They don't call New Jersey the Garden State for no reason. We have some of the best soil for growing just about anything you can think of in a temperate climate.

Our vegetables and produce are famous for their taste around the county but some of our farmers grow some pretty spectacular flowers, too. In recent years, more of these "flower farms" have popped up around the state.

We'll start in Central Jersey with a look at a few that you should definitely check out this spring and summer.

ALAN'S FLOWER FARM — Allentown.

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About 125 of their 165 acres are devoted to growing annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs and wood ornamentals (roses, forsythia, lilac, etc.) for cut flower production. Their most popular items are mixed bouquets, dahlias, sunflowers, eucalyptus, asters, cockscombs, and sweet William.

DUCHESS FARMS — South Brunswick.

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They're a private farm and must make an appointment to visit. The property is now available for photo shoots as well.

They are committed to using pesticide and herbicide-free, sustainable practices in their farming and to increasing the opportunity for people to enjoy the beauty of fresh-cut local flowers.

HAPPY DAY FARM — Manalapan.

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Farmer Tim (Tim Stockel) has been the owner and operator of Happy Day Farm since 2012. He was raised in Manalapan and is the youngest of five siblings.

As a junior in High School, he started his own landscaping business which soon grew from a small cutting lawn business, to a full-service landscape and hardscape design. Along with the beautiful flowers they grow Happy Day also sells its own honey and maple syrup.

HIDDEN SPRING LAVENDER FARM — Skillman.

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This is truly a special place where you can make an appointment to walk an Alpaca on a Saturday morning or afternoon or have a farm-to-table dinner there in May. They're open on Saturdays and Sundays and you don't need to make an appointment to stop by. Your visit is free.

HOLLAND RIDGE FARMS — Cream Ridge.

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The Jansen family has been in the tulip industry for over 100 years. Great Grandpa Casey was a bulb grower and seller in Holland. He taught his son Casey Sr, who came to America as a teenager and started a tulip-growing business right here in NJ.

In turn, Senior taught his son Casey Jr. the tricks of the trade. Together they grow and sell millions of fresh-cut tulips to customers across the country. It's perfect for pick-your-own flowers or taking amazing photos.

FURTHER NORTH

MAD LAVENDER FARM — Milford.

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Who doesn't love lavender growing on acres and acres of scenic Hunterdon County farmland close to the Delaware River? If you're into goats and yoga and being out in the country on a beautiful 10-acre farm with really cool folks, Mad Lavender Farm is for you.

FURTHER SOUTH

DALTON FARMS — Swedesboro.

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It's my daughter's favorite place in the spring. You can pick your own tulips and make your own bouquet. Their tulip festival runs through the 21st of this month of April. Acres of beautiful tulips and other botanical delights. A great place for a day out with the family or a date and amazing for photos.

Dennis' look inside Royal Farms

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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This has to be the best farmers market in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a great farmers market, you have to visit the Summit Farmers Market. This year they have over 50 vendors, offering a large selection of great produce from various local farmers, lots of specialty foods and more. There is also plenty of free parking. My dog and I went for a visit last week and took pictures of what they have to offer.

Vendors Not Pictured:

  • Adventure Kitchen
  • Angel Planet Foods
  • Anita's Baked Wonders
  • Bull 'N Bear Brewery
  • Fit Fed Puppy
  • Foraged Feast
  • Hummus Boss
  • Jana's Jammy
  • Java's Compost
  • Kariba Farms
  • Louis Organics
  • Luxx Chocolat
  • Made with Clay
  • Mangalitsa
  • Our Woods Maple Syrup
  • Roaming Acres Farm
  • Spice Sisters
  • Stefan's Polish Foods
  • Sustainable Haus
  • Valley Shepherd Creamery
  • WoodsEdge Farm

The Summit Farmers Market will be open every Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will last until November 20th. The market is located at Park & Shop Lot #1 on the corner of DeForest Avenue and Woodland Avenue.

Below are photos of some of the local vendors joining the farmers market this season:

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