Blueberry Capital

Jesse Fried • Jun 26, 2017

Hammonton is the center of blueberry production in New Jersey. Located on the edge of the Pine Barrens, a region that produces wild blueberries in abundance, Hammonton is where blueberries were first successfully cultivated for commercial production, by horticulturalist Elizabeth White. The roads around Hammonton today are surrounded by huge fields of endless rows of blueberry bushes in sandy soil. An intriguing sight is the school buses traveling these highways labeled "Farm Labor Transportation." One wonders who these farm workers might be.

An ice cream place on a road just outside of the downtown offers blueberry flavored ice cream and custard. The place itself is very Jersey: shining and metallic, featuring wall paintings of old movie stars, almost diner-like.

As much as can be generalized from a quick visit, the culture seemed to be somewhere between suburban NJ and Middle America.

Driving up route 206 from Hammonton to the Turnpike near Trenton, one notices a preponderance of diners, in an otherwise relatively generic rural American landscape of fields and strip malls.