Not Your Average Farm: The Impact of Terhune Orchards in Lawrence
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Jonathan Jacob ('23)
With more than 9,000 farms and over 300 farms in Mercer county alone, Lawrence residents are fortunate to call the Garden State home. New Jersey farms have become an integral part of their local communities, and many of us have enjoyed the variety of fresh produce and community events local farms offer. As a kid, I remember visiting Terhune Orchards the most. Located on the aptly-named Cold Soil Road, Terhune Orchards is a family-owned local farm based in Princeton, New Jersey that offers fresh farm produce and many other fun farm activities for people of all ages. When I was younger, I loved when my mom would take me to Terhune to pick strawberries and to feed the animals; these are memories I fondly remember even today. The owners of the farm, Pam and Gary Mount, are dedicated to meeting the needs of local residents and have truly created a sense of community through their farm’s activities. Terhune has hosted a plethora of events, from seasonal festivals to activities that include apple picking, strawberry picking, pumpkin carving, and pie-making. These social gatherings provide local residents with the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, and most importantly, make memories.
Terhune Orchards was founded in 1975 when Pam and Gary Mount purchased 55 acres of land in central New Jersey. Through hard work and dedication, along with a commitment to giving back to their local community, the couple helped Terhune Orchards evolve into a well-loved and widely-known farm consisting of 250 acres of farmland. The Mount family is the 11th generation of farmers in Central New Jersey, where they have grown over 50 different crops, each with numerous varieties, all while providing their customers with organic produce options as well.
Before serving as the three-time mayor of Lawrence, a member of the Lawrence Township Council, and the co-owner of Terhune, Pam Mount spent several years in the Peace Corps on the island of Micronesia with her husband, Gary. It was there that they learned about irrigation, sustainability, crop rotation, and employee management. The lessons they learned during their time in the Peace Corps inspired many of the sustainable practices that the farm later adopted, and because of it, many of their workers have been employed for 25 years or more!
Both Pam and Gary Mount have made consistent efforts to preserve farmland, using modern technology to further their farm’s potential. In my AP Environmental Science class that I am taking this year, I learned about the various types of irrigation that farmers use to manage and sustain their crops. My teacher, Ms. Buck, taught us that drip irrigation is the most efficient method as it reduces weed growth, keeps surface soil dry, and conserves water. The Mount family utilizes drip irrigation, along with other forms of energy conservation like rooftop solar panels (which allows for sixty percent of the electricity used by the farm to be free of charge). This thorough research into sustainable environmental practices is in part due to Pam and Gary’s daughter, Reuwai, who studied environmental science and biology at Princeton University. Local farms like Terhune Orchards adopt sustainable agricultural practices along with IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to enhance produce growth and gain consumer confidence, thus providing the community with a variety of safe and healthy crops. Terhune Orchards produces a diverse array of crops, including 35 varieties of apple trees, 5 types of carrots, 20 varieties of squash, 25 varieties of tomatoes, and many types of wines from their nine acres of vineyards. Today, the Mounts are strong supporters of the “Farm to Table” and “Buy Local” efforts, and they have maintained their passion for giving back to their community.
Terhune Orchards has won several awards from the state of New Jersey for their dedication and commitment to serving the local and extended community. For instance, the Mount Family was awarded and honored as the “Vegetable Grower of the Year” in 2018, and Gary Mount was named the National Apple Grower of the Year in 2005. For their dedicated service to the agricultural and local community, Terhune Orchards has been honored by the state of New Jersey and various other associations.
Local farms like Terhune Orchards help the environment and their communities by providing customers with farm-fresh and organic produce through the aforementioned sustainable practices. Terhune Orchards has left an unparalleled, positive impact on Lawrenceville and in New Jersey overall. With community-driven leaders like Pam and Gary Mount, I am sure the farm will continue to grow for years to come.