Currently, 25 farms covering 800+ acres are certified in the program.
Murray Christmas Trees
Sean Murray owns and operates the Christmas Tree Farm in Tewksbury. The farm was certified in October, 2008. Murray proudly utilizes mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungus that helps the trees get nutrients with out added fertilizers while improving soil quality. The full-service choose and cut operation is open 9AM to 4PM Saturdays and Sundays beginning in the middle of November. Pick from several species of trees to find just the right one for your living room this Christmas!
Indian Hill Farm
This diversified farm in Flemington borders Walnut Brook, a notoriously flashy stream, and is a tributary of the Neshanic River. Owner/operator Jim Hine has worked for many years to protect the stream by planting trees in the riparian area and minimizing erosion and run off from the surrounding fields. This farmstead was established in the 1870s by a Dutch family. Today, Hine grows berries, cut spring flowers, summer vegetables, orchard fruit, and English walnuts.
Tradition Farms in Pattenburg off Route 614 was certified River-Friendly on November 16, 2007. At this Hunterdon County Farm, Ken Ravenburg farms 55 acres where he grows several varieties of peaches and apples, other fruits, and vegetables such as pumpkins and tomatos. He also raises some sheep. At the Tradition Farms store, you can get all the trimmings to get in the sprit of fall: delicious apple cider, a variety of decorative gourds, Indian corn, corn stalks and baled straw.
Hidden Brook Farm
From his 32-acre woodlot in Chester Township, Morris County, Steven Dultz harvests timber and wild mushrooms. Dultz manages the old growth oak forest to maintain a thick canopy and provide habitat for wildlife. He feels strongly about taking responsibility for protecting the quality of the streams on his property. In fact, he says, you can find a trout in every pool along his tributary to Bamboo Brook.
Plut’s Christmas Tree Farm
New Jersey’s fourth River-Friendly Farm Certification was awarded to Karolina Plut proprietor of Plut’s Christmas Trees, a 10-acre choose-and-cut Christmas Tree Farm on Flocktown Road in Long Valley, Morris County. Plut’s offers full-service for the Christmas tree of your choosing. They cut, wrap, and load the tree in your car for you. Plut has various decorations for sale made of evergreen boughs such as mail box huggies, kissing balls, grave blankets, center pieces, and more! And pets are always welcome.
River-Friendly Farm Certification was awarded to Julie Gerow and Anthony Cordasco proprietors of Foxcross Farm, a 20-acre sheep farm in Delaware Township, Hunterdon County on February 2, 2007. Their Romney sheep are bred for show, pets and their luxurious wool. Gerow and Cordasco are members of The Garden State Sheep Breeders Association, and also grow some organic produce on their farm.
Stony Hill Farm Market
Stony Hill Farm Market was certified River-Friendly on February 2, 2007. Operated by Dale and Carol Davis in Morris County, twenty-one acres of this 53-acre preserved farmland is devoted to a fruit and vegetable market/retail shop, corn maize and pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Stony Hill Farm Market implements many conservation practices including cover crops, integrated pest management, and filter strips. Learn more about Stony Hill at www.stonyhillgardens.com.
Owned and operated by Greg and Chris Manners of East Amwell, Terraceland was the first River-Friendly farm in New Jersey and was certified on July 26, 2006 at the annual Hunterdon County Businessman’s picnic. Terraceland implements many conservation practices to protect water quality including terraces, from which the farm’s named is derived.
Sweet Sourland Farm
Charlize and Constance Katzenbach own twenty acres of woodland and over four acres of pasture. Their farm is nestled in the unique and curiously named Sourland Mountains in Hopewell; by making the most of this rugged landscape, they have masterfully fused agriculture and forestry. This charming family sells honey, blueberries, maple syrup, lumber, and a variety of goat meats. Sweet Sourland Farm was certified River Friendly at the end of 2012.
Oak Grove Plantation
The Blew family’s farm primarily consists of orchards and croplands; their farm spreads over a whopping 160 acres. Oak Grove Plantation has solar panels which supplies all electrical needs for the entire property and its six caring and fastidious family members. No pesticides are used in the production of their plentiful grains and vegetables, and their certified disease free hogs are raised from birth on the farm. Products include peaches, asian pears, apples, herbs, tomatoes, anise, corn, cookies, watermelons, pumpkins, kale, and potted vegetables. Products are sold throughout the year at the Union Square Greenmarket.
Spring Run Dairy
Gerald “Gerry” Lyness and his son, Dan, own and manage over 105 acres in Hunterdon County. Gerry and Dan run a 50-head Jersey cow operation and grow most of their feed and hay on the farm. They utilize cover crops to protect and build up their soils after harvesting grain and silage corn and use a suite of conservation practices to enhance water quality. Spring Run (Dairy) Farm has been a River-Friendly Certified Farm for almost a decade and they continue to steward their land in a sustainable way, even as they transitioned beef to dairy.
Walnut Brook Farm
Walnut Brook Farm is located in Morris County and is divided into crops and woodlands. The entire property has been River-Friendly Certified since October 2011. 56 acres are farmed to produce maple syrup, hay, vegetables and saw timber on a sustainable basis.
