Between July 5th and August 10th, the most wonderful little fruit in New Jersey is at its best. Its best for picking and harvesting, and totally at its best for eating. What is this magical little fruit of which I speak? The blueberry, of course! I mean, it shouldn’t have been that hard, it’s in the title of the article.
New Jersey is famous for its blueberries. In fact, they’re so central to our agricultural economy that they were declared the state fruit. Every year they are among the top five crops in the state. Nationally, New Jersey commonly ranks within the top ten of blueberry producers, and already, so far this year, our fresh market production is up to a whopping 32,930,000lbs.!
So, since these little blue jewels are going to be at their peak picking time in just a couple of weeks, you should know all there is to know about where to find them.
First and foremost, and most convenient, are the retailers. The grocery stores and supermarkets that sell ready-packed pints. The following list is directly from the Jersey Fresh website.
- Fairway Market
- Stop & Shop
- Trader Joe’s
- Blue Apron
- Murphy’s Fresh Markets
- Sprout’s Farmer’s Market
The second most convenient way of obtaining those juicy little suckers is by finding them at farmer’s markets, both permanent and seasonal. The permanent businesses are many, too many to list in this article, but easily found with Google.
The seasonal farmers markets that pop up in town parking lots in May are town-sponsored events, typically occurring on weekends, mainly Sundays. Look at your town’s website or just Google “farmers markets NJ towns”. Some examples are the Morristown farmers market, Bernardsville, Asbury Park, and Burlington. Nearly every major town in the state has one running from Spring to early Fall.
The final and least convenient, but most fun, way of getting Jersey blueberries is to pick them yourself. Of course, this requires a trip to a farm that has u-pick opportunities. If you want to go straight to the source, the center of the blueberry universe, then you can and should. This blueberry mecca is none other than Hammonton, the town-of-origin name most likely to be on the blueberry pints you buy at the store.
Hammonton and the surrounding area is full of blueberry farms, most of which offer pick-your-own options. These are farms including, but not limited to, Blueberry Bill, DiMeo Blueberry Farm, and Lindsay’s Farm.
A simple Google search will guide you to other u-pick farms that are closer. Like the farmer’s markets, u-pick farms in New Jersey are too many to list here, but they cover nearly the entire state, top to bottom, so chances are good that you have one near you, and chances are good that they have at least a small blueberry crop to pick.
If you’d like more information about Jersey blueberries, you can visit the state Department of Agriculture. They have years, maybe decades of data on blueberry crops. And of course, maybe the best guide to anything fresh in New Jersey, is the Jersey Fresh website (link is above).
Cheers, and enjoy the blueberries, they only come around once a year for just a month-long window of time!