Peaceful Valley Orchards

Jeremy and Meredith Compton

Meredith and Jeremy Compton took over Peaceful Valley Orchards in 2001 and held a grand re-opening in July of that year, just in time for peach season.  At that time they began marketing out of a tent and had a successful first season. In the fall of 2001 Peaceful Valley Orchards invited the public into their orchard for the first time to pick their own apples. When Meredith and Jeremy opened for the 2002 growing season, they introduced their customers to their new farm market. They also included pick-your-own pumpkins. Apples, peaches and pears are the main tree fruit crops grown at Peaceful Valley Orchards but they are also well known for the many vegetables they grow, including their heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn. In 2004 the PVO home farm was permanently preserved.

The couple recently signed a deal to lease an additional 150 acre preserved farm (plus farm market) in Clinton, NJ. The increase in land will allow them to expand the diversity of commodities they grow and to increase production. “We were simply running out of land at our main farm.  In order to diversify our crops, increase production, and spread our risk between locations we needed more land to farm,” says Jeremy Compton. The new farm market will allow them more room to display their fruits and vegetables, fresh baked pies and consignment items from local people.

The Compton’s are conscious of being good environmental stewards of the land they utilize. The have implemented NJ Integrated Pest Management Practices developed at Rutgers University on all their crop production to minimize pesticide usage without sacrificing quality. They also utilize pesticide liability insurance as part of their insurance package.

About 85% of their produce is marketed through their retail store and tailgate markets. The other 15% is sold to other farm markets or restaurants. Jeremy and Meredith’s goal is to sell everything they can retail so they can maximize their profit while maintaining their diversity of markets to spread risk. The Compton’s are planning to expand and focus on the pick-your-own portion of their business. “We decided to add pick-your-own vegetables and a cut-your-own flower patch because people have been asking us to do so for a few years now. When they go to the orchard to pick apples they see all the different varieties of vegetables and they want to pick them too,” says Meredith. “Our objective is to figure out what our customers want and then be able to offer it to them and maintain our profitability.” Plans are also in the works to offer a coffee service to go with the baked goods and to move more into entertainment farming with pick your own pumpkins, hayrides, and a petting zoo at their new location.