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There’s a good reason why New Jersey is called the Garden State. The southern half of the state is loaded with farmland, and the sandy, acidic soil provides the perfect growing conditions for the state fruit: the blueberry.
Just over a century ago, it was impossible to find blueberries in a supermarket. They only grew wild, including among the scrubby trees and underbrush of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. In 1911, a farmer’s daughter named Elizabeth White teamed up with a USDA botanist, and together they crossbred wild plants to cultivate the world’s first commercial blueberry crop in Whitesbog, New Jersey.
By the 1960s, more than 200,000 seedlings produced by White’s initial crop had spread over 13 states, but there was no denying that South Jersey owned the distinction of “Blueberry Capital of the World.”
Today, South Jersey’s blueberry farms produce nearly 600 million pounds of berries annually, and many of those family-owned farms are the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
Blueberry picking is an activity for the whole family. The bushes, free of sharp thorns, grow berries low enough to the ground for even toddlers to pick. Sandy rows mean you won’t track tons of mud into your car, and most pick-your-own farms charge for their blueberries by the pound, meaning you don’t have to pay for more than you want to take home and eat.
Most farms open in late June, depending on the year and the weather throughout early spring. Blueberry plants continue to flower and produce fruit through late July, but it’s a good idea to call the farm before you head over to verify the conditions of their fields.
250 S Mannheim Ave, Egg Harbor City, NJ, USA
+1 609 965 5558
Picking Hours: Mon–Sun, 8 am–4 pm
113 Church Road, Medford, NJ, USA
+1 609 654 8643
Picking Hours: Daily 10 am–4 pm
3101 Nesco Road, Hammonton, NJ, USA
+1 609 561 5905
Picking Hours: Mon–Sat, 11 am–6 pm; Sun, 1 pm–6 pm
436 Pleasant Mills Road, Hammonton, NJ, USA
+1 609 561 2474
Picking Hours: Mon, Wed–Sun, 8 am–6 pm
330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ, USA
+1 609 924 2310
Picking Hours: Tues–Sun, 9 am–5 pm
901 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill, NJ, USA
+1 856 478 2500
Picking Hours: Mon–Sat, 8 am–7 pm