Currently, 16 farms covering 684 acres are certified River-Friendly in New Jersey.
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!
Sycamore Spring Farm
Sal Romano’s farm in Hillsborough was certified in October, 2008. The property borders the main stem Neshanic River. The buffer of trees that Romano maintains protects the water from any farming activities and enhances the habitat of the river corridor. On the 13-acre parcel, Romano makes hay, raises a few lambs and chicken each year, and grows an assortment of vegetables in his market garden.
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.
Mountain Valley Preserve
This wooded hamlet in the Sourland Mountains is lovingly tended by owners Bruce and Beverly Oliver with the goal of protecting shared water resources and enhancing habitat for native critters. The mixed hardwood stand yields firewood and sawtimber. The site, it is said, was used by George Washington’s troops who signaled day and night to troops on the Watching Mountains and they in turn to the troops on Schooly Mountain in Morris County.
Richard and Karen Anderson’s Farm
The Anderson’s parcel in East Amwell is a managed forest producing fire wood and saw timber. Their serene property shares a boundary with Back Brook. The farm was certified in October, 2008 in part due to the beneficial effect of the forest on the water cycle.
Wolgast Tree Farm
This is the first farm in Somerset County to be certified River-Friendly. It was recognized as such in April, 2008. Dr. Leonard Wolgast and Cathy Blumig have been growing Christmas trees on the 16-acre parcel since 1977 and incorporate ecological principles into their management to enhance habitat for native species. By mimicking natural conditions, they enhance the water cycle which keeps rivers clean for New Jersey residents’ drinking water.
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
Charles 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 Farm
Gerald “Gerry” Lyness owns over 105 acres in Hunterdon County. Most are used for a hay and beef cattle operation, but mixed vegetables are also grown on a portion of Spring Run Farm. Gerry is transitioning into organic farming practices with the the hopes of making the entire property and all its products organic. In less than a year of participating in the River Friendly Certification program, Spring Run Farm became River Friendly Certified.
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.
- 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