NJ Audubon Wattles Stewardship Center
Nestled along the Musconetcong River, the NJ Audubon Wattles Stewardship Center is a 51-acre farm that produces corn, beans, and sunflowers with forested land and meadow habitat sprinkled throughout the landscape. “The Wattles property was designed to be a working conservation model farm,” said John Parke, NJ Audubon Stewardship Project Director. “Working with our farmer, Roger Woolfe, and the staff of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to utilize a multitude of their conservation programs at the property certainly made it easy to meet the criteria to become a River Friendly Farm.”
Ditzel Farm, owned by Jenelle and Walter Ditzel, is a horse boarding and training facility which is home to 4-H horse clubs and other community building horse groups. The Ditzels are active in conserving the natural resources of their preserved farm by rotationally grazing horses to maintain forage stand and reduce soil erosion, they protect ground and surface water by storing, composting, and spreading their manure in a sustainable way to reduce environmental impacts. This farm is located in East Amwell along the Back Brook Tributary in the Neshanic Watershed. Jenelle is excited to be River-Friendly and the opportunity to teach the 4-H kids about sustainable horse management!
E&R Mathez Farm
Nestled along the Paulins Kill, near Hainesburg, NJ , E&R Mathez Farm produces vegetables and small fruit on 6 tillable acres of their 50 acre farm. The property, which includes a stone farmhouse built in 1789 and bank-barn dating to the mid nineteenth century, has been in the Mathez Family since 1968.
Situated across the street from the Musconetcong River, Foley’s Riverine Ranch is a 62-acre water buffalo farm that produces milk, meat products, and artisan cheeses. In 2010, Brian and Courtney Foley purchased their farm in Asbury, NJ to raise water buffalo, which they believed to be a niche market worth investing in. These animals are easy to work with due to their long lineage of domestication and are highly efficient at putting on muscle from grass and hay. The high butter-fat content in their milk makes silky, hearty cheeses; the species is most well known for being the source of milk for authentic Italian mozzarella cheese. Now, the Foley’s bring that authenticity to New Jersey.
Genesis Farms CSG
This biodynamic and sustainable Community-Supported Garden was certified as River-Friendly in March of 2016. Since 1988, the Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm has allowed community members to get involved in supporting the farm and growing food to feed the community. The objective of this farm is to feed people sustainably grown produce while also giving back to the soil by increasing soil health and fertility.
Mountain Valley Preserve
Mount Salem Vineyard
Peter and Charlene Leitner began their vineyard in 2004 with a vision of growing fine Austrian wine right here in New Jersey. Located on 20 acres in Pittstown, Mount Salem Vineyard received their River Friendly certification in May of 2015, further demonstrating their passion of crafting high quality wine in a sustainable and respectful fashion! Learn more about Mount Salem Vineyard at https://www.mountsalemvineyards.com/
Tom and Virginia Watkinson raise grass fed beef, honey bees, chickens, horses, and grow vegetables on 11 acres in Flemington, New Jersey. The farm has been in the Watkinson family since 1960, and they have taken pride in their stewardship for the wildlife and diverse landscape in which it lies – including pasture, forestland, streams and wetlands. Wingover Farm was certified River Friendly in December, 2016.
Kurt Alstede and his family operate Alstede Family Farm on over 350 acres in Chester, New Jersey. A satellite farm where Alstede farms grow apples and vegetables was certified River-Friendly in May, 2017. Alstede farm has worked hard to implement integrated pest management plans, conserve water resources, and reduce their carbon footprint in order to produce high quality organic produce in a sustainable approach on the certified land. Stop by Alstede’s Home Farm for fresh produce, pick-your-own vegetables. For more information, visit https://alstedefarms.com/
Operating over 50 acres in Pittstown, Michael Beneduce produces high quality wine with a mission to maintain sustainable practices. Beneduce Vineyards incorporates soil and water conservation practices to help achieve this goal, and was awarded River Friendly Certification in April, 2017. On the farm, you’ll also find music and tasting events, as well as a beautiful wedding venue. Head over to https://beneducevineyards.com/ for more information!
Hidden Spring Farms
Certified River Friendly in December, 2016, Hidden Spring Farm is a 32 acre beef cattle operation owned by Lynn and Bud Becker. Hidden Spring Farm is committed to stewardship of their pastureland and animals, incorporating rotational grazing systems and crop rotations backed by regular soil tests, and no use of pesticides. All Hidden Spring cows are 100% pasture fed!
- Mini-Grant Program from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority
Farmers and landowners who own or manage agricultural properties in specific watersheds in New Jersey are eligible for extra financial assistance for conservation programs through the Agricultural Mini-Grant Program (Mini-), run by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA). The program provides supplemental funding for agricultural conservation practices that protect or improve water quality. This money is different from support provided by NRCS, but covers many of the same projects. Funding for this project comes from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Policy Implementation and Watershed Restoration.
For a full list of eligible practices, go to www.raritanbasin.org
To see if your farmland is eligible for Mini-, check out http://www.raritanbasin.org/Ag_Minigrant_TargetArea_Online_Map_application.html
Want to learn more about the Mini Grant program? Contact:
Laura Tessieri, Associate Director
North Jersey RC&D