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Peaceful Valley Orchards is a successful farming operation in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, featuring pick-your-own, Community Supported Agriculture, retail market, educational tours and charitable pursuits – the result of hard-working first generation farmer, Meredith Compton and her husband Jeremy.
Compton’s career in agriculture began when she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Environmental Science from Delaware Valley College of Agriculture. After graduating, she worked for Rutgers in the area of tree fruit pest management, spending 10 years at Snyder Research Farm. But, after three years of farming on her own while working at Rutgers, she and Jeremy decided to pursue farming full-time at Peaceful Valley Orchards, the 150-acre preserved farm they lease.
Compton seeks to preserve and conserve natural resources through her farm management practices and is a strong advocate of IPM. Winter cover crops are planted on sloped fields, contour strips are utilized in the orchards, conservation strips are implemented throughout the farm, and mulch film and drip tape are used to conserve water.
Peaceful Valley Orchard is a founding member and serves as the main farm for America’s Grow-A-Row, a non-profit organization established in 2002 that provides people in need with fresh and nutritious produce. More than 1,000 volunteers help plant, pick and deliver the fresh produce they grow. This unique model heightens awareness of the importance of local farms, exposes volunteers to the hard work it takes to grow our food and teaches people the value of feeding their struggling neighbors.
Contribution to agriculture and service to her community are of the utmost importance to Compton. She serves on the New Jersey Horticultural Society and America’s Grow-A-Row Board of Directors and is Vice President at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station; she previously served on Board of Directors of the New Jersey Farmers Direct Marketing Association, the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, and the Foodshed Alliance; and was a 2007 graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.