For Immediate Release: February 22, 2013
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today invited annual bedding plant growers in New Jersey to join the Jersey Grown program to identify their plants as locally grown as they begin distribution of their materials this season.
The State Board of Agriculture gave final approval of the expansion of the Jersey Grown program to annual ornamental bedding plants in January, allowing growers to become licensed to use the Jersey Grown logo and market their plants as Jersey Grown for the first time.
“Consumers recognize Jersey Grown branded products as high quality and now growers can identify annuals as Jersey Grown, immediately communicating the plant is accustomed to our state’s climate and disease and pest-free,” said Secretary Fisher.
The Department worked with one large grower last season on a Jersey Grown annuals pilot project, which was met with much success and excitement.
To participate in the program, growers must first apply for a Jersey Grown license, which is available at this link: www.jerseygrown.nj.gov/jerseygrownappl.pdf.
To be identified as a Jersey Grown annual, plants must:
- Have enough healthy roots to hold their root ball intact when removed from their growing container.
- Have a canopy large enough to cover the soil when viewed from above and or have a stem caliper large enough to support its normal canopy or floral display.
- Should be no taller than three times the container depth.
- Foliage should be in a normal state of growth and not overly hardened or stunted.
- Shall be free of all disease, physiological defects, and physical injury.
- Containers shall be free from the presence of any foreign plants (weeds, grasses, etc.).
- Each bedding plant package must have a care/culture tag and an identification tag correctly specifying the common name and the botanical genus and species of the plant in the package.
“In addition to being acclimated and healthy, buying Jersey Grown products ensures your bedding plants are locally grown,” says Dominick Mondi, Executive Director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association. “Plus, locally grown means good for the environment and good for our communities.”
Since its inception, the Jersey Grown program has been expanded several times and now includes cut Christmas trees, firewood, sunflower seed birdseed and wood products.
Jersey Grown, similar to the Jersey Fresh program for local produce, was launched in 2004 to draw consumer attention to the availability of New Jersey trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. The program helps promote the state’s horticulture industry, which brings in more than $453.6 million in revenue a year.
Floriculture is big business in New Jersey, accounting for $179.6 million in sales in 2011. Bedding and garden plants were the largest contributor, bringing in $107.7 million in revenue. New Jersey ranked seventh in the nation in expanded wholesale value of floriculture crops, in a survey conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service.
To assist in the marketing of Jersey Grown ornamental annuals, those licensed to participate in the program will be listed on the Jersey Grown website at www.jerseygrown.nj.gov. The website lists all Jersey Grown growers, explains the different aspects of the program, has a search for New Jersey nurseries and garden centers and provides all the materials to become part of the program.
The Department of Agriculture and horticulture industry representatives urged consumers to buy local from our state’s farmers, nurseries, garden centers and landscapers as we head into the planting season.