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Hunterdon Land Trust

Our Winter Farmers’ Market

Who says you can’t find great local food in the winter?

The Hunterdon Land Trust’s winter Farmers’ Market kicks off its sixth year on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dvoor Farm, 111 Mine St. in Raritan Township. The market is held in our wagon house.

Farmers and vendors you will likely see during the winter months are listed below. Please note that all vendors might not be at every winter market. We will do our best to keep you apprised of who will be at each market.
Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse — breads including: medieval rye levain, rustic loaf, flax seed armadillo, cranberry walnut loaf, roasted garlic duck-fat ciabatta; cheeses such as: cave-ripened cheddar, baudolino (a strong, fruity and yeasty cheese nicknamed the “brie of Barbarossa”), drumm (a trademark Bobolink cheese that’s complex yet accessible) and frolic (a firm cheese with a sweet and nutty flavor).
Comeback Farm — organic vegetables.
Fieldstone Coffee Roasters — coffee (including beans and ground), teas and more.
Fired Up Flatbread Co. — several different varieties of breakfast and lunch pizzas, breakfast pastries and beverages.
Fulper Family Farmstead — hand-braided mozzarella string cheese — crushed red pepper and parsley, and Nigella seed — ricotta cheese, yogurt and yogurt .
Griggstown Farm — chicken and turkey pot pies, fruit pies (including blueberry, strawberry rhubard and apple crumb), chicken sausages, eggs and more.
Locktown Farm — live cultured food and drinks such as kimchis, krauts, seasonal pickled vegetables, kombucha, ginger beer, sassafras root beer and fermented fruit sodas.
Purely Farm — eggs, artisan sausages, pastured pork (such as ground pork, pork cutlets, loin end roasts, shoulder roasts and more) and turkey.
Sandbrook Meadow Farm — organic vegetables.
WoodsEdge Farm — llama and alpaca fleeces, rovings, yarns, socks, gloves, scarves, mittens, hats, shawls, rugs, USDA yak and aged beef, yak sausage and honey.

The winter Farmers’ Market runs on the first and third Sundays of each month, December through mid-May from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in our wagon house. Other dates are: Dec. 17, Jan. 7 and 21, Feb. 4 and 18, March 4 and 18, April 15, and May 6. (There is no market on Easter Sunday, April 1.)

Shoppers are encouraged to visit this website or Facebook page in case inclement weather forces the market to be canceled.

This year, shoppers will find more than a dozen local farmers and vendors at the market. While most vendors will attend the market throughout the winter, a few will appear on specific market dates.

HLT Spreads Holiday Cheer WithChristmas Tree Farm Preservation

The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm in Holland Township

The Hunterdon Land Trust is helping spread a little holiday cheer with the preservation of the 127-acre Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm in Holland Township.

The farm, owned by Randy and Charlie Brown III, includes the 50-acre Christmas tree farm, wetlands, woodlands and a log cabin with a hilltop view to Upper Bucks County that would make any heart merry and bright.

Six acres owned by the Browns are not included in the preservation. This portion includes an 1850s-era farm house, several barns and a windmill, built in the mid-1960s and operated for several decades as a museum.

Patience and persistence paid off in this preservation effort that began in September 2005. Former HLT Trustee Larry LaFevre knocked on the door of the farm house on Adamic Road to ask Charles T. Brown Jr., if the family had ever considered preserving the land.

“I knew about the property for a long time and admired it,” LaFevre said. “I didn’t know if they would be interested in preserving the property when I approached them, and they were a little skeptical at first.”

Charles T. Brown Jr. with his wife Lorraine.

But Charles T. Brown Jr. warmed to the idea. He had many wonderful memories as a boy visiting the farm, when his Aunt May and Uncle Stanley Folk then owned it. The Folks had no children of their own, but every weekend welcomed a gaggle of nieces and nephews who tromped the hills, played in the grass and fished in a nearby stream.

