JACKSON – Once home to thousands of acres of chicken, cranberry, feed, livestock and vegetable farms, this township’s long history and tradition as a farming community can be hard to see today, as most of the agricultural acreage succumbed to residential and commercial development in the past 30 years.
But now the future of that industry could soon be coming to Jackson in the form of a hydroponic farm, with a company that identifies itself as Pure Foods Realty submitting an application to the township to build a such a nursery on a 6.1 acre parcel of land on Herman Road.
Seeking a preliminary and final major site plan approval in order to construct the greenhouse warehouses necessary for hydroponic vegetable production, Pure Foods Realty’s proposal calls for five nurseries in which a hydroponic gardening system would be constructed for the growth of leafy vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes and strawberries. If approved, the project would be built in five phases, with each phase including one of five planned greenhouse/warehouse structures. Each structure will also contain a packaging and shipping area for wholesale distribution.
An office for administrative offices would also be constructed by Pure Foods Realty.
Several hydroponic farms exist statewide, including Village Farms in nearby Eatontown, Monmouth County. The specialized farming method allow growers to cultivate their crops without the worry of such environmental pollution as fertilizer run off while at the same time reducing the amount of water needed. Other benefits include an easier harvest, stable crop yields and limited need for pesticides.
Pure Foods Realty is being represented by Jackson-based attorney Raymond F. Shea. Their application is scheduled to be heard at the February 4th planning board meeting, held at town hall on West Veterans Highway at 7:30 pm.