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Local Farmers Celebrate the Addition of Central Jersey to the State Tourism Map

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted December 7 2023

Griggstown resident Brad Fay hosted a celebratory gathering at Terhune Orchards in Lawrenceville with music, speeches, local-made artisanal cheeses, wine, and beer, and other hand-crafted beverages on November 17.

Joining the party at Terhune Orchards, from left: Petra Gaskins, chief of staff to Sen. Zwicker; Mercer County Commissioner Cathleen Lewis; Terhune Orchards Owner Pam Mount; Founder of Discover Central New Jersey Brad Fay; Lawrence Councilwoman- elect Patricia Hendricks Farmer; Senator Andrew Zwicker; and Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros.

“It was five years ago today that we first had a meeting at Eno Terra Restaurant in Kingston where we talked with a handful of farmers, restaurateurs, and wine makers about the fact that New Jersey was ignoring some of its greatest attributes,” Fay said.

He was referring to the beautiful region of Central New Jersey. Its lush farms were ripe with possibility in the increasing popular agritourism business. “Here we, the Garden State, with the best nickname from any kind of agricultural region, and yet, our state had not been promoting it.”

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Fay helped put together a Central New Jersey marketing program. A primary issue, though, was getting the region on the state tourism map. Two people, in particular— Senator Andrew Zwicker and his chief of staff, Petra Gaskins— had a tremendous impact on getting the state officials to recognize the value of the area.

Gaskins seemed to be an unlikely ally, as a councilwoman in the city of New Brunswick, which is not known for farms. However, Gaskins says Central Jersey has other things going for it that make it attractive to tourists. First, the D&R Canal State Park is the second most-used park in the entire state of New Jersey, she said.

From left: Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan with Cherry Grove farmers Anna Reinalda of Rocky Hill and Chrissy Raskauskas.

Also, the region is rich in historic significance. “How many people know that the city of New Brunswick hosted the third public reading of the Declaration of Independence.” “So all the history that you think about in Philadelphia, especially the Revolutionary War sites, are right here in Central Jersey—Princeton, Trenton, and more... “While we are celebrating being added to the map today, a few years from now we are going to be celebrating this investment and how it is helping our economy and our local region prosper.”

Senator Andrew Zwicker concluded that now it is up to the businesses to make sure that Central Jersey stays on the map as a place for tourists to visit. “It’s up to us to have the best apples, the best wine, the best grapes, the best historical sites, the best beer, the best restaurants, the best farms, the best cheese, the best dairy — the best products. “We are going to promote it, but it’s going to sell itself.”


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