Having lived my entire life here in Hunterdon County, I am privy to a trace of perspective about the place. Safe to say things have surely changed in 68 years.
I am recalling what I’ll call the Dairy Era. Sounds remarkably like derrière, doesn’t it ? Anyway, newcomers to these gorgeous surrounds will have to believe me when I note that Hunterdon’s agriculture used to be dominated by dairy farms. They were everywhere.
Eventually dairymen, and women, arrived at a stark reality. At best, they were making subsistence money. At length, it required untold toil and heartache only to ultimately call the auctioneer to sell the whole “shootin’ match”.
Weekend after weekend in the 70’s, the gavel’s impact completed another sale. Cow after cow, acre after acre. Over time, dairy farming all but evaporated in Hunterdon, including ours. On the day of our sale, I was both melancholy and ecstatic.
Fast forward to present day. Does another sort of agricultural pursuit dominate in Hunterdon soils? Not yet, but vineyards are coming on strong. I don’t wish to sound ‘hoitie toitie’ but let’s face it. Aesthetically vineyards are a helluva lot nicer to look at than dairy farms, even well kept ones. And, yes, grape arbors offer a far preferable aroma.
Vineyards are a good fit for Hunterdon’s changing complexion. Indeed the old order evolves.