GILLETTE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When you think of well known New Jersey crops, summer staples like tomatoes and corn are what usually come to mind.
But as CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, the holiday season means big business for the dozens of growers getting ready to put their poinsettia crops up for sale.
The Beneduce Family is one of 50 poinsettia growers in the garden state, growing over 15,000 of the holiday plants in their one acre Morris County greenhouse.
According to manager Justen Beneduce Hiles, the growing process begins in July.
“It’s a really labor intensive crop,” he said.
The family’s Great Swamp Greenhouses has built up a loyal following over the years, selling over 20 different colored varieties of the plant.
“I said no, I know this great greenhouse by my home town and we should go there because they have a better selection and better customer service,” said loyalist Ryan Naples.
According to Great Swamp employee Tina Helmstetter, customers make sure they put orders in two or three months ahead of time because of the quality of their plants.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and became part of the Christmas tradition through Mexican folklore, according to Beneduce Hiles.
CBS2 reported that farmers produced more than 1.3 billion pots of plants valued at over $6.9 million last year.