August 1, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: Agriculture: Fruit: Apples: Awards: American Fruit Grower: Micronesia RPCV Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Micronesia: Peace Corps Micronesia : The Peace Corps in Micronesia: August 1, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: Agriculture: Fruit: Apples: Awards: American Fruit Grower: Micronesia RPCV Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 5:50 am: Edit Post

Micronesia RPCV Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year

Micronesia RPCV Gary Mount is  Apple Grower Of The Year

Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's call to service, Gary and Pam Mount joined the Peace Corps and served in the Central Pacific islands of Micronesia. "This was probably the watershed experience of our lives, and after returning home, we began to look at things a little differently," Mount remembers. Suddenly the idea of being a college professor, or enduring a daily commute to New York City, wasn't so appealing.

Micronesia RPCV Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year

Apple Grower Of The Year
Aug 1, 2005 - American Fruit Grower
Gary Mount's desire to seek out the best methods of growing and selling his fruit have guided him to the top of his industry.

SOMETIMES you can tell when a grower just seems to be doing things the right way. For example, Gary Mount's home state of New Jersey is hardly the nation's largest apple-producing state, and his acreage is about average for an East Coast fruit grower. Yet there's a very good reason he is American/Western Fruit Grower's 2005 Apple Grower of the Year (sponsored by Cerexagri). His thirst for knowledge, whether he is experimenting with new technology, going to every industry meeting that he can (both local and international), or searching for the ideal relationship between grower and consumer, has allowed him to develop a successful fruit operation at Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ.

However, his path to reaching this level of success has taken a few turns. He grew up on his father's 300-acre apple farm outside of Princeton, where he says he learned less about how to grow fruit and more how to work hard. But while he knew he wanted to be in farming at a young age, when the chance to attend Princeton University came calling, his father insisted on it. As it turns out, his father was right. "Going to college, that helped me learn how to learn," says Mount. And not only has he kept on learning since then, he's also passed this important trait on to his children and the employees at his orchard.
"The aspect of learning how to learn is one of the most necessary ingredients here," he says.

From Books To Bushels

Upon graduating magna cum laude from Princeton in 1966 with a degree in physiological psychology, Mount was set to pursue his Ph.D. But then his father died, and he returned home to the family farm to help finish out the apple season (it was also about this time he married his high school sweetheart Pam). A year later, inspired by President John F. Kennedy's call to service, they joined the Peace Corps and served in the Central Pacific islands of Micronesia. "This was probably the watershed experience of our lives, and after returning home, we began to look at things a little differently," Mount remembers.
Suddenly the idea of being a college professor, or enduring a daily commute to New York City, wasn't so appealing.

Gary and Pam purchased Terhune Orchards from its original owner in 1975 (the name was not changed partly because of local name recognition, but also because, quite frankly, high financing charges meant the Mounts needed to keep every last customer they had). This decision to go back to farming has not only allowed Gary and Pam to spend more time with their children, but it has also given them the chance to work side by side (see "An Equal Partnership" sidebar).

At the time, all of the trees were standard, but this soon changed with the planting of trellised trees, free-standing trees with stakes, and most recently, slender-spindle training systems. This latter technique helped Mount reach one of his main goals: early production. "I learned early on that to shorten the pre- productive period was one of the most profitable things I could do," he says.

Knowledge Is Power

Mount's love of knowledge and learning is mostly satiated by his interest in technology and coming up with new approaches to doing business. "A new idea is the best tonic for being interested in what you do," says Mount. It has certainly helped, because Mount says he's never bored working in the orchard. "The information for solving farming problems is available - the key for me is finding it," he says.

One of the best ways to come up with new ideas, according to Mount, is by attending industry meetings. He's been a member of the International Dwarf Fruit Tree Association (IDFTA) for more than 25 years, including serving on the board of directors for 11 years, and has been to several of IDFTA's meetings and tours. He is also the current chair of IDFTA's Rootstock Research Committee.

Closer to home, Mount has worked with Extension agents from Rutgers University on pest management issues, particularly in the field of integrated pest management (IPM). "We had employed a private IPM consultant, and since then Rutgers has started its own IPM program, which has been our main help in fruit growing," Mount says.

Not only has IPM benefited Terhune Orchards on the production side, it's also helped to improve relationships with its customers. "Most of our customers are smart enough to know that there has to be some control of disease and insects," says Mount. "What they really want to know is that you're knowledgeable about it and are doing the best you can with the least amount of chemicals."

When the Mounts purchased a 65-acre orchard in 2003 (they now own a total of 185 acres), they invited each of their surrounding neighbors over for refreshments, and informed them about their entire pest management program. In addition, Mount worked with IPM specialists at Rutgers on the creation of a poster explaining the practices and benefits of IPM that can be displayed at farm markets (read an article about the posters from American/Western Fruit Grower's February 2005 issue by going to www. ''IPM has been important not only as a growing tool, but also as a marketing tool," he says.

