PHOTO: Monmouth County Freeholders Serena DiMaso, Esq. and Thomas A. Arnone spoke to shoppers and the media at the Grown in Monmouth kickoff at Saker ShopRite in Howell on Thursday, May 4. Also pictured are Louis Davino of Louis Davino Greenhouses, Tony Rego, VP of Sales & Merchandising at Saker ShopRites and Richard Saker, president and CEO of Saker ShopRites.
Monmouth County teams up with Saker ShopRite and Louis Davino Greenhouses
HOWELL, NJ – The first locally grown flowers and vegetables under the “Grown in Monmouth” brand are now available for purchase at ShopRite stores owned by the Saker family in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer counties.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders were on hand as Louis Davino of Louis Davino Greenhouses in Millstone Township, introduced the expansive line of branded seasonal and specialty flowers and vegetable plants grown in his greenhouses now being supplied to ShopRite stores owned by the Saker family.
“Monmouth County has worked to create the Grown in Monmouth brand that will enable our agricultural community to clearly identify their products as locally grown,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the county’s economic development division. “Davino Greenhouses and Saker ShopRites are the first to take advantage of the new Grown in Monmouth brand and label. We are looking to add other qualified growers to the initiative as the program expands.”
“All of these plants were started from seed in our Monmouth County facility,” said Mr. Davino. “The next step is for shoppers to plant the flowers or vegetables in their home gardens. They can be confident they will have truly locally-grown blossoms and produce when they purchase plants in “Grown in Monmouth” containers. If a plant is grown in the Monmouth County soil, or New Jersey soil, from seed to harvest it will be spectacular.”
“Saker ShopRites and the Saker family are proud to work with local farmers and Grown in Monmouth to stock even more locally grown produce in our stores,” said Richard Saker, president and CEO of Saker ShopRites. “Our Jersey fresh fruit and vegetables can include, depending on the season, blueberries, tomatoes, corn and many others. My own great-grandfather ran a small farm near Freehold before opening his first grocery store in 1916, so it’s a natural fit for our family-owned business to work today with family-owned farms in Monmouth County. That’s why we believe it’s important to support initiatives like Grown in Monmouth that raise awareness about our rich agricultural history and connect customers and businesses with local farms.”
“For people who may not have a home garden, or who may not have room to grow all the fresh produce and flowers they would like, we have a solution for that, too,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s agricultural and open space initiatives. “Our new, interactive web-based portal at www.GrownInMonmouth.com is a way for consumers and growers to search the Grown in Monmouth brand by product, activity or category.”
“Whether you are looking for a farmers market, farm stand, garden center, or a pick-your-own location, you are sure to find what you are looking for. The Searchable Online Directory, or smartly titled S.O. D., also allows growers to register and catalog their available products and activities to the Grown in Monmouth website,” added Freeholder Arnone.
In 2015, the Saker family purchased Dearborn Market and Farm, a specialty grocery, nursery and farm in Holmdel in Monmouth County. Dearborn Market is currently farming 25 acres of land to grow and sell vegetables such as zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and exotic eggplant along with a variety of plants. That produce is sold at Dearborn and the Saker family's neighboring ShopRite stores.
Grown in Monmouth is a program of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders that is designed to help retain and grow our County’s vibrant agricultural industry. Goals of the program include the development of a marketing program to promote consumer awareness and a preference for Monmouth County grown products, identification of new markets, connecting County growers with consumers, and providing business skills/assistance to our County’s agricultural community.