While many New Jersey residents are continuing to enjoy the fun in the sun at the beach, others have set their sights on the state's farms as the agritourism season officially gets underway.

Pumpkin patch
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The Garden State ranks ninth in the nation in total agritourism dollars and nine New Jersey counties rank in the top 10 percentile in agritourism sales.

In 2012 alone, New Jersey had 347 farms that offered agritourism activities that generated $18.4 million in revenue.

"Agritourism is very important to our state because it brings in millions of dollars and helps the bottom line. At the same time, it provides the opportunity for people to enjoy our farms," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.

Among the things people can take advantage of at New Jersey farms include hayrides, corn mazes and pumpkin and apple picking.

"There are four seasons and people are always anticipating those changes and I think that is what really drives agritourism," Fisher said. "Every farm in New Jersey is different. Each one is special and each one has something unique to offer."

Fischer kicked off the season Wednesday during a visit to Liberty Farm's Sussex County Sunflower Maze.  Since opening in 2011, the sunflower maze has hosted visitors from Maine down through Georgia.

The number of farms in Sussex County country offering agritourism more than doubled from 22 in 2007 to 49 in 2012.  In addition, Sussex County ranks 85th in the nation in total agritourism dollars, with more than $1.5 million dollars in sales.

Click here for more information about agritourism in New Jersey.

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