Monday, April 7, 2008

History of Goffle Brook Farm

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!