Middlesex County farmers garnish statewide awards

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County recently recognized three Middlesex County farmers for receiving awards from their peers.
The farmers will be honored as part of the 2012 Vegetable Growers of New Jersey and State Agricultural Convention dinner, on Jan. 18 at the Taj Majal in Atlantic City.
Jim Giamarese and his wife, Sue, will receive the Vegetable Grower of the Year award, given by the New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association.
Jim’s family has been in agriculture for several generations. Jim and Sue farm about 130 acres, and he is known as a very progressive farmer and one of the first in Middlesex County to market a “Pick Your Own” farm with a retail market.
Very visible in the community, the Giamarese’s run farm tours for schools and organizations throughout the season.
He provides leadership on the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture and has been a member of the New Jersey Ag Society Board of Trustees for 20 years serving as president from 2006-08.
Jim and Sue have been involved with Farmers Against Hunger for 18 years contributing to the program by offering their farm for gleanings each year. In 2003, the Giamarese’s 30-acre home farm entered the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program.
Jim received the National Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year award in 1989 and was the Middlesex County Farmer of the Year in 2010.
Bill Griffin is receiving the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award from the State Board of Agriculture.
Griffin is a second-generation Nurseryman and Christmas tree grower who grew up working at his family nursery, eventually attending Louisiana State for landscape architecture.
Always involved in agricultural leadership, Bill has been on the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture’s Executive Committee since 1973, and has held the posts of treasurer, vice president, and now serves as president.
On a state level, Griffin has kept active in agriculture, serving on the New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association’s Board of Directors from 1995-97, as well as on the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station’s Board of Managers from 1992-97.
More recently, he served as president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.
John J. Hauser will receive the Fruit Grower of the Year from the New Jersey State Horticultural Society.
Hauser represents the fourth generation of Hauser farmers who have tended the same ground in Old Bridge for more than 125 years.
He is now the president of Hauser Hill farms, selling fruits and vegetables, at his farm stand on Ticetown Road.
Since his 1974 graduation from Delaware Valley College, Hauser has dedicated himself to the stewardship of the land and making his community a better place.
Hauser has been president of the Middlesex County Board of Agriculture, delegate to the New Jersey Farm Bureau, a member of the Middlesex County Fair Association Board of Trustees and vice president of the New Jersey State Horticultural Society.
In 2009, Hauser received the New Jersey Vegetable Grower of the Year award, and he was also awarded as the Business Leader of the Year by the Old Bridge, Sayreville and South Amboy Chamber of Commerce in 2004 and selected as the 2001 Farmer of the Year by the Middlesex County Fair Committee.
Hauser Hill Farms, Ticetown Road, Old Bridge encompasses 300 acres of land. Hauser and wife Carolyn go beyond the farm’s roadside stand to bring produce to several markets per week.