CRANBURY – A 43-acre farm that produces and sells vegetables, eggs and fresh honey and a 48-acre farm that produces and sells specialty vegetables are the 66th and 67th farms preserved forever in Middlesex County through the Farmland Preservation Program.
The county, with its funds and contributions from the state and Cranbury Township, where both farms are located, purchased agriculture preservation easements on the farms. The 43-acre Rejay’s Farm is owned and operated by Sallie Toscano. The 48-acre vegetable farm is owned and operated by the Lum family.
The total cost of the development easement for Rejay’s Farm, located along Plainsboro Road, was $1.3 million. The state contributed $788,815 toward the purchase, while the county and the township each contributed $262,938. This purchase was completed on Jan. 10.
The total cost to place a permanent agricultural easement on the Lum Farm on John White Road in Cranbury was $898,006. The state contributed $538,803. The county and Cranbury each paid $179,601. The purchase was completed March 10.
“I am very pleased to be able to announce the additions of these two farms to the Middlesex County Farmland Preservation Program,” said Freeholder Charles E. Tomaro, liaison to the Middlesex County Agricultural Development Board. “This is great news, and I want to thank our partners at the state and the township and especially Sallie Toscano and the Lum family for helping us preserve Middlesex County’s agricultural heritage.”
Rejay’s Farm Stand offers eggs from organically fed, free-range chickens and naturally-grown herbs, vegetables, cut flowers and honey from the farm’s beehives. The Lum Farm offers pick-your-own vegetables from June to September and also operates a farm stand selling seasonal and specialty Asian vegetables and fruit from June to October.
The purchase of the agricultural development easements are accomplished through the County Preservation Program, with funds provided by the Middlesex County Open Space Trust Fund, contributions from the State Planning Incentive Grant fund and Cranbury Township, said Carol Barrett Bellante liaison to the county’s Open Space Trust Fund.
The Planning Incentive Grant program, administered by the State Agricultural Development Committee and the County Agricultural Development Board, mandates contributions on a sliding scale policy. The state typically contributes 60 percent of the total cost, while the county and the participating municipality each contribute 20 percent.
With the addition of the Toscano and Lum farms, 67 farms, totaling more than 5,000 acres of farmland, have been preserved throughout the County. That number includes preservation easements purchased through the County Preservation Program funds, as well as purchases made directly by the state, the municipalities, non-profit organizations and land donated to the county.
Cranbury has preserved 33 farms totaling over 2,600 acres. The County Preservation Program has contributed to more than 64 percent of those purchases.
A number of applications for the county preservation program are in various stages of the process. Farms located in Monroe, Cranbury and South Brunswick townships, totaling 467 acres, are expected to be added to the program over the next several years.
“My Freeholder colleagues and I are committed to preserving as much Open Space and Farmland as we can in an effort to maintain the cCounty’s high quality of life,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “We have saved forever more than 12,000 acres of open space and farmland and are actively pursuing more acres so that these precious lands can be enjoyed now and in the future.”
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