From time to time, people ask me about the rolling hills in Sussex County I call home. I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little bit about Shale Hills Farm and just how much this land means to my family.
My father started Shale Hills Farm in 1961. He started planting Christmas trees on this land to stop erosion and what started as an environmentally friendly practice, turned into a great small business. When Dad died in 1977, it was passed down to the family and we decided to continue the farming operation. My brother Mike has the green thumb and he has farmed the land that we all inherited. Today, Shale Hills Christmas Tree Farm consists of 5 fields totaling 62 acres, 10 acres of which belong to me.
Mike is the backbone of Shale Hills Farm and because he puts all of the work into the farm, he alone makes an income from its operation. I don’t charge him rent or personally make a dime. Each year, Shale Hills Farm sells thousands of Christmas trees and hosts thousands of visitors looking for the perfect Christmas tree for their home.
My wife and I are raising our family on this land and we love walking through the rows and rows of Christmas trees. The Farmland Assessment Program has saved thousands of acres of land since it began in 1964, and without it, hundreds of farms like ours would be just a distant memory.
New Jersey farms have earned a much deserved reputation producing everything from award-winning trees to some of the freshest produce in America. Continuing this rich heritage throughout the Garden State is an important legacy for all of our children and grandchildren. To learn more about farmland assessment, click here.
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter and learn a little bit about Shale Hills Farm.