Ferrara’s Orchards brings tradition to its modern farm

Fall festival, new plant species help the small business grow yearly

Heather Ferrara, owner of Ferrara’s Orchards in Mullica Hill, knows the importance of tradition as she embraces the uniqueness of her five-year-old business.

Fairly new to southern Harrison Township, Ferrera’s Orchards was originally intended to  adopt the traditions Ferrara’s husband grew to love from his youth.

“My husband’s great uncles farmed several hundred acres in Pennsylvania,” Ferrara said. “In the summers, my husband would stay with them and help do the farming. He had such fond memories growing up there that we wanted to recreate that for our kids.” 

When the Ferraras moved the family from Mantua to the initially retired hay farm, it was in need of some fixing. But in only half a decade, Ferrara’s Orchards has become a pick-your-own orchard and garden center where customers can pick or purchase a variety of produce, including apples, blueberries, nectarines, European and Asian pears, plums and pumpkins.

“We started out doing pumpkin picking with just a roadside tent, but we slowly grew and were able to open a storefront on the property last August,” Ferrara noted.

What helps this family-owned farm stand out is its new plant series. Each week, a new plant is introduced for customers to purchase, not only contributing to the area’s biodiversity but also teaching plant lovers about new species.

Most recently for sale was Red Baron (also known as Japanese Blood Grass), a perennial grass that thrives in colder weather. That means it stays alive longer than a common alternative like purple grass and instead turns a bright crimson color during the cool fall and early-spring weather.

“Location is key for this plant,” Ferrara explained, adding that the species can become an invasive species if left in full shade. “It also likes moisture,” she continued, “so it would be great around a pond area.”

The farm will host its fall festival on Oct. 2, an event that takes nearly a year to prepare, from ordering pumpkin seeds in January to planting them in May. 

“We seek out unique specialty pumpkins for our customers to decorate their porches with,” Ferrara said. “We also grow large, white carving pumpkins that everyone loves.”

As her family’s orchards and gardens grow each year with more plant species and an increase in customers, she admitted that watching more families create traditions with Ferrara’s Orchards is the true mission.

“The most rewarding part of the fall season is seeing the kids creating lasting memories with their families,” Ferrara said. “We get many repeat customers, including some that were with us during the tent years. And it’s always great to know that the kids look forward to the visit to the farm every year.”

Ferrara’s Orchards is open Thursday through Sunday; the farm market stand and garden center will remain open through October.