MULLICA HILL – Money might not grow on trees but peaches do, and to fruit farmers Tom and Stacey Holtzhauser of Mullica Hill, it’s the same thing. So when thieves helped themselves to an orchard full of his white peaches, they took $1,000 out of their pocket.
Tom discovered the theft on July 3 when one of his workers asked if he had already picked the white peach orchard that was scheduled to be picked that day. They went out to find that his entire crop of white peaches had been stolen right off of the branches of the trees.
The Holtzhauser’s think it occurred on Monday, July 2 at night because there was some moonlight to work by. According to Stacy Holtzhauser, 65 trees were picked clean. She said it would have taken an experienced team of four men about an hour and a half to accomplish.
No damage was done to the trees so they think the thieves were knowledgeable. No tracks were found in the field either.
Stacy said these peaches were destined for their farm’s walk-in customers, road stands, and restaurants. The farm still has other peaches to sell so be sure to look in this newspaper for their advertisement for location and hours. They also grow apricots and apples.
Stacey said she has heard of other stories of produce being taken from fields, but none on this scale. She said they now have cameras around to keep watch “and a lot of angry customers” to help too.
The Holtzhauser’s, who have been farming on Back Creek Road since 1897, have taken to using Facebook to promote their business. But when Tom made his video telling people about his robbery and asking for information, he became a bit of an internet sensation when his video went viral.
“We are overwhelmed with the support we have received from customers and total strangers. They have promised to be on the lookout for anything strange,” she added.
If you have any information about the robbery, contact the Harrison Township Police Department at (856) 589-0911 or the farm either through Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— By Karen E. Viereck, Editor/Publisher