It’s hard to think of new Jersey as anything more than highways and factories. In between the Turnpike and also the Parkway, it can sometimes feel favor the entire state of new Jersey is just a long driveway to brand-new York City. But despite gift a hotbed that industry and being the nation’s many densely inhabited state behind Washington D.C., brand-new Jersey has the nerve to officially explain itself “The Garden State.”

Perhaps this is part of the reason why brand-new Jersey finds itself in ~ the finish of so plenty of jokes. The audacity of new Jersey to speak to itself The Garden State as soon as all you can see on your method to brand-new York City room rows and rows the smokestacks. There are many reasons this state is for this reason misunderstood, and also the juxtaposition in between what brand-new Jersey looks prefer from the next of the highway and the main state nickname is one of the large ones, because the fact is, brand-new Jersey is an farming juggernaut. Follow to the new Jersey room of Agriculture, the state is just one of the optimal ten producers of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash, and also asparagus. Impressive when you consider new Jersey’s usually size compared to its calculation of new produce.

You are watching: Why is jersey called the garden state

If friend look past the smokestacks and also industrial parks, previous the to buy malls and also urban centers, there are ranches (over 720,000 acre worth) scattered throughout the state. However the very first time brand-new Jersey was called The Garden State no at the 1876 world Fair in Philadelphia like regional legends had actually once told, and it wasn’t a reference to the whole state. The was quite a nickname provided to one region of new Jersey: The pine tree Barrens.


*
*
*
*
*

It took figured out farmers come learn how to maintain the temperamental pine Barrens, and several generations that farmers who came after come learn just how to grow commercially viable crops in this ecologically distinct landscape. Stefanie Haines of jaw Island Cranberry in Chatsworth, new Jersey is one of numerous examples. She’s a fifth-generation pine Barren cranberry grower.

Her great-great grandfather got the family farm in 1890, and it has been in operation ever since. “We have 1,400 acres of cranberry developing land,” says Haines, “and because that every acre of land we have about 10 acre of sustaining woodland to assist protect the water supply.” Both cranberries and also blueberries grow in sandy, acidic soil, but component of why cranberries are an especially successful in the pine Barrens is the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, an secret water mechanism that contains around 17 trillion gallons of water. It’s crucial part the the pine tree Barrens ecosystem, and a an important part that the cranberry cultivation process.


Cranberries space perennial plants grown in bogs. As soon as the cranberries are prepared for harvest, farmers fill these bogs with water bring about the ripe cranberries to float. For cranberry farmers in the jaw Barrens, that water is pumped directly up indigenous the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer and recycled throughout the season. “You will never find a more passionate environmentalist 보다 the cranberry grower,” says Haines. “The key to growing cranberries is where’s the water coming from and also where perform you desire it come go. And also protecting the water is our height priority.”


Haines is cursed to land stewardship. In fact, since of pine tree Island Cranberry’s forestry efforts, they were named new Jersey’s Outstanding woodland Steward of 2011 by the State department of environmental Protection.

See more: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs The Fldsmdfr Stand For? Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Fldsmdfr

But it’s not just around producing deliciously tart and also perfectly certain cranberries, it’s about taking care of the place she’s yes, really proud of. “I think that a small misunderstood. Yet that’s fine,” claims Hains. “For all the misunderstandings around the jaw Barrens, a lot of world want come come down and also see what we’re doing. Can’t avoid the tourists.” Haines states a most visitors involved the Pines not just for hiking, kayaking, camping, and other popular outdoor activities, but additionally to connect with the history and the area’s rural agricultural heritage. 

Farmers choose Haines help this state live as much as its seemingly contradictory nickname. “I never believed brand-new Jersey to be anything yet The Garden State,” says Haines. What provides the pine Barrens “barren” to part is what makes it a ar of abundance because that others.