DOVER, N.H. In 1632, John Tuttle arrived from England to a settlement near the Maine-New Hampshire border, using a small land grant from King Charles I to start a farm. Eleven generations and 378 years later, his field-weary descendants arthritic from picking fruits and vegetables and battered by competition from supermarkets and pick-it-yourself farms are selling their spread, which is among the oldest continuously operated family farms in America.

News articles dating to the 1930s confirm its age, and the Tuttles said they've never been challenged over the distinction. In 1989, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the nation's oldest farm was the Tuttle Farm, but it made no mention of the Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Va., which was founded in 1613 and was in business in 1638.