🔴 New Jersey's acting governor signed a law declaring the official "State Juice"

🔴 The bill was inspired by a group of fourth graders in Cinnaminson

🔴 The fruit was the second most harvested fruit in the state last year

Add it to the list of New Jersey state symbols.

On Monday, Aug. 7., Acting Governor Nicholas Scutari signed into law, A-2271/S-3442 (Murphy/McKnight/Madden, Singleton), designating cranberry juice as the official “State Juice.”

The bill was inspired by the advocacy of the fourth-grade classes in Cinnaminson Township schools. In May, the state hosted students from Eleanor Rush Intermediate School to talk about why cranberry juice should be the official state juice of New Jersey.

Cranberry harvest (Photo Credit: Peter Oudemans)
Cranberry harvest (Photo Credit: Peter Oudemans)

Last year, New Jersey harvested 59 million pounds of cranberries, making it the second most harvested fruit in the state, said a fourth grader.

Another child pointed out the cranberry’s health benefits. Cranberries are a superfood that keeps our bodies healthy because they are packed with Vitamins C, E, and K, which help fight off germs.

In the 1700s, Andrew Rider who founded Rider College in Trenton sent a crate of cranberries to Queen Victoria of England and turned her into a “super fan,” another child stated.

“Our history is ripe with the love of cranberries. For this reason, we think that cranberry juice is the right juice to be the state juice,” a fourth-grade boy said.

There is more to the history of the New Jersey cranberry, too.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and Ocean Spray Craisins (Photo Credit: Ocean Spray website)
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and Ocean Spray Craisins (Photo Credit: Ocean Spray website)

Cranberries grow on an evergreen shrub that thrives in wet areas like wetlands and bogs.

According to the measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy, D-Burlington, , cranberries existed even before the arrival of the first European settlers in the Western Hemisphere as the fruit was a staple of the diets of Native Americans.

The Lenni Lenape people from southern New Jersey harvested wild cranberries. They used the berries in foods and beverages, and even for home remedies.

Commercial cranberry farming in New Jersey began in 1835 in a bog in Burlington County. New Jersey is now the third-largest cranberry-producing state in the U.S.

In the 1840s, cranberries sold for as much as $50 a barrel when merchants sold the fruit to sailors who ate the fruit, rich in Vitamin C to help ward off scurvy.

In 1917, New Jersey native Elizabeth Lee was the first person to make cranberry sauce from the berries and later joined forces with other farmers to start the Ocean Spray company, which is well-known today for its line of cranberry juice flavors and dried cranberry snacks known as Craisins.

“Congratulations to them, for their advocacy and their understanding of the process to get a law passed. I’m really proud to sign this bill on their behalf,” Scutari said.
Whether you splash a little vodka in it or drink it straight from the bottle, enjoy celebrating New Jersey’s official State Juice.

Scutari is Acting Governor while Gov. Phil Murphy is out of the state. He will return to New Jersey on Wednesday.

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