Holland Ridge Farms: New Jersey’s private field of dreams

Holland Ridge Farms: New Jersey’s private field of dreams

When Casey Jansen left the Netherlands as a teenager in the 1960s to come to America, he must have had dreams. However, no matter how broad his imagination, he could not have predicted how he would one day become the largest selective farm in America with his purchase of 300 acres of farmland in rural central New Jersey.

Buy the farm

Hydroponics in action in Holland Ridge Farms greenhouse | Photography by Sue Vajjer

The Janssen family had a tradition of growing tulips in the Netherlands. When Casey Sr. first came to the United States, he began his tulip farming business in Monroe, New Jersey. He continued this successful business for many years while raising his two children, Casey Jr. and Tatjana. In 2018, he bought Historic Amherst Farms, a 200-year-old dairy farm located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. The original farm was home to thousands of cows and many of the original buildings were intact. This 300-acre plot of land was perfect for Janssen’s vision of a choice tulip farm experience.

Emerging success

Holland Ridge Tulip Farms | Photography by Sue Vajjer

In April 2018, Holland Ridge Farms It opened for the first ever Tulip Festival. This inaugural event attracted more than 30,000 visitors and ignited future growth. Jansen saw the potential for not only future tulip festivals, but also an expansion of the fall sunflower festival. Janssen realized, “If you build it, they will come.”

So, Jansen kept building, and people kept coming. They have currently placed over 8 million tulip bulbs on over 60 acres of farmland. Plant bulbs carefully in rotation to prevent diseases. Insecticides are used sparingly here as well. Attention is always focused on producing high quality flowers. The two festivals a year; Tulips in April and sunflowers in September continue to draw crowds. Up to 20,000 visitors daily on weekends and more than 200,000 pass through the entrance gates each year.

Growth management

Patrick Marini, Marketing Director, Holland Ridge Farms | Photography by Sue Vajjer

With so many people wanting to visit, and parking and access roads at limited capacity, how do you manage growth? Patrick Marini, Holland Ridge Farms’ marketing director since 2019, shared several innovative ideas his team has come up with. The first innovation was timed entry tickets. If you’re like me, you’re not a big fan of sticking to a specific day/time. Marini and his team recognized this fact and quickly introduced a limited number of “flexible” tickets that can be purchased at a slightly higher cost, but can be used at any time – great! They have continued to monitor the customer experience and have adjusted the process further this year to allow people to change ticket times. This constant monitoring of the consumer’s temperature and adjusting to the maximum level of pleasure is just a hallmark of their commitment to making the experience as beautiful as the flowers.

Flower effect

Tulip Farm New Jersey

Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photography by Sue Vajjer

Holland Ridge Farms in full bloom is a stunning sight. The tulip season lasts about three weeks and is about four times larger than the sunflower festival. It’s the Jansen family that brought a little bit of Holland to New Jersey in April, and it’s truly magical. Marini describes it as a “flower park.” This description is very accurate and is a better way to visit the farm; Instead of treating your visit as a quick check-in and check-out, make a full day of it. It should be noted here that if you are unable to reach the farm this year, it is possible to do so Order the exact same bulbs They are also grown in the fields of your home, with a specific variety!

Picture perfect

Holland Women at the Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photography by Sue Vajjer

What can you do besides picking flowers? As a photographer, my first answer has to be photos! There are so many props all over the farm now where one can stand and take pictures and never run out of inspiration. This farm is perfect for Instagram. Another favorite is the feeding zoo. Blaine, the animal caretaker, is responsible for all the cows, goats, horses, pigs, sheep, donkeys and alpacas. There is a rotating list Top notch food trucks Which will also be visited during the festival. There is a wonderful gift shop where you can buy items from Holland as well as pay for fresh cut flowers. This year, the usual price of $1 per leg has been adjusted to 50 cents per leg on weekdays. And everyone loves a bakery… a little too much sometimes. On weekends they have added live music and a farmers and makers market Shuttle bus service from Hamilton Train Station.

Future plans

Tulip farms

Alpacas at Holland Ridge Farms | Photography by Sue Vajjer

What comes next? As if the opening of the country’s largest Tulip U-Pick store on April 5, 2024 wasn’t enough, what’s to come? If you look at the far corner of the field during your visit, you will see construction work. It is a fully functional, original 100-foot windmill that is being built and will be officially opened in the spring of 2025. This iconic symbol of Dutch culture will have a viewing platform and the vision is for it to be a venue hosting celebrations such as weddings. It will also actually work, so it will demonstrate the grinding process as well. It will provide beautiful views when completed.

In addition to the windmill, Marini has a few other ideas coming from the marketing team. The vision is to connect more events to their agriculture theme. Plans are currently underway for a Winter Tulip Holiday Light Show this winter. I’ll be sure to be on the mailing list for this!

Directly from Holland

Tulip Festival at Holland Ridge Farms | Photography by Sue Vajjer

I thought my visit to Holland Ridge Farms was over when Marini asked, “Do I want to see the hydroponic greenhouse?” That’s when I learned about the business behind the business. The hydroponic greenhouse is a business that Casey Sr. was involved in before starting the farm. The greenhouse in Upper Freehold is a state-of-the-art automated facility with equipment direct from the Netherlands. It will be completed in 2023, which is an amazing achievement. From October to May, between 40 and 50 One million bulbs are imported from the Netherlands. They are run through a conveyor system and in 60 days are grown and processed from bulb to flowering. Once in bloom, they are gathered into bouquets and distributed to supermarkets in the tri-state area using Holland Ridge Farm’s fleet of trucks. Walking through the greenhouse with Marini seeing each stage of growth was an education in agriculture. The goal is to start organizing tours for school groups and gardening clubs in the future, Marini said.

It blooms brightly

New Jersey Tulip Farms

Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photography by Sue Vajjer

The success of Holland Ridge Farms is no coincidence. Every decision is carefully weighed by Casey Sr., his family and his staff. They know that during festivals only 10 to 20 percent of the flowers are picked. They have seen migratory snow geese landing in their fields and visiting them in the winter months. Their love for Dutch culture runs deep. They know that tulips are the universal symbol of love and rebirth. They believe in promoting their love of flowers and agriculture at their home, The Garden State. Holland Ridge Farms currently employs 10 full-time employees and more than 200 seasonally, drawing from a pool of local residents and retirees who return each year. It is this connection to the land and people that makes a visit to Janssen Farm not only an experience, but a lifelong memory.

About the authors

Sue graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English when you could still get a degree in reading great literature. She spent nearly 40 years working in sales and marketing with companies ranging from nonprofits to small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. She recently retired after nearly 20 years with S&P Global, and is now free to pursue her true passion in hiking Long, writing and photography. Sue was born and raised in New York State. As a New Jersey native, her passion for the special blend of culture and nature that uniquely defines Jersey is what Sue loves to share with the world. She has a grown son and is insanely proud of him. Her husband of several decades is a wonderful life and hiking partner. When Sue isn’t out exploring, she’s most likely at home reading a novel with her dog.

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