Know Your Buyers

The other factor in Mount's approach to running an orchard is a commitment to direct marketing. Mount says fruit growers need to get in closer contact with their customers, promoting the fact that they have a product that is not only healthful, but is "really good to eat." This self-promotion is important not only with consumers, but with wholesalers as well. "A farmer that is promoting his own product is a tremendously powerful entity," says Mount.

For example, Mount points out that during the Alar scare of the early 1990s, "we sold more apples than ever." The difference for them, and for other direct marketers, was that their customers knew all about their operation and felt confident in the fruit they were providing.

Mount admits that this idea is easy to say, but not always easy to carry out. Fortunately, he's benefited from being located in the most (densely populated area of the U.S., with millions of potential customers within a 100-mile radius. At their own farm market, Stayman Winesap is the most popular apple variety, but the key is the multitude of fruits and vegetables available for purchase. "Variety is the spice of life for retail farm marketers," says Mount. In fact, Mount's business model is to sell everything retail. "If we have to sell something wholesale, then we've fallen down on the job." This presents the obvious challenge of balancing production with what can be sold at the market, and recently Terhune Orchards has turned to local farmers' markets and tailgate markets.

Another factor in Terhune Orchards' marketing efforts is its newsletter. Rather than relying solely on newspaper ads, the Mounts supplement their ads by mailing out their own newsletter and inserting it in the local newspapers. The costs of printing, mailing, and inserting are minimal, and the newsletter can also be sent electronically. The orchard's Web site,, also adds to its marketing efforts.

Active Roles

Aside from his IDFTA involvement, Mount has been treasurer of the New Jersey State Hort Society for about 12 years. "It's my feeling that farmers need to work together in all issues, and the Hort Society is part of that," Mount says. He's a former president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture, he was a New Jersey water commissioner for many years, and he's currently a soil conservation district supervisor. He has also been highly involved with New Jersey Farmland Preservation, a unique program in which the state pays farmers to preserve their land. With land values soaring in the Garden State, the program has been a key to helping growers pass on their land without fear of it being developed.

Of course, there is life outside of fruit growing. One of Mount's passions is rowing, a love he first developed at Princeton and has maintained ever since. But for Gary Mount, his biggest joy is seeing his children grow up on the farm. "Farmers always tell you their children are their best crop, and we're no different," he says. Gary and Pam's oldest daughter, Reuwai, lives in Baltimore and teaches with her husband. This summer, they are spending a month living and working at the farm. The Mounts' other daughter, Tannwen, works full- time in the orchard and market, and is planning a new venture at Terhune Orchards - grape growing and winemaking.
Their son Mark is in the Army's infantry division and is in the process of being deployed to Afghanistan. "He's real excited, and we're very proud of him," says Mount.

Growing with his kids, growing his mind, and growing apples. All three have given Mount great pride and led him to the top of his industry.

Higher Learning

BECAUSE it's not located in a major agricultural area, the labor supply for Terhune Orchards is slim. As a result, they need to be able to keep their employees happy and busy throughout the year. Growing a wid\e range of varieties has created a large harvesting window, helping to improve efficiency with limited resources. But there's something else that's been a hugely posilive influence on keeping employees happy.

In recent years, Terhune Orchards has attracted more Hispanic employees who want to incorporate themselves into the American way of life, yet must overcome the language barrier. To alleviate this problem, Gary and Pam Mount hired a language teacher and began offering English classes every Tuesday afternoon. These classes have been hugely successful, both for the employees and for the Mounts. A couple years ago, the Mounts considered stopping the classes, until their employees changed their minds for them. "When they learn English, they can do more, and you can afford to pay them more," says Gary Mount.
It's also helped the Mounts retain their employees by giving them a sense of belonging and pride in the work they do.

A Message From The 'Sponsor

Gary Mount, along with his daughter Tannwen (left) and wife Pam, have built a successful apple growing operation at Terhune Orchards.

THIS award recognizes the progressive approaches, hard work, and dedication to learning of a leading apple grower. The 2005 Apple Grower of the Year, Gary Mount of Terhune Orchards, lives these qualities and more - Cerexagri joins American/Western Fruit Grower in celebrating this outstanding leader in the apple industry.

Cerexagri is dedicated to providing high-quality and effective crop protection tools and postharvest products to fruit and vegetable growers. We have been assisting apple growers with proven fungicides and insecticides for more than 70 years.

Assail" Insecticide complements a product portfolio of well- known fungicides: Topsin M, Penncozeb, Microthiol Disperss, Cuprofix Disperss, Cuprofix MZ Disperss, Maneb, and Ziram as well as bactericides Firewall and FlameOut. Assail is a reduced risk EPA classified compound. It controls a range of economically important pests including codling moth, apple maggot, oriental fruit moth, and aphids, and brings flexibility and resistance management to orchards. Cerexagri Decco post-harvest division offers a fulljine aapple waxes, anti-scald products, and cleaners.

