Feds Spend $777K On Ads Promoting NJ Blueberries, Other ‘Minor Small Fruits’

October 8, 2013 - 9:30 AM

Harvesting strawberries

Harvesting strawberries (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given $777,044 to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for 13 marketing projects, including a radio ad campaign to increase consumption of the Garden State's blueberries and other “minor small fruits,” the USDA announced late last month.

The block grants, which were awarded before the current government shutdown, will be used to develop a “targeted promotional campaign” that encourages people to consume New Jersey blueberries as well as other agricultural products, including wines, peaches, and cranberries.

The federal money will also be used to market “minor small fruits such as strawberries, brambles, and ribes” - a group of fruiting plants that include currants and gooseberries - and to educate “low-income families and the general public” on the nutritional value of New Jersey’s special crops “through video, online resources, and handouts.”

“Much of New Jersey agriculture falls into the specialty crop category, which account for $882.4 million in sales annually in the Garden State,” a N.J. Department of Agriculture press release said. The federal grant is “part of $52 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants funding 694 projects throughout the nation for 2014.”

“This funding will help everyone understand what followers of the ‘slow food’ movement, farm-to-table restaurants, and farmers’ markets already know – New Jersey farms produce some of the finest fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products in the nation,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said in a press release.

The campaigns include “market research of wine consumers,” radio advertisements to promote blueberries, print and television ads to promote the Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown brands, “print media and various promotional events” to promote peaches, and the marketing of cranberry products toward people “suffering from metabolic syndrome.”

CNSNews previously reported that the USDA “spent $55 million in fiscal 2012 to promote and market 748 ‘specialty crops’ across the country,” which included funding to the Garden Club of New Jersey for its efforts “to increase awareness and appreciation of organic gardening.”