Despite being in the midst of an epic pandemic and a winter weather pattern that won’t relent, there’s a bright spot shining in the fields of Cream Ridge, New Jersey, where a local farmer is showcasing a stunning burst of colors as far as the eyes can see. The breathtaking site is Holland Ridge Farms, a family-owned flower farm in rural central New Jersey.
We caught up with Holland Ridge Farms’ Casey Jansen to see how the flowers are doing in these unusual times.
The Jansen family roots run deep in Holland where they started growing tulips over 100 years ago. At the head of the family is Casey Sr, who immigrated to the United States in 1964 when he was just 17 years old and founded Holland Greenhouses Inc. Casey Sr. learned Dutch-tulip bulb techniques from his father and incorporated everything he was taught into growing tulips in New Jersey. Holland Greenhouses Inc still operates today as a wholesale growing company that ships millions of tulips to supermarkets up and down the East Coast.
His son, also named Casey, continues the family tradition as the owner-operator of Holland Ridge Farms. The farm usually hosts two annual flower festivals; a tulip festival in the spring and an equally amazing sunflower event in the fall. The events typically draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to explore the fields in bloom. – tulips in the Spring and sunflowers in the Fall. The events attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the East Coast and continue to grow every single year.
Unfortunately, as the colors were starting to come in focus in New Jersey as the weather warmed, the COVID-19 Pandemic took root in the Garden State too. Jansen had hoped to offer a drive-through tour for visitors to experience the colorful scene with their own, socially distanced eyes, but the state of New Jersey ordered them to cancel such plans. Now Jansen is trying to sell as many of the flowers he can online.
“We want to bring colorful joy to families during these troubling times,” Jansen told us. “We have invested more than a million dollars into growing these flowers and it’ll be very difficult to recoup that investment.”
Beyond the pandemic, Jansen is facing another threat: lingering wintry weather. The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for most of New Jersey for tonight into tomorrow; Holland Ridge Farms is included in the warning.
“Usually cold snaps don’t concern us, but a frost can be an issue. And a freeze can do serious damage,” Jansen said, after we reviewed the forecast with him. Weatherboy’s official forecast brings the overnight low temperature in Cream Ridge down to 29 before sunrise.
However, while freezing temperatures could harm the crops, Jansen assured us they’re cutting flowers and storing them in above-freezing chillers at 35 degrees to keep them available for sale. Jansen hopes to sell as many of the perishable flowers as he can as time runs out on the bloom.
“We can’t stop these flowers; Mother Nature is in charge here,” Jansen added.
People can purchase the flowers online and have them picked-up at the farm. FedEx delivery is also available for residents of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The farm is selling a bunch of 10 stems for only $4.99 or a set of 20 for only $9.99. Taxes and any shipping are extra.
And to keep in-person pick-ups pandemic-friendly, Jansen tells us an easy pick-up process has been created. “After completing the checkout online, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a barcode. We will scan the barcode at the farm as proof of purchase. Our staff will be wearing both a mask and gloves and will hand you your tulips however you wish.” Bunches of flowers offered will be red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white, or bi-color; at this time, customers are unable to pick which colors they get.
The farm hopes to sell as many tulips as possible; by Mother’s Day.
The farm’s website is here: https://hollandridgefarms.com/