preserved statewide.