The United States is the world leader in cranberry production, with the Pine Barrens being particularly known for their berries. According to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, cranberry and blueberry cultivation thrives in the area because the fruit has adapted to the unique conditions of the Barrens. Blueberries can grow in a variety of forms, depending on location, but the acidic soil of the Pine Barrens is specially prepared for them to thrive.
“[The Pine Barrens] has good drainage because it’s sandy soil, it has a low pH and it has acidity,” Anthony DiMeo, a blueberry grower in Hammonton, NJ, told Jersey’s Best. “So those are the three conditions that blueberries really like, that’s what makes this area unique for growing blueberries.”
Still, while blueberries and cranberries prove that New Jersey is, in fact, a garden state, they’re certainly not NJ’s only bountiful crops. According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, New Jersey farmers produce more than 100 fruits and vegetables. The state is a top 10 producer of blueberries and cranberries, yes, but also tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and asparagus, among other fruits and vegetables. With so much fresh produce, the Garden State is well worth a visit — and a meal. You’ll want to check out local restaurants and farm stands.