Cape May Court House – Rutgers Cooperative Extension continues its Ultra-Niche Crop Series with the upcoming workshop “PYO Blueberries.” This workshop, the tenth and final class in the Ultra-Niche educational series for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., simultaneously in Bordentown, Bridgewater, and Cape May Court House, New Jersey.
Ultra-Niche Crops are defined as exceptionally high-value crops that can provide a significant source of income to the farmer while using a minimal amount of land. In this session, farmers will learn how to grow, market and sell PYO Blueberries and how to make practical decisions on marketing and crop production. “PYO Blueberries are a great addition to a farm looking to get into agritourism,” says Jenny Carleo, County Agent, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County and the Ultra-Niche Crops Project Director. “Blueberries are one of the easiest crops to pick and will attract families with children to your farm,” added Carleo.
The workshop will include both a live speaker’s panel, with Dr. Gary Pavlis and farmer Tim Haines, and a 20-minute “Virtual Field Trip” video on the production and marketing of PYO Blueberries. The video also includes an on-farm interview with Tim Haines, of Haines Berry Farm in Pemberton New Jersey, a third generation farmer who works the farm with his three boys, who are in high school and college, and his wife, who is a teacher. The family owned and
operated berry farm strives to make efficient use of inputs, maintain excellent land stewardship practices and produce high quality berries for its customers.
Also interviewed on the video is Janet Yunghans, of the family owned Littleworth Tree Farm in Tuckahoe. Janet and one of her best customers, Kathy Doerr, give tips on marketing to local consumers and advice on using social media for farms.
Dr. Gary Pavlis, a professor and agricultural agent at Rutgers University, shares his expertise in the video and on the speaker’s panel in the class. Dr. Pavlis, who specializes in blueberry and wine grape production, said, “There is a definite upswing in the desire for local produce by consumers. People want to know where their food comes from. PYO is the perfect answer and blueberries lends itself to PYO due to the ease of harvesting by the consumer. The consumer has the ability to hand pick as much or as little fruit as they desire.”
Participants at the PYO Blueberries class will be led through worksheets to help them determine whether or not growing this crop is right for them, their acreage, and their situation. The cost for this workshop is $20 and includes a dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m. Additionally, pesticide recertification credits are available for Ultra-Niche classes. Participants at the PYO Blueberries class can receive three credits for Agricultural Plant (1A) and three credits for Private (PP2).
For more information, contact Jenny Carleo at (609) 465-5115 or email Jennifer Matthews at JLM479@njaes.rutgers.edu. To register go to Eventbrite: https://rutgerscmcag.eventbrite.com. The deadline to register is February 19, 2018.
To find out more about the Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project, please go to https://njaes.rutgers.edu/ultra-niche-crops/. The Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project is sponsored by a grant from the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program with the purpose of giving new and beginning farmers an introduction to crops that can help them make more money on less land.