2011 New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmer
John MelickView the commemorative video.
Since the 1700’s, the Melick family has been farming in Hunterdon County and 10th generation farmer John Melick continues the family’s tradition and their commitment to New Jersey agriculture.
After graduating from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1993 with a degree in Civil Engineering, John began his career balancing his time between working on the farm several days a week and working for a consulting firm to obtain the mandatory work experience so he could secure a professional engineering license. After attaining that goal, he became aware that engineering would not be his life long career and opted to transition away from that professional and focus on farming. He began farming full time in the family business, Melick’s Town Farm, and joined his brother, Peter, in ownership of the farm.
Orchards that were once planted with standard apple trees by his grandfather were replaced by his father with semi-dwarf apple trees. In an effort to increase yield and profits per acre, John opted to plant a full dwarf apple orchard at higher densities than before, ranging from 300 to 500 trees per acre. No longer did the farm have to wait seven or more years for the trees to come into production. Within two to three years the dwarf tree orchard would be bearing fruit for market.
Melick’s Town Farm now has three locations, a cider mill, pick-your-own, retail markets, and agritourism activities.
Contributions to agriculture and service to his community are a high priority for John. He has served as President, 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President of the Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture, President and Trustee of the NJ Council of Farmers and Communities, a delegate to the NJ Farm Bureau Convention, a delegate and member of the resolution committee for the NJ State Agricultural Convention, and is a member of the NJ Horticultural Society. However, his most significant contribution has been his twenty-one year membership with the Oldwick Fire Company, serving as President, Chief and Assistant Chief and chair of the building committee that oversaw the completion of the Company’s multi-million dollar firehouse. John is also a baseball coach for the Tewksbury Athletic Association and a graduate of class four of the NJ Ag Leadership Development Program.
John and wife Stacy are the proud parents of two boys and one girl.
Melick’s Town Farm has extensive retail sales and through these marketing opportunities, John has direct interaction with his customers. Through this interaction he gets important feedback he uses as a tool to improve the farm’s operation. According to John, “This provides an excellent opportunity to not only promote our farm, but we can also educate the customer about New Jersey agriculture and our farm’s history.”