Wightman’s Farms


Ken Wightman

For over seventy years the Wightman family has been growing and selling fruits and vegetables at their Morristown, NJ farm.  In 1922 Albert Wightman and his wife, Laetitia, purchased the first of the land that was to become Wightman’s Farms.  Albert planted fruit trees and vegetables and drove to the nearby town of Morristown selling his harvests.  The farm is now owned and operated by Kenneth Wightman and his wife, Liz.  The farming operation encompasses 125 acres within a 3-mile radius of the farm market.  The primary crops are 20 acres of apples and peaches, 40 acres of sweet corn, 45 acres of pumpkins and the remainder in vegetables and flowers.

The focal point of the farm operation is their unique farm market.  They have worked hard at diversifying this retail operation. In addition to offering fruits and vegetables they also have bakery items, a deli, a gourmet food section and a wine corner that offers NJ made wine.  Ken adds, “Bakery products such as pies and snack type items have steadily increased in their share of total sales.  Semi-prepared vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and beans which have been cut up and prepared for immediate cooking are outselling their unprepared counterparts.”

Wightman’s Farms has focused on quality and direct marketing since day one. They have moved into entertainment farming in a big way. In response to popular demand, Ken Wightman converted their orchard into a unique Pick Your Own operation in 1999.  Families must purchase a “Club Membership” in order to be able to pick apples or peaches.  The membership entitles families to pick every weekend during the harvest season and provides them with coupons for the farm market.  They have created a large hayride business that begins with educational school tours.  In the fall the farm is packed with school children waiting for their hayride and pumpkin picking tours, often with four or more wagons running at the same time. They have many wagon themes throughout the year, not just the fall season. In the spring they ride up to “Bunny Land” for an Easter Egg Hunt. The retail Christmas trade is also an important component of their retail business with December being their second largest cash flow month of the year.

Ken credits a lot of his success to the location of his farm. Located 30 miles west of New York City on U.S. Highway 202.  The surrounding area is populated with corporate headquarters, condominiums and housing developments.  The location along with the willingness to diversify the traditional farm has been the key to success at Wightman’s Farms. They have also been active participants in the NJ and Morris County Farmland Preservation Programs selling the development rights of their land and permanently deed restricting the farm to agriculture.