Melick Orchards

Peter and John Melick

The Melicks have been a known commodity in Hunterdon County since colonial times. Spanning nine generations of farmers the Melicks currently own and operate 350 acres of farmland in Hunterdon County. Peaches have been grown by the Melicks back to the civil war. Poultry production in the 1940's gave way to a greater emphasis on tree fruit production and innovative marketing. The Melicks were early pioneers of direct marketing.  “My grandfather pioneered direct marketing by always having a horse drawn wagon going door to door peddling our peaches and eggs,” says George Melick.

Diversity is the key to the Melick family’s agricultural operation in Oldwick, NJ. According to this father and sons team, George, Peter, and John, have continued to diversify over the years in order to meet consumer tastes, take advantage of marketing opportunities, and to spread their risk. The Melicks have also taken advantage of their close proximity to a market, with over 10 million people living within sixty miles of their operation.  This allows them to diversify their marketing plan.

Two roadside markets, two pick your own operations and participation in four tailgate markets round out the Melicks’ marketing mix. “Pick-Your-Own and “entertainment farming” has grown tremendously in the past 12 years’ according to John Melick. The farm operation consists of 50 acres of peaches, 40 acres of apples, 50 acres of pumpkins, 35-acres of sweet corn, and the remainder is planted in mixed vegetables and flower production. They also produce cider in the fall and attend different tailgate markets held in communities all across New Jersey, where they sell a vast array of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. “But retail marketing is what makes the business profitable,” says George. More recently, they have moved rapidly to track their finances through detailed record keeping. They maintain these records by utilizing Quickbooks software. Additionally, they have taken a hard look at how to manage liability by spreading out their business risk through the creation of limited liability corporations (LLCs).  In doing so, they have divided the farm into 13 tracts of land to decrease liability.