Vegetable growers gather for update on business

FREEHOLD – With an attendance of about 150 people, the 39th Central Jersey Vegetable Growers meeting, held on Feb. 3, was heralded as a success.

Topics included vegetable production, herbicide developments, application tips, management of pumpkin, tomato and squash diseases, producing and marketing ethnic leafy greens, heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn varieties and marketing alternatives for local growers.

Angelo DiGregorio, of Howell, was recognized, as his farm and family are featured on the February 2006 cover of the national vegetable magazine “Amer-ican Vegetable Grower.” The DiGregorio family owns Twin Pond Farm on Route 9.

The meeting was organized by Mon-mouth County Agriculture and Resource Management agents William Sciarappa and Richard Obal, with agents and specialists from Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension as speakers.

Additional guest speakers were Freeholder Theodore J. Narozanick, Farm Bureau President Rich Nieuwen-huis and Jersey Fresh representative Jackie Bicker.

According to a press release from the county office of public information, Narozanick spoke on the continuing success of the farmland preservation program in Monmouth County.

“There are so many important issues connected to the preservation of our agricultural heritage,” Narozanick said. “Preserved farmland vistas encourage tourism, add to the resale value of homes and offers residents reasonably priced, nutritious and delicious home-grown Monmouth fresh produce.”

As of January, 9,437 acres of farmland have been preserved, which is equal to one-fifth of all farmland in Monmouth County, Narozanick added.

Narozanick commended Obal and the Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension staff and pledged to continue his efforts to help the New Jersey farming community.

“The agricultural industry in Mon-mouth County is very diverse, dynamic and economically strong, and we are indeed fortunate to have the staff of Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension of Monmouth County diligently working to provide the many varied programs and services that educates and enriches the lives of our residents,” Narozanick said.