AmericanFarm.com

Show some #jerseyfresh love (Editorial)

(June 15, 2017) The boy appeared to be seven, or maybe eight years old.
Standing on a stepstool, he was leaning over a wash tub, swirling his hands in soybeans, which filled half of the tub.
He would scoop up handfuls of the soybeans and let them dribble between his fingers.
“They feel good,” he said. “What are they?”
“Soybeans.”
“What are soybeans?”
“Farmers grow them.”
“For what?”
“They use them to make feed for the chickens.”
The boy continued to swirl his hands through the soybeans and watch them as they spilled from his hands and back into the tub.
“This is the first time I ever heard about soybeans,” he said. “They’re cool.”
That conversation, inside a tent set up in Baltimore to attempt to let folks there know what farming is all about, is not an exaggeration. It is not overzealous in its attempt to inform not only youngsters but often their parents as well that as farming goes, so goes — among many other considerations — your trip to the supermarket.
The agricultural industry — in all of its conglomerate parts — has been on a mission: To educate the 21st century families who have little if any ag savvy and who dominate our current culture, on what it takes to grow the food they eat and to get that food on their dinner tables.
Among those efforts is the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s #jerseyfreshlove photo contest on Instagram.
The contest, which will last through Aug. 31, encourages people to post photos of favorite fruits, vegetables, markets, pick-your-own farms and agritourism activities on Instagram using the #jerseyfreshlove hashtag.
This year’s grand prize will be a choice of a Jersey Fresh Experience worth up to $500. The contest will also feature one winner each week that will receive a Jersey Fresh Prize Pack.
“The #jerseyfreshlove campaign was a success last year, with fans submitting thousands of photographs from all over New Jersey,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said. “We appreciate all who participated and your ongoing support of local New Jersey farmers, markets, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and products. We urge people to share their love of everything Jersey Fresh, our successful 33-year-old agricultural branding program.”
Last year’s winning entry from Ryan Briggs, owner of Outlaw’s Burger Barn and Creamery in Vineland, was captioned “Burgers, Jersey Fresh style!,” featuring a crab cake burger comprised of ground beef, blue crab cake, Jersey Fresh tomatoes and organic field greens, topped with sriracha lime aioli. Briggs summed the photo up with the hashtags: #burgers #surfnturf #jerseyfresh #jerseyfreshlove #farm2fork #burgerroutecontest.
“We loved being part of the contest last year and the attention it brought to our business,” Briggs said. “Using Jersey Fresh produce in our food is a natural and logical choice for us. The #jerseyfreshlove contest also allowed us an opportunity to showcase some creative offerings as well as the traditional items we have on our menu.”
New Jersey agriculture industry generates cash receipts in excess of $1 billion with a $12.8 billion economic impact. It’s worth showing off.