Farm Calls: What You Can Do to Stop Illegal Nursery Stock Hucksters

Joel Flagler, Bergen County Ag Agent counted 11 back-of–the-truck hawkers on his way to work this past holiday season. Overnight “nurseries” spring up just before major holidays, selling trees, plants, and plant products.

Buy LocalThese are venders who don’t have their products inspected for diseases and pests like Jersey Nursery Growers must in accordance with New Jersey’s Nursery Law. They undercut local growers, evade New Jersey taxes, spend their proceeds elsewhere, and risk importing insect or diseased infested plant materials into our state. It’s a worsening problem.

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Farm Calls: Contemplating Hops

Northeast SARE USDA summer farm tour in Rhode IslandForestry Specialist Mark Vodak was recently “talking shop” with a friend who happens to be a berry farmer. His friend is contemplating a new venture this season – growing hops.

Hop, Humulus lupulus L., is an essential ingredient contributing to beer aroma & flavor and, is of interest in biomedical research.
Their conversation brings up some common questions about growing an alternative crop like hops in New Jersey:
  • Who do I talk to about growing hops?
  • What’s going on with hops in the region?
  • What do I need to know starting out when growing hops in New Jersey?

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Cherry Grove Farm Offers a Unique Opportunity

On our Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe website we talk a lot about the difficulty new and would-be farmers have learning farm practices and generating cash for a grubstake that would allow them to take the plunge into their small farm dream. Finding internships or job opportunities that offer a combination of sustainable farming skills along with a chance to hone the “people skills” needed for a successful agritourism venture are fairly uncommon in New Jersey.

Cherry Grove Farm is presently offering this type of opportunity. We support our state’s mission to encourage new and beginning farmers, organic and traditional, by showcasing opportunities as they become available. If you own a farm that is able to provide this kind of experience, share it on Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe.
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Improving Quality & Competitiveness of Jersey Tomatoes

This month in the Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe Newsletter:

GrapeTomatoToday’s market for shipped market tomatoes doesn’t allow us to simply go back to growing the varieties of the 1930’s.

Our breeding program, variety evaluations, and conducting consumer tastings are the path to redesigning a Jersey Tomato to meet the needs of today’s markets and consumer expectations. The Jersey Jems trademark, prepared by Ag Agent Peter Nitzsche, offers farmers a Jersey marketing identity for better grape tomatoes. These projects, together with our work evaluating heirloom tomatoes, connecting with consumers at the Great Tomato Tasting, and identifying superior post-WWII hybrids, contribute to sustaining New Jersey’s signature tomato crop.

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