by Tannwen Mount
After graduating from college, I felt the need for a little adventure and struck out on my own to try the other coast. After five years of living in San Francisco, I have returned to New Jersey. When I told people about my decision to move back east, they questioned my sanity. How could I possibly leave San Francisco for New Jersey? Obviously, these people had never been to Terhune Orchards and seen the real definition of Garden State.
Returning to Terhune Orchards and working on the farm as an adult has given me the chance to reflect on how our farm has grown and changed over the last 29 years. The Mount family purchased Terhune Orchards when my mom was pregnant with me, so this has always been my home. As a farm kid, I got used to sharing my home with lots of visitors. One of the most visible changes is the volume of visitors – now over 400,000 annually.
But what led to such an increase? Almost every area and aspect of the farm operation has grown and expanded. My parents share a long-standing joke: my mom can sell whatever my dad grows. What they really mean is that my mother is a very good marketer and has a keen eye for what people want. A lot has changed over the years in what we offer in our Farm Store, making it an even more attractive place to visit.
The Cider Building is now a very productive Bakery, which turns out the delicious pies, donuts, cookies, breads, and apple crisps you find in the Farm Store.
We built the Greenhouse to put my mother’s green thumb to work, launching our own home-grown plants. The number of different products we now offer in our store means you can now do all of your shopping at Terhune Orchards.
The other half of my parents’ joke is that my dad can really grow anything. He likes the challenge of a new crop, especially one that might not be quite suited for our soil. Our blueberries are a good example. Recently, he added asparagus to our ever-growing list of vegetables.
For me, who considers herself a bit of an apple snob, to return to the farm this fall and find new varieties of apples was a bit of a shock. When we bought the farm, the previous owners only grew apples, peaches, and pears. We now have over 30 different crops, many with numerous varieties.
Even more so than it was when I was young, Terhune Orchards has become a destination spot. Many visitors still come to buy a gallon of cider, but many come for the whole farm experience. With many more pick-your-own crops, fun farm festivals, and a barnyard full of farm animals, many families, grandparents and grandchildren come together to the farm just for the experience.
It also seems that we have lots more programs just for children now that I’m too old to take advantage of them. The Boo Barn has changed and matured into the Johnny Apple Seed Barn and the Barn of New Jersey Legends, a fantastic educational journey for children of all ages. Visits from storytellers, Molly dancers, and school tours keep our farm bustling with children. Now that we three children are grown, my parents have turned to educating the masses about agriculture, sharing their love of the land with the next generation of school children.
All the changes have led Terhune Orchards to become more diversified both in production and sales. I continue to be amazed at the incredible amount of hard work, creativity, marketing savvy, and dedication it takes to run our operation. Although there have been many changes to Terhune Orchards over the years, the core remains the same. It is our family’s business. One that we take pride in and happily share with the public. I am reminded of my father saying that even after almost 30 years, he loves what he does every day. It is an inspiring place to be. It’s good to be home.