Agritourism — farms and other agriculture enterprises opening up to visitors for a variety of events and product sales — is thriving in the Garden State.

State Agriculture Department Marketing Director Thomas Beaver says these "shoulder of the road" farm tourism ventures have come a long way in a short time.

"Overall, the state ranks 9th in the nation in agritourism revenue," he said last week.

That translates into total direct-to-consumer sales of $123 million.

"At this point, we now have nine counties in the state that rank in the top 10 percent nationwide in agritourism sales," he said.

"We know that it continues to grow and we know that we are in a position now where we are among leaders, nationwide, in these on-farm opportunities. So I think that it is definitely a growth category."

Beaver says from Cape May County to Sussex, you can pick apples or pumpkins for Halloween or visit a winery on weekends.

"I think that that is really the story, is the growth, and that fact that everybody in New Jersey has these opportunities now to get out to the farm.," he said.

You can find farms to visit at findjerseyfresh.com.

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5