Cerexagri looks forward to continuing its long-term relationship with you, the American apple producer, by investing in industry- leading pest solutions for the apple market. This award is an acknowledgment of the excellence and commitment of all apple growers. Congratulations Gary Mount, we're proud to celebrate your success.

Assail and Topsin are registered trademarks of Nippon Soda Company, Ltd. CuproBx, Disperss, Microthiol and Penncozeb are registered trademarks of Cerexagri, Inc.

An Equal Partnership

GARY and Pam Mount are not only life partners, they're also partners in business. Gary is responsible for the production and business management at Terhune Orchards, and Pam is responsible for retail marketing.

"That's how we started, and we still do it that way," says Gary. Yet there is another important part of Pam's life, and it's outside the orchard. She is very involved in the local community. She's served on the Lawrence Township, NJ, town council for seven years, and is in her second term as Mayor. The Mounts are also active in giving back to the community, something their customers are aware of and appreciate. For example, New Jersey's Farmers Against Hunger program was started in one of the Mount's barns. "It's a two-way street," says Mount, "and our town is supportive of us as well."

While both Pam and Gary Mount are busy at all hours, they've never lost the love of being able to work side by side. "It's a decision we've never regretted," says Gary. As they like to put it, farming and retail is a mix of science and art; Gary is the science part of the equation, and Pam is the art.

By Brian Sparks


E-mail questions or comments about this article to

Copyright Meister Media Worldwide Aug 2005

When this story was posted in August 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 3 2005 No: 698 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their military obligations by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is rising opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" Latest: RPCV Chris Matthews to discuss the issue on Hardball tonight.

Top Stories: August 1, 2005 Date: July 31 2005 No: 693 Top Stories: August 1, 2005
Paul E. Tsongas Public Service Award unveiled 21 July
Charlie Peters writes book on Wendell Willkie 25 July
Protests against Peace Corps in Bangladesh 30 July
Christopher R. Hill leads talks with North Korea 29 July
Chris Shays blocks senator's plan to reopen bases 29 July
Dr. Joann LaPerla-Morales leads Middlesex College 28 July
Jacob Mundy supports struggle in Western Sahara 28 July
Paul Theroux blames big oil for ‘catastrophe’ in Ecuador 28 July
Bruce Wilkinson has called Africa home for 17 years 25 July
Taylor Hackford producing "E-Ring" for tv 25 July
Robert Haas to retire as head of Levi Strauss 24 July
Brent Lynn turned Janus Overseas Fund around 24 July
James Rupert says Musharraf walks tightrope in Pakistan 23 July
Thomas O. Mann describes Carp Fishing in France 22 July
Rob Quigley receives Maybeck Award in Architecture 22 July
Blackwill says visit by India PM a 'historical breakthrough' 21 July
NPCA studies membership structure 21 July
Mark Lenzi says Poles deserve the West's support 20 July
Mark Gearan weighs in on Bush's Supreme Court pick 20 July
Ofelia Miramontes championed bilingual education 18 July
Hank Stelzer supports school for blind in Lesotho 16 July

Special Events for RPCVs Date: July 31 2005 No: 694 Special Events for RPCVs
RPCV's "Taking the Early Bus" at Cal State until Aug 15
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October

July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: July 17 2005 No: 690 July 17, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
C. Payne Lucas writes "Can we win the war on HIV/Aids?" 11 July
Director Vasquez hints at expansion in Bangladesh 17 July
Why didn't I spend my life helping others? 17 July
John Beasley returns to the islands of Micronesia 17 July
Jennifer Field to study glacier melting 17 July
Tucker McCravy works with Serendib in Sri Lanka 17 July
David Vick writes "Waging civilized warfare" 16 July
Tom Petri says Nelson helped to promote civility 16 July
Peace Corps Director Visits Volunteers in Mongolia 15 July
John Bridgeland writes "An example for Boomers" 15 July
Robert Blackwill says India and US have a great future 15 July
Peace Corps debuts new internet recruitment tool 14 July
Eight New Country Directors Appointed 13 July
Shelton Johnson Honored for Buffalo Soldier program 13 July
Bill Lorenz leads trek for Sudanese refugees 12 July
Emilie Pryor says Peace Corps ignores Lariam problems 12 July
DDN is Award Finalist for reporting on PC Safety 11 July
Randy Lewis to hire 200 people with cognitive disabilities 10 July
Maryland needs people like Tom Lewis 10 July
Dan DeWayne puts on music festival 10 July

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: American Fruit Grower

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Micronesia; Agriculture; Fruit; Apples; Awards


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.