At the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and New Jersey Vegetable Growers Association convention the Mount family was presented with Vegetable Grower of the Year award in “recognition of your many years of outstanding and dedicated service to the agricultural community.”
Terhune Orchards, 185 acres of preserved farmland, is owned by Pam and Gary Mount and daughters, Reuwai and Tannwen. The family owned farm in Princeton was lauded at the annual dinner on Feb. 7, 2018,. Gary Mount thanked everyone and Reuwai gave a speech on how Gary and Pam have been innovative, foresighted and risk takers for more than 40 years and that she and her sister are now full time on the farm and continue the work with energy and dedication. She noted they are the 11th generation of the Mount family to farm. Her grandfather had a large wholesale apple orchard on Route 1. Gary and Pam changed direction to a smaller, very intensely planted and diverse farm selling direct to the public.
Meredith Melendez, Agricultural Agent for the Cooperative Extension of Mercer County wrote this lovely introduction for us at the awards banquet that she hopes capture the growth of the farm and our family.
“The Mount family has firm roots in New Jersey, but did not come into agriculture by inheriting a family farm. Gary grew up in a wholesale apple operation, but the farm was sold before Gary realized his own farming dream. Gary and Pam met in High School, marrying three days after Pam graduated from college. Shortly after marrying they traveled to the island Satawal in Micronesia to serve the 400 residents through the Peace Corp.
After returning back to New Jersey an extended family member mentioned to them that the farm on Cold Soil Road was for sale, and the family soon found themselves farmers. Their daughter Reuwai was three years old when the family moved to Cold Soil Road, with second daughter Tannwen on the way and son Mark born a few years later.
Terhune Orchard is a 200 acre farm growing tree fruit, small fruit, vegetables, and wine grapes. Today the thriving agritourism operation is proudly run by Gary, Pam, Reuwai, and Tannwen. Son Mark is a U.S. Army sergeant who is stationed in Louisiana with his family. Mark has served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. The Mount grandchildren are familiar faces at the farm and participate in many of the activities that make up daily farm life.
The farm has grown over the past 40+ years from tree fruit only to a highly diversified farm open year round multi-generational family operation. The farm started with just apples, peaches and pears and now grows over 40 different crops. The farm was an early adaptor of the IPM program, and still relies on the Rutgers IPM program scouts and information in making pest management decisions. The practice is regularly talked about in the farm newsletter and Facebook posts, utilized to educate the public on sound production practices. The farm makes decisions as a family with regular meetings with family members and key personnel.
The most recent improvement to the farm was the building of a wine barn to expand their production, storage and tasting areas. The interest in growing wine started with the second generation of the farm family, Tannwen and Gary planting 5 acres of grapes in 2006. Bottling began in 2010 and the family won nine medals in the 2017 annual New Jersey Wine Competition. Their Terhune Orchards Blueberry Wine was awarded the Governor’s Cup for best fruit wine, and the Harvest Blue, Blossom White and Just Peachy won gold medals.
Aside from winning awards for their wine the family is known for hosting farm tours from state, national, and international organizations. In August Extension educators from across the U.S. and Canada toured Terhune Orchards to glean wisdom learned through their 40+ years of production. The goal was to share this information with their agricultural producers specializing in tourism events back in their home states. This tour, like so many others, left the audience feeling inspired and energized thanks to the commitment to the industry and community by the Mount family.
The Mount family has long been committed to service, and has served in many positions of responsibility over the years. Most recently Reuiwai was voted Vice President of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture, a position her father has held in the past. Pam Mount is known for her involvement in starting and sustaining the New Jersey Agricultural Society programs including the Agricultural Leadership Development, and Farmers Against Hunger. Gary currently sits on the board of the Howell Living History Farm, the Mercer County Agricultural Development Board, the Mercer County Soil Conservation District, and the Trenton Market Growers Cooperative. Gary has previously served on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, as a Mercer County director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau, and served as both President and Vice-President of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture. These positions represent a fraction of the families involvement with agricultural and community organizations in New Jersey. Gary was named National Apple Grower of the Year in 2005 by American Fruit Grower Magazine and in 2012 Gary was inducted into the International Fruit Tree Association Hall of Fame.”