TRENTON – An agricultural survey released Friday helped maintain New Jersey’s nickname as the Garden State, as sales of plants and flowers grew 7 percent last year over 2009’s total.
The floriculture industry’s crops were valued at $178 million in 2009, based on results from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which was conducted by the federal Department of Agriculture. Bedding and garden plants were valued at wholesale at $110.5 million, $12.4 million in flower sales.
New Jersey’s wholesale value of its plants and flowers ranked 8th out of 50 states and surpassed one of its neighbors, Pennsylvania, which ranked 10th at $162 million. However, the Garden State was slightly behind its other neighbor, New York, which ranked 7th and had a $183.1 million value for its floriculture products, according to the national survey.
“We have fabulous growers in this state,” said state Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher during a visit to Timothy’s Center for Gardening in Robbinsville. “The survey shows what we expected to see. New Jersey is a major producer of bedding plants used to beautify people’s homes and businesses throughout the state. By purchasing plants grown here in the Garden State, consumers are ensured the plants are acclimated to our climate to grow and thrive. The purchase also helps support our state’s farmers. ”
Fisher was not alone in his assessment.
“New Jersey is a leader in contractors and homeowners buying locally grown products,” said Dominick Mondi, executive director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association. “All the same benefits you receive from buying your produce locally, like higher quality, less fuel spent on transport and supporting the local economy, you get with purchasing flowers locally, as well.”
Among the plants that sell well are bedding plants, cut flowers, lilies, and poinsettias.
Timothy Serinese, owner of the Timothy nursery, which has been in business since 1965, said he has seen an overall increase in sales compared to last year. Among his best-selling plants are petunias, vegetable plants, flowering vincas. He said the growth shows the high value people have for plants to enhance their properties.