Burlington County News

Eric Houghtaling: New Jersey’s Cranberry Crop Still Vital to Local Economies

TRENTON-New Jersey Agricultural and Natural Resource Committee Chairman, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling visited the Rutgers Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research station in Chatsworth to see what goes on behind the scenes in New Jersey’s once-vital cranberry industry.  Although commercial cranberry farms in New Jersey have declined in recent decades, it is still an important Jersey crop and a $16 million industry in New Jersey.

“Thanksgiving is when we enjoy our cranberries,” Houghtailing said. “You really don’t realize all that goes into making that happen.”

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According to the U.S.D.A, cranberry production and value decreased significantly in 2017, marking the lowest yield and price since the mid-2000s. The total used production was 196,000 barrels, with a value of $16,451,000. Blueberry production and value increased for the year, with blueberry prices reaching near highs of the mid-2000s and late 1980s. Growth in value outpaced increased production for the year. The blueberry harvest was estimated at 443,860,000 pounds, with a value of $83,788,000.

The Rutgers research center’s mission is to ensure the continued production and availability of high-quality blueberries and cranberries through basic and applied research; minimize the use of pesticides in the culture of these two crops; maintain research programs to study the health benefits of phytochemicals in cranberries and blueberries; and to investigate causes and controls of diseases that affect blueberries and cranberries.

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“There’s a lot of research that goes into not only increasing the size of the cranberries but also disease tolerance, mold and increasing the yeild,” Houghtailing said.

 

Visiting a Cranberry Farm

This week, we got a closer look at cranberry production in New Jersey. We often don't realize all of the work that goes into growing the produce we enjoy, and this was a important opportunity to learn more about a vital Garden State crop.

Posted by Assembly Members Houghtaling & Downey on Friday, 18 October 2019

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