The time is ripe to explore New Jersey blueberry production

Its the top crop in New Jersey, raking in some $84 million last year.

David Madden
July 12, 2018 - 1:29 pm
Workers are shown in a pro0cessing facility on the Macrie family blueberry farm.

Dave Madden/KYW Newsradio

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HAMMONTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — This is prime blueberry season in South Jersey, which is why long-serving state Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher traveled to the heart of blueberry country to tout the benefits of the fruit. 

Hammonton, N.J., is one of a half-dozen stops Fisher makes across the Garden State every growing season, each one touting a particular crop. The 800-acre Macrie farm is one of the largest in the area. Blueberries are the top crop in New Jersey, raking in some $84 million last year. The vast majority come from in and around Hammonton. 

N.J. Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher traveled to the heart of blueberry country
Dave Madden/KYW Newsradio

"We're about two-thirds of the way through the season, but there's still plenty of product available now," Fisher said. "Prices are good. There's great values for consumers. And I didn't even realize myself that on any given day, they can produce in the industry in New Jersey 250,000 cases in one day."

Paul Macrie is part of a 65-year family legacy. The majority of the product is distributed domestically, as far away as Nevada. Some of their stock goes to Canada and Great Britain, but so far the tariff war hasn't hurt him.

"We haven't really felt anything, because most of ours are domestic," Macrie said. "Even in the U.K. we haven't felt anything, because the only thing we'll get there is if we have another state or country there producing the same time as we are."

Some 500 pickers, mostly from down south, stay busy on his farm through the season. One worry Macrie has is the overall economy. The better it gets, the harder it is to find help.