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Farm History

We are proud of our farm history, which dates back to 1820. The Wilson family took over ownership in 1992 and has developed the farm into what it is today. To learn more about our history, click on the tabs below for a detailed description of each era.

Early Days

Welcome to our farm and orchard. This farm was founded around 1820 by the DeMeritt family as a family farm. As such it would have produced the dairy products, meat, wool and vegetables necessary to sustain. The DeMeritt family owned the farm until approximately the 1930’s.

In the 1940’s the farm was changed into an apple orchard and many of the large trees that you see here were planted at that time. During the 1970’s the farm had one of the largest dairy herds in the area.

The 1990s

megMary Ellen and Roy Wilson purchased the farm in 1992 and took over active management in 1998. Today it has a total of 120 acres, of which 20 comprise of fruit orchard. The farm is undergoing another transformation. New varieties of apple trees, peach trees and blueberry bushes are being planted. Additional Christmas trees are being planted and nurtured for future generations of family fun.

A cross-country ski and nature trail was constructed along with an additional pond and picnic areas. The farm will become a place where you and your family will come to spend an hour or an afternoon to enjoy the freshest farm produce and fruit.

Our goal was and continues to be to create a healthy farm environment which provides you and your family with many enjoyable memories. New varieties and sizes of trees are being planted which will be easier to harvest and provide greater taste experiences. We are also adding other features which will make exploring the farm an unforgettable adventure.

The 2000s

sidebar-nh-farm-of-distinctionIn 2007, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food named us a ‘Farm of Distinction’. This award has only been given out to a handful of exceptional New Hampshire farms in the past 10 years. We are very proud to be included in this select group. This recognition makes all of the hard work we do each season worth it!

2007 also brought about the creation of DeMeritt Hill Stables and new equestrian facility. Construction of the indoor riding arena was completed in addition to all major renovations of existing buildings and barns. These renovations were crucial in order to preserve these historical buildings and not let them deteriorate into a state of disrepair. These updates will better serve the riding community for years to come. In 2009, the equine facility became the home to Bellewether Stables and Judy Nason. Judy is internationally known as a multiple time World Champion Rider and Instructor in the Morgan Horse world.

cover-e1437277126779The October 2008 issue of NH TO DO magazine featured a detailed story about the farm and the family activities that are available throughout the fall. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our story with all of New England.

In February 2009, we had the distinct honor of representing the state of New Hampshire in the “Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show”. The Best of New England conference was a wonderful opportunity to share best ideas and practices within the agricultural community. We had a great time representing the proud state of New Hampshire at the conference and look forward to doing it again in years to come!

The 2010s

October 2010 marked the first year of ‘Haunted Overload’ being hosted at the farm. This exciting and internationally recognized haunt happens each year in October. Please check our events calendar for the latest information on the event.

Haunted Overload has continued to gain in popularity throughout the world for the uniqueness and creativity of the haunt. In October of 2011, Haunted Overload was featured on The Weather Channel as one of the Top 10 haunted attractions in America on the show ‘Top Hallow Screams’ (#5). Additional television coverage during 2011 season also included stories on WMUR and NH Chronicle.

In Feb 2012, Haunted Overload was ranked #18 in the Top 20 Most Influential Haunted Attractions of ALL TIME! by Hauntworld Magazine. This was an incredible honor as the list also contains such notable attractions like Disney’s Haunted Mansion, Universal Studios Horror Nights and Busch Gardens.

judges-300x199On October 28th, 2014, Haunted Overload made its international debut on syndicated television. The ABC TV network featured Haunted Overload on their new reality competition show ‘The Great Halloween Fright Fight’. Over 3.7 million people from 134 countries watched Haunted Overload compete against 5 other Halloween Haunts from across the nation with the hopes of being crowned ‘The Scariest Haunted Attraction’ in the country. Celebrity judges Sabrina Soto and Michael Moloney toured the haunt in awe of the size and attention to detail. Haunted Overload won the top spot and was awarded the $50,000 grand prize, which was promptly donated to the Cocheco Valley Humane Society.

The following year marked another important milestone for Haunted Overload. In 2015, Haunted Overload secured the top spot as the #1 ranked Scariest Haunted Attraction in America, according to Patrons from over 30 countries around the world came to visit and experience the Ultimate Halloween Experience!

In June of 2019, Torey Roderick Performance Horses had moved into the Equestrian center at the farm and began seeing clients immediately. Later that year, both the Oyster River High School and Middle School began hosting their home Cross Country meets at the farm. DeMeritt Hill Farm is proud the be the home of Oyster River Cross Country!

The 2020s

The world changed in 2020 with the arrival of Covid 19. New restrictions and guidelines were immediately put into place throughout the farm. For the first time in the history of the farm, the farm store building was closed to the public and all retail operations were moved outdoors. A new tented area was constructed directly in front of the existing store to help keep patrons and employees safe while shopping outdoors. In response to the growing demand of non-contact shopping, a new online store was also developed. Offerings included both curbside pickup as well as shipping throughout the world.

2020 also saw the development of new partnerships with various local CSA’s to help distribute farm produce to consumers throughout New England. The year brought about a new partnership with Haunted Overload and Stripe Nine Brewery to help create the new seasonal ‘Haunted Overload Pumpkin Ale’. This new ale is created with pumpkins picked directly from the fields of the farm.

Throughout the year, plans were finalized and work started on the expansion of the orchard. Over the course of 2021, new varieties of apple trees were planted along with new trellis systems and new irrigation systems. This is a long overdue project that will help to move the farm forward for future generations to enjoy.

As we continue to serve the agricultural needs of the seacoast area, we’d love to hear from you as to what we can do to make DeMeritt Hill Farm ‘your farm’ for family fun.