Charles T. Brown Jr. and his wife Lorraine helped out at the farm and at the Volendam Windmill Museum during May’s elder years, and one of his sons, Charlie Brown III, later moved next door to lend a hand. In the 1980s, the elder Charlie started planting Christmas trees. When May passed away, Charlie Jr. and Lorraine inherited the property.

“My Dad always said this was a wonderful place to be as a kid,” said Randy Brown. “He was a big outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish, and loved green, open spaces. And he didn’t like developments and things like that. As he got older, he got more into this preservation, and Hunterdon Land Trust was very helpful with this whole thing. As time passed, he would say more and more that the boys want to keep this preserved as farmland.”

And both sons appreciate their dad’s decision. “It’s beautiful here. I don’t think people outside this area think of places like this when they think of New Jersey, and that’s kind of sad because of lot of New Jersey is rolling hills and farmland and forests,” Randy said.

“This is really a wonderful community,” Charlie Brown III agreed. “I was a lucky guy to be raised here, and to raise my family on the farmland.”

“The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm is a beautiful and iconic property that represents Hunterdon County’s rich cultural and agricultural history,” said Patricia Ruby, HLT executive director. “It’s quite diverse with its woodlands, wetlands and open meadows, and offers the additional advantages of being adjacent to state-preserved farmland and near a small stream.”

The State Agriculture Development Committee, Hunterdon County and Holland Township assisted in this preservation effort. Sadly, Charles T. Brown Jr. didn’t live to see the preservation through to its completion, passing away on Father’s Day, June 19, 2016.

Although the Christmas tree brought home by Charlie Brown in the holiday cartoon classic was a scrawny, wobbly stick, the trees on this Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree Farm are thick and tall Douglas Firs, noted Kathy Brown, who lives in the historic farm house with her husband, Randy. The tree farm is open Fridays through Sundays, after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. Every tree on the lot is $45.

Now with the farm in preservation, the family is considering ways to grow the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm. The brothers want to expand the farm operation – one option is growing great pumpkins — and they need to consider the future of the windmill.

After Stanley Folk died in 1961, his wife May married “a gentleman who lived down the lane,” Randy said. Poul Jorgensen was an engineer, a master machinist and inventor who held a number of patents. He also had an affinity for windmills. He designed and built the seven-story Volendam Windmill, and opened it as a Museum. Often dressed in authentic Dutch costumes, Poul and May would give tours of the windmill, showing off old tools, ancient millstones and wooden shoes.

When Poul passed away in 1983, May continued running the Museum until her death a decade later. Despite the sails being damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the windmill still stands on a grassy knoll overlooking Adamic Road, a resilient reminder of the Jorgensens’ ingenuity and hard work.

Efforts to protect this property, and others like it, also serve to forward the goals of the Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic Program, which aims to protect the remarkable natural, historic and recreational resources that earned this stretch of the river the federal Wild and Scenic designation.

You can read about the windmill here. Interested in learning more about how you can help protect the places you love? Visit our website and get involved!

Charlie Brown III, Kathy Brown and Randy Brown

Hilltop cabin included in the preserved acreage.

 

Hilltop view at the farm.

Building the Volendam Windmill in Holland Township

Postcard image of the Volendam Windmill Museum circa 1967.

Recently, Hunterdon Land Trust preserved 127 acres of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm in Holland Township to ensure it would remain farmland for generations to come. This farm is also the site of the Volendam Windmill Museum, and although it’s not part of the preservation deal, the windmill and its construction is quite an interesting story, and serves as another example of our county’s rich cultural heritage. We thought you’d enjoy learning more about it.   

 

When Poul Jorgensen married May Folk in 1964, he no doubt was happy to move onto her roughly 100-acre farm.

You see, Poul always wanted to be a farmer. But when he told May this, she wasn’t particularly thrilled.

Perhaps her memory flashed back to when she moved into the historic farm house in 1937 with her first husband, Stanley Folk, and found chickens clucking around the upstairs bedroom. Or maybe she recalled all the long hours of farming and felt that 65-year-old newlyweds should find a less demanding pursuit.

