Cranberry farm to be preserved, not canned

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

PLUMSTED — Plumsted’s newest jewel in its farm preservation crown is the Havey Cranberry Farm.

Mayor Ronald Dancer said the acquisition of the Havey Cranberry Farm’s development rights is, at 342 acres, the largest single tract of land ever to be preserved from residential development in Plumsted.

Dancer said the Havey Cranberry Farm, on Cranberry Canners and Long Swamp roads, is now owned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and National Biodiversity Inc.

Dancer said the acquisition of the development rights for $780,000 was completed without the expenditure of any Plumsted taxpayer dollars.

According to Dancer, the funding sources for the $780,000 include $500,000 from the state’s Green Acres program, $200,000 from the National Open Space Institute loan to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and an $80,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to National Biodiversity Inc.

Dancer said the preservation of the Havey Cranberry Farm is also historic preservation. According to the mayor, the world’s first cranberry sauce was made on the Plumsted farm in the early 1900s.

Dancer said at that time, a Mrs. Lee and her brother, Enoch Bills, were the owners of the cranberry farm and with the assistance of F. Van Horn, who had experience with jelly and jam production, began producing and marketing their cranberry sauce.

Dancer said the success of the partners’ cranberry sauce production eventually went national when the business was moved to Bordentown and the hometown label, Bog-Sweet, was changed to Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce.

Dancer said with the preservation of the 342-acre Havey Cranberry Farm, Plumsted now has more than 3,300 acres of farmland and open space permanently preserved from residential development.

According to Dancer, since the Township Committee made land preservation a priority in 1990, the result has been that Plumsted leads Ocean County in the number of farm and woodland acres protected from development.

"The preservation policies of this Township Committee has prevented the construction of an estimated 3,000 homes and saved millions in school taxes," Dancer said.

Dancer said residential development decreased for the fourth consecutive time last year, making 2003 a year in which the least number of homes were constructed in Plumsted since the 1980s.

He said the construction department issued 24 residential building permits in 2003, nine fewer than the 33 it issued in the previous year.