Melick's Town Farm is the largest fruit grower in Central and Northern New Jersey, with more than 20,000 apple trees and 5,000 peach trees. Our orchards cover nearly 120 of our 650 acres of land.
The farm is owned by George and Norma Melick, now joined by their children Peter, John and Rebecca, the tenth generation to live on this land in Hunterdon County. We have traced the family tree back to the period between 1725 and 1735 when Johan Peter Moelich arrived in the area with his two brothers. (Click here for a fascinating history of the Melick family as printed in General Store magazine, Autumn 2001.)
Our farm actually has three locations where we grow fruits and vegetables.
The homestead is in Oldwick, New Jersey, approximately 35 miles west of Newark. Our Pick Your Own Strawberries and most of the vegetables are grown at this location, along with our beautiful, Pick Your Own Flowers Garden.
Just up the road, we also have approximately 50 acres of orchard in Oldwick at the location of the Cider Mill and Orchards. This is the primary location for our school tours, and much of our fall family activities.
Still further north, in Califon, New Jersey, we have our Califon Orchards, with 200 acres of peaches, apples, and pumpkins growing on the vine. This location also offers Pick Your Own Peaches, Pick Your Own Pumpkins, and Pick Your Own Apples.
According to George, "all of my ancestors in this country were born, baptized, married and buried within five miles of Oldwick." According to George, the family has survived droughts, crop devastations, high land prices, and hard times because they have always been willing to keep up with the times.
"My early ancestors were tanning hides for their own clothing, and for sale," says George. "They learned by trying things, and by watching others. Today, we learn a lot by email. We get weather faxes at 11 at night with satellite forecasts warning us of possible problems. We grow with the times."
Nearly 300 years have passed since Johan Peter Moelich first set foot in this county. Remarkably, nine generations later, one thing at least is still the same: Come sunrise, its business as usual out on the farm.