Jersey Firsts: The stories of innovation in NJ, from blueberries to breweries

·2 min read

New Jersey innovators have changed the way we eat and drink with their inventions and groundbreaking businesses.

Where was the country's very first distillery — a place that is still in operation, influencing mixology with its apple brandy? Right here in Jersey.

Why are blueberries so commercially popular? Thank a New Jersey farmer and scientist.

That can of condensed soup sitting in your cabinet? It was invented in 1897 in Camden.

Even before the state was formed in December of 1878, New Jersey was the site of historic innovation. Our Jersey Firsts series is inspired by our forebears — those men and women that changed the way we live by introducing food and drinks we still consume today.

During the month of August, we'll publish five of these Jersey First stories, looking at these groundbreaking pioneers of the Garden State.

Here's a look at this month-long series.

Jersey Firsts: How a pioneering Jersey woman changed the blueberry industry forever

You can thank Elizabeth Coleman White for starting the first commercial blueberry farm in the United States. Here's how she did it. Read it here: Blueberry innovation.

Jersey Firsts: George Washington drank its brandy, and this distillery is still thriving

An apple conveyor at Laird's Distillery.
An apple conveyor at Laird's Distillery.

It's rare to have a business stay in the family for 10 generations. Here's how Laird's kept applejack alive all these years. Read it here: Laird's Distillery

Jersey Firsts: Jersey tomatoes were the key to Campbell's first can of condensed soup

Condensed soup remains an affordable meal with a long shelf life. Many families depend on it for a cheap lunch or dinner in a pinch. The process for condensing soup and the best tomato to use were cultivated here in New Jersey. Read it here: Condensed soup with Jersey tomatoes

Jersey Firsts: An ill-fated brewery in Hoboken was the first in the country

New Jersey now has more than 120 breweries, but this was the first in the nation.
New Jersey now has more than 120 breweries, but this was the first in the nation.

Yuengling has long claimed the title of “America’s Oldest Brewery” — it was founded in 1828 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. But this brewery opened first — before America was even a country. It met a tragic ending. Read it here: Ill fated brewery in Hoboken

Jersey Firsts: Oreos are a Jersey original. Or maybe not so original after all

Oreos are often cited as a great Jersey first. But maybe they're not quite so Jersey — or quite so first. What is true is that the very first canister of Oreos was sold to a New Jersey grocer, S.C. Theusen, on March 6, 1912. Read it here: Oreos are a Jersey original

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Jersey Firsts: Stories of NJ innovation, from blueberries to breweries