On Goffle Road the locals know spring has sprung when the pansies start to appear at Goffle Brook Farm. Many people drive by the desolate store looking for some sign of life. Knowing that soon the lights will be on the “closed for the winter sign” gone and the store bursting with flowers. This is the beginning of life at “the farm”.
Goffle Brook Farm was opened on May 1st, 1968. Although Richard and Dancy Osborne were new in business farming was nothing new to the couple. Dancy’s father, Clinton Carlough, had been the largest apple grower in the state of New Jersey. When the young couple married Richard came to work for at the family farm. Richard loved the farming lifestyle from the first day. He liked working outside; he enjoyed selling at the farmers market and most of all he liked the changes that the seasons brought to his job duties. Richard tried to convince his father-in-law to open a farm stand much like the Tice and Van Riper’s had done many years before. Dancy’s father had bigger and better plans. Mr. Carlough was purchasing more property and adding to his own farm to build a golf course in Mahwah. With the family working together he did build what is now Apple Ridge Country Club.
Richard was taken off the farm to work in a managerial position at the golf course. His natural aptitude for selling and managing the farm worked just as well with the county club atmosphere. Dancy missing her husband with his new evening hours decided to join the family’s new business. So again both of them were working side by side. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for Richard to realize he missed the farm life. . As the saying goes, “you can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy”. Richard hated working inside and being a suit and tie guy. He and Dancy then started looking to follow their own dream which was opening Goffle Brook Farm.
They opened Goffle Brook Farm with a working capital of 8,000. They took some of the old apple boxes and turned them into their display shelves. They would buy Peter’s 20-20-20 (the miracle grow of their day) and package it into zip lock bags so they could offer this great product to the public. Sand and stone were brought in by the truck load and bagged for retail sales. Their children, two daughters, Donna and Wendy were constant fixtures in the store. But, as hard as the work was they loved it and this was their dream coming true. With their farming back round and the knowledge of turf they received building the golf course they became the place to purchase quality grass seed. In the summer they were known for their great local produce. In the fall they were one of the only garden centers that followed Tice and Van Ripers lead and did up a big Halloween business. Dancy was invited to come and watch Van Riper’s painter at the time. Although he painted with an air brush she learned enough to start painting her own version of painted pumpkin. They are now famous for their hand painted pumpkins. December Goffle Brook was and is still known for their spectacular wreaths. In the old days they would get the brush from the golf course when they pruned the spruce trees. Now they have to do it the old fashioned way and purchase the spruce like everyone else.
One of the things the Osborne’s are best remembered for was what they did when they weren’t open. All the customers knew that the day after Christmas Richard and Dancy left for The Florida Keys. Richard and Dancy would close the store from Christmas Eve until March 15th. The customers enjoyed coming in at Christmas and hearing Jimmy Buffet playing in preparation to the Key West trip. To this day at least once a week customers ask if they still go to the Keys. That just shows you how long some of their customers have been coming to Goffle Brook Farm.
Many of the customers today are still the customers they had from the beginning.
Today Goffle Brook Farm is run by Richard and Dancy’s daughters, Donna Dorsey and Wendi Stankewicz and their son-in-law Kurt. Both Richard and Dancy Osborne are descest but the family traditions are alive and well. Kurt and Donna have two boys, Clinton and Kyle and who knows there might be a third generation running Goffle Brook Farm. The Dorsey’s say then it will be their turn to go to Key West for the winter!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Okay so we have been open for a week. In the forty years we have been in business one thing never changes, the men. We have two types of male customer, the one's who love to work in their yard and the ones that don't. I hate to generalize but in the early spring it is still mostly men that do the yard work and purchase the fertilizer. You have the "go getter's" that come before we are even open and wonder if they might be too late to put down the crabgrass killer. It is so cold not even a bear has considered venturing out of hibernation but this human is wanting to put down weed killer. He is the customer that comes in on a beautiful May day ready to obliterate the first dandelion that had the nerve to sprout in his yard.
The "other" male loves when the weather stays cold right up until late April. His wife is hounding him to get out and do yard work but he assures her that the "weed killer" can't be applied unless the bag says so. He never reads directions except when it works in his favor. So when it says, "this product can be applied between March and May" he favors May. He hates gardening so much that he would rather go to a dentist appointment than have quality time with his lawn.
The problem is you don't know who you are dealing with when they walk in. My first inclination when someone asks what should they be doing with their lawn is to tell them the best bet would be to purchase the Scott's Four Step program. That is when you find out who you are dealing with. The "garden lover" thinks that having all four steps together is great but the guy that hates gardening thinks I am insane recommending four steps when he thinks one is too many. So when I have a garden hater I just tell him to try the one step and see how he makes out with that. Undoubtedly when the first dandelion pops up his wife makes him fetch the next step. Better her than me!
Until next time...
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Fountains, Lots of water and lots of lighting. That is one of the main themes of the year. This was the most theatrical display of different greens with pink water and a touch of white and pink blossoms. It was so perfect in the pink and greens it felt like you were in a postcard.
You have to love this fresh flower garden guitar. Who says flowers have to be growing in the ground to be part of the garden?
This was the most spectacular display of opulence at the show. I could just imagine some famous land developer or movie star ordering a couple dozen of these for their wedding. The ferns with the apple blossom and the amaryllis went together shockingly well. The hot pink and touch of lime just pull the entire wall of urns together. Very regal.
Water features are the "must have" this year for your garden. This picture doesn't translate a beautiful lighting sequence that was in between each level of the fountain. Each level has a blue hue that only enhanced the silver foliage used in the planting.