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January 12, 2011

On a snowy day like today, it might be hard to remember that the moniker of Garden State is not a misnomer -- regardless of what the rest of the country thinks. New Jersey sold $347 million in horticultural products in 2009, ranking it eighth in the country by the USDA’s Census of Horticulture. That ranked it behind California, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Michigan and North Carolina but ahead of neighboring New York and Pennsylvania.

According to the census, New Jersey had 623 horticultural operations, which were defined as any place that grew and sold $10,000 or more of floriculture, nursery and specialty crops.

Sales of nursery stock made up the largest segment of New Jersey's horticulture sales (43 percent), ranking it sixth in the country. Sales of annual bedding and garden plants were the next largest segment (22 percent), followed by potted herbaceous perennial plants (14 percent). New Jersey ranked fourth in the country for cut flowers, with sales of $11 million, and saw a big growth in transplants for commercial vegetable and strawberry production, with $2.5 million in sales, ranking it seventh.

The parts of the market that saw a drop since the last census, in 1998, were sales of sod, sprigs and plugs; potted flowering plants; cut Christmas trees; and foliage plants.

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