Take Your Pick At Terhune Orchards
Just a ten minute drive from Princeton University, Terhune Orchards is a family business eleven generations in the making. Reuwai Mount Hanewald runs the farm with her sister and parents at their current location in New Jersey, where they have been for the past several decades. The 200 acres are seeded with over 40 different crops that are planted around community needs, and the fruit of this labor is sold directly to consumers. Many come directly to the farm to harvest the produce themselves throughout the year– and to get the freshest pick while enjoying the feeling of being able to bring home their own food.
Arriving at the farm, guests are first greeted by two fearsome guard dogs: a pair of portly golden labs, all wiggles from their noses to their tails, who insist on having their bellies scratched. Moving further in towards the central cluster of buildings, a cat emerges and noisily demands attention before retreating back into the farm store, where Terhune houses their wares. Inside, fresh fruit and vegetables are crowded on tables while preserves and wines fill out the shelves. The sweet smell of baked goods wafts out from the open doorway beckoning guests inside, where a variety of apple themed treats (including an apple slushie!) are on sale.
The rest of the main courtyard is filled with a plant sale, fully resplendent in spring and summer. Potted bright yellow hibiscus dot the edges, while the flats of large trucks are packed with fresh herbs and flowers. All together, it is the picture of farm life: bustling with activity but insulated by the peacefulness of the surrounding countryside. For Lil’ Sprouts– particularly those based in New York City– it is the perfect summer day-trip, a way to connect to their own food and truly get down in the dirt. Unlike more urban locations, Terhune Orchards’s size and remoteness mean visitors can truly experience the currents of farm life.
The farm is open from 9 AM to 5 PM all year, save Christmas and New Year’s, and there is almost always something to pick. (Though visitors be warned: the crops are only available until they are all picked. Reuwai recalls one year when the cherries were gone in three hours.) All of the vegetables are grown organically in a separate area of the farm (where there is no u-pick), save the asparagus, whose season is winding down. The fruits are grown with the least invasive methods as possible; Terhune is a strong advocate of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and only resorts to pesticides rarely, in truly dire circumstances.
School groups of all ages can visit: pre-schoolers in order to have tactile encounters with dirt, and college students to learn about IPM. In between are Terhune’s events, which range from wine tastings (they have their own vineyard, and have been producing wine since 2009,) to their bi-weekly “Read & Pick” programs (which pair a children’s book and educational component with harvesting something seasonal).
In addition to the produce grown, there is a small collection of animals: horses, a pony, sheep, goats, chickens, a vagabond group of turkeys, and a single white (and very noisy) peacock. Altogether, the character of the farm is a charming one, like something out of a storybook. If you have a Sunday off– and don’t have the time for a full-blown vacation– Terhune Orchards is the ideal getaway: near enough that it isn’t inaccessible, but far into the green rushes of New Jersey, and with many hours of enjoyment for the whole family.
For more information on Terhune Orchards and to see their upcoming events, check out their website. To reach Terhune Orchards from NYC, take the Northeast Corridor Rail to Princeton Junction Station, the Princeton Shuttle to Princeton, and a short taxi ride to Terhune Orchards.