NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Rutgers Cooperative Extension continues its Ultra-Niche Crop Series with the upcoming workshop “Growing Beach Plums.” This workshop, the seventh class in the Ultra-Niche educational series for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on Nov. 8 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., simultaneously in Cape May Court House, Bridgewater and West Windsor, N.J.
The beach plum is a native shrub that produces small, tart, edible plums. Since 2005 growers and researchers have made important strides in developing beach plums into a commercial crop.
“The beach plum is the official fruit of Cape May County, is unique to our coastal environment and offers great opportunities for marketing and agritourism. It is great for value-added products such as jam, jelly, craft beverages and more,” said Jenny Carleo, County Agent, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County and the Ultra-Niche Crops Project Director.
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 garlic and how to make practical decisions on marketing and crop production.
The workshop will feature a 20-minute “Virtual Field Trip” video on the production and marketing of beach plums, as well as, a speakers’ panel that includes a farmer, specialist and a buyer.
The farmer is David Van Vorst, president of the Cape May County Board of Agriculture and the Cape May County Beach Plum Association. He has been growing beach plums commercially for over 10 years and is actively involved in beach plum research and development.
Also, on the panel is Jenny Carleo, County Agent, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County. She is currently conducting a two-year study, funded by the Cape May County Beach Plum Association, on pollination of the beach plum and was involved in the release of the new Rutgers Jersey Jems Beach Plum variety.
Participants at the beach plum 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.
Pesticide recertification credits are available for Ultra-Niche classes. 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://www.eventbrite.com/e/ultra-niche-crops-beach-plums-tickets-38005972888. The deadline to register is Nov. 1.
To find out more about the Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project, please go to https://njaes.rutgers.edu/ultra-niche-crops/.
— Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County