Owner of Chickadee Creek Farm
Jess is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resources. She traveled through her country and Latin America during the college years only to discover that there is no place like home! She also realized that for her, there was no vocation like the family vocation. After stints in conservation biology, ornithology, disaster relief, and development work, Jess realized that she wanted to be the 13th generation of Niederer farmers.
The Niederers have been in Hopewell Valley since 1910, when Otto Niederer (Great-Grandpop) left Switzerland and settled in Titusville. He worked with an embroidery manufacturer in Union City before heading back to the land. Otto, his wife Katherine, and their children ran a dairy farm where Washington Crossing State Park now sits. After losing the farm in the Great Depression era, Otto and his sons used their Swiss ingenuity to invent a machine that graded eggs using a conveyor tipping-scale system and a candler that didn’t hurt the eyes of the workers grading the eggs. Until this, egg farmers were weighing eggs one by one to figure out which grade they were! The Egomatic became the focus of the Niederer family, but farming (eggs, cows, corn, wheat, and soybeans) was an addiction that just wouldn’t go away. Egomatic is gone now (the old factory building is still on Rt 31 in Pennington, next to the golf driving range), but the family connection to land remains.
As well as being a dedicated farmer, Niederer enjoys giving back to the community. In 2014, she was voted the “Local Hero” by Edible Jersey readers in the Farm/Farmer category. To add to her community accomplishments, Niederer also is an active member of the Mercer County Board of Agriculture, teaches classes on organic farming through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, and volunteers as an EMT during the slower months. In 2016 Jess had been chosen as New Jersey’s Outstanding Young Farmer by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.