VINELAND — Officials in a city recently selected as the “garden-est” in New Jersey now want to also highlight what is growing in local farms.
City Councilman Paul Spinelli wants the municipality to find a way to showcase its farm markets in time for next spring.
Spinelli said he has asked the city’s Office of Economic Development to put together a list of local farm markets. The plan would be to either develop a map showing the location of those markets or, if that is too unwieldy, just a list that people can use to find the markets, he said.
City officials say it should not be surprising that they want to showcase local produce sold at local farm markets.
The city is located in agriculturally productive Cumberland County.
The last agricultural census performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture was in 2007. The results showed that the nearly $153 million worth of crops grown in the county ranked it first in New Jersey. The figure included the worth of nursery and greenhouse products.
Spinelli said his proposal was in part spurred by the city’s designation by the national real estate website Movoto.com as leading New Jersey in terms of gardens.
Movoto.com picked New Jersey’s 25 largest municipalities in terms of size. This city — with its 69 square miles — leads the state in that category.
David Cross, the website’s chief writer and content producer, said all 25 municipalities were ranked on a per capita basis on six categories. Those categories were flower shops; botanical gardens; nurseries and gardening stores; community garden areas; lawn-care services; and gardening clubs.
“The garden-est city in the Garden State, according to our survey, was Vineland,” Cross said. “And yes, we, too, were amused that verdant sounding Vineland took the top spot on our list. After all, with a name like Vineland, how could its residents not have green thumbs.”
The city beat out, in order of finish, Toms River, Piscataway, Cherry Hill, Clifton, Edison, Brick Township, Lakewood, Trenton and Union City.
City Council President Anthony Fanucci said the designation is a “positive selling point” for the municipality.
“Agri-tourism activities for children and families are becoming more and more important to the New Jersey tourism industry each year,” he said. “We have opportunities in Vineland and the surrounding area including roadside stands, bird-watching locations,, hiking trails, horseback riding and more which we can package and market as family day trips to potential visitors.”
And the designation has special meaning to some city officials whose families have longtime ties to the area.
“As the granddaughter of immigrant farmers who came to Vineland from Italy and Greece to do exactly that, farm, I am extremely proud that the lineage continues and 100-plus years later, Vineland is still the number one garden city,” City Councilwoman Angela Calakos said.
Movoto.com has done other rankings over the years, including 30 Reasons You Need to Move to Denver and America’s Smartest Cities.
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