Historians quibble over whether it was Ben Franklin or Abraham Browning who first called New Jersey the Garden State, but both used the phrase for the same reason. The state is full of green goodness that benefits its neighbors. Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being among the best you can buy and New Jersey is a world leader in blueberry and cranberry production. Not bad for the most densely populated state in the U.S.
The first site to be recognized as a National Reserve, New Jersey’s Pine Barrens is also a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve. It is home to endangered species from the plant and animal kingdoms alike. European settlers considered the area barren because the sandy, acidic soil didn’t support the crops they tried to grow there. The conditions are perfect, however, for more than 800 other species of plants, including orchids and carnivorous plants. Beneath the Pine Barrens is the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, which contains 17 trillion gallons of some of the purest water in the United States. Who knew???