TRENTON, N.J. — Meredith Compton, a fruit and vegetable farmer and co-owner of Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown, has been named New Jersey’s 2013 Outstanding Young Farmer by the State Board of Agriculture and will be honored in February at the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City.
Compton, 38, also is in the running for one of the top four National Outstanding Young Farmer Awards.
“Meredith Compton is a dedicated steward of the land who is helping to shape the future for agriculture in New Jersey through active involvement in America’s Grow-A-Row, which provides Jersey-grown produce to those in need,” said Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey secretary of agriculture. “The Outstanding Young Farmer Award helps to recognize young people, like Meredith, for the vital role they play in sustaining New Jersey agriculture.”
Compton is a first-generation farmer who chose agriculture as her career after graduating with a degree in agronomy and environmental science from Delaware Valley College. She worked at Rutgers Snyder Research Farm for 10 years, honing her production agriculture skills. After three years farming on her own while she worked at Rutgers, she decided to pursue farming full time.
Compton and her husband, Jeremy, operate Peaceful Valley Orchards on leased land. The 150-acre farm offers pick-your-own strawberries, apples, pumpkins and Asian pears, as well as a community supported agriculture operation called the Jersey Fresh Produce Club.
Peaceful Valley Orchards also is the founding location of the nonprofit organization America’s Grow-A-Row, for which Compton is a board member. For the past eight years, the Comptons have donated land on their farm, as well as seeds and starter plants that are tended by volunteers, harvested and then donated to the hungry.
She is also vice president of the New Jersey Horticultural Society, a Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture board member, vice president of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station board of managers and a graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program.