So Poul told her he wanted to build a windmill. May said, “OK. How hard can that be?”

She had no idea what she was getting herself into.

But, first things first. Poul’s idea to build what would eventually become the Volendam Windmill Museum stretched far beyond the fact that he lived someplace synonymous with windmills: Holland Township.

Poul was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Food was scarce for families there during the First World War, but the Jorgensen family lived down the street from a windmill. Whenever the miller had extra grain, he would hang a flag outside the windmill. All the neighborhood children would rush over to sweep the floors, gathering flour to dump into a bag they could shoulder home so their mothers could bake bread.

“He had an affinity for windmills; they really meant a lot to him,” said Randy Brown, May’s great nephew who now lives on the family farm with his wife Kathy.

Poul was particularly suited for the challenge of constructing a windmill. After retiring from the Royal Navy in the 1940s, where he mastered seven languages and eventually became a ship’s engineer, he immigrated to the United States, working as a master model maker, a master machinist and a tool-and-die maker. He was also an inventor, and held several patents.

Poul and May traveled twice to Europe in the early 1960s, studying windmills in Denmark, Holland, France, Spain and Italy. They returned home with a suitcase full of plans, sketches and notations. They started building in 1965. For the next two years, they worked nights, weekends and vacations constructing the windmill.

“He did almost all of the engineering and about 95 percent of the construction,” Randy noted. If Poul didn’t have the exact tool he needed, he made it.

To propel the sails, Poul journeyed to the Philadelphia Naval Yard and purchased a propeller shaft from a destroyer that was being dismantled, said his great nephew Charlie T. Brown, III.

When Poul couldn’t find a lumber yard that sold the oak beams he needed, he took to driving around the New Jersey and Pennsylvania countryside searching for stands of oak. Upon finding one, he would seek out the owner and purchase the trees. He’d hire a sawyer to fell the trees and take them to a saw mill to be cut under his supervision.

“It’s truly a marvel to see what they were able to accomplish with some ingenuity,” Charles T. Brown Jr. said in a 1986 Courier-News article. “These two people moved one-ton millstones to the third floor by themselves. They never hollered for help. They just did it.”

The tower or smock mill is 60 feet high and 35 feet wide at the base. It is composed of 30 tons of steel, 15,000 bricks and 4,800 cement blocks. Its sails are 68-feet long from tip to tip. In theory, the sails would catch the wind and generate the 15 to 22 horsepower to turn the 200-year-old millstone and grind corn into meal.

The sails ran really well – perhaps too well. “The problem was, once he got it to start, it was hard to stop,” Randy said. “They had to throw a rope around the gears at the top and would wind it down like a top to get it to stop.”

The Volendam Windmill – named after a fishing village north of Amsterdam – became a museum and education center upon opening in 1967. Poul and May would often greet visitors in Dutch outfits, offering tours of the windmill and showing off antique farm tools like a corn sheller that dates back to the Revolutionary War and a dog treadle. As the dog trotted uphill on the treadle, the arm moved a shaft up and down in the keg making butter; a pulley in the front of the treadle drove another shaft that went to a drum with a rotating shaft and paddles down in the keg. This contraption functioned as a washing machine.

“There is one thing which all of us have that we can give away and still have,” Jorgensen liked to say, “and that is our experience. I have always thought about giving my experience away to younger people.”

The windmill quickly became a popular attraction, drawing up to 8,000 visitors in 1972, including students from Trenton State College studying engineering, and 90 area school teachers.

Poul lost his battle with cancer in 1983. May kept the windmill open for several years with the help of her nephew, Charles T. Brown Jr., who began operating a Christmas tree farm on the property in the late 1980s.

May kept her late husband’s dream alive until she too passed away in April 1993.

A couple of closing notes: The farm remains in the Brown family. Charlie T. Brown III and Randy Brown run the Christmas tree farm, which is open weekends after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. The windmill has been closed since the late 1990s. While the windmill is closed to the public, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in Hunterdon County. To check out some of our preserves where you can hike and enjoy some beautiful scenery, please go here!

 

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