The New Jersey cranberry industry is small, but it is mighty. Welcome to the next installment of our occasional series about some of our fellow New Jersey cranberry growers! This week, we spoke with sixth generation grower Sam Moore III of Moore’s Meadow.
1. How long has your family been in the business?
Moore’s Meadow Blueberry And Cranberry Farm LLC is seven generations strong since 1829. My father Samuel R. Moore Jr. has worked on the farm since he was a child with his grandfather Aaron B. Moore. My father and mother purchased a piece of the farm officially in 1977 and took it from there and made the farm what it is today. As money allowed, my father and mother kept purchasing more and more of the farm acreage off other descendants.
2. What’s your favorite aspect of cranberry farming?
My favorite aspect of cranberry farming is the lifestyle and being in nature and the outdoors. There is nothing like being your own boss and having self discipline. Nothing is ever more special than a family working together as a team to get the job done. Farmers as a whole, related or unrelated, are one big family. When in need at the worst or best of times farmers look out and help one another.
3. What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge to date is the ever changing weather pattern and climate as a whole. The weather is getting more unpredictable each year. Seems like it does nothing but rain constantly and we’re getting stronger and more fierce storms. The summers here in NJ are more hot and humid which causes cranberries to rot, scald, and not want to ripen too quick! It all works against the industry. Another challenge is a very unpredictable future in the cranberry and blueberry industry with oversupply driving the price down. Not knowing what kind of market there will be in the future for both fruits in order to sustain staying in business. Most money is spent on practices for both commodities prior to picking one berry and getting it sold.
4. What makes your operation unique?
What makes this operation unique is the longevity of the generations. Seven generations strong comprising of fifth, sixth, and seventh generations still actively farming to date. Not many farms date back to seven generations.
5. What’s a legendary story in your family?
A legendary story of Moore’s Meadow dates back to a 20,000 acre wildfire that destroyed all of Moore’s Meadow on July 12, 1954. The whole entire area was burned downed to the mineral sand and not one cranberry bog could be saved on our farm. Only one bog was saved on our cousin’s farm to the south. At the time the cranberry industry was at an all time low. So instead of replanting the bogs the ancestors went more into blueberry production letting the cranberry bogs go back to nature. It wasn’t till 1977 when my father started to renovate the old cranberry bogs one at a time: making them more modern by clearing the trees that had regrown since 1954, then grading them level and putting solid-set irrigation into them. My father and mother put a lot of sweat, tears, and elbow grease into making the farm what it is today.
Moore’s Meadow Quick Facts:
Moore’s Meadow Blueberry And Cranberry Farm LLC
126 Moore’s Meadow Road Tabernacle, N.J. 08088
5th Generation – Samuel R. Moore Jr. (73 YO)
6th Generation – Samuel R. Moore III (46 YO)
7th Generation – Samuel R. Moore IV (16 YO) and Matthew C. Moore (14 YO)
Farm Acreage – 700 + Total
Highbush Blueberries – 40 Acres (Duke and Blue Crop Varieties)
Cranberry – 42 Acres home farm (Moore’s Meadow) (Early Black, Stevens, Haines Variety)
Cranberry – 28 Acres (Butterworth Bog’s) – Purchased in 1995 Separate Farm Never owned by previous family members. (Stevens and Demoranville Varieties)
*Photos courtesy of Samuel Moore III.
Previously: The Cutts Family