Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Closing of the Farm a Reminder of Grim Realities

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Closing of the Farm a Reminder of Grim Realities

Article excerpt

Sadly, another Bergen County farm is being plowed under, its real estate far more valuable than its crop yield.

As my colleague Deena Yellin reported on Sunday, The Farm, a century-old tradition in Closter, has shut down its stand on Piermont Road.

By farm standards, The Farm -- originally Trautwein Farm -- is tiny at 3.2 acres. But it is on the market for $1.8 million, and its owners say they have already received offers from developers.

The closing comes less than a year after DePiero's Country Farm in Montvale announced plans to use nearly half of its 55 acres for a Wegmans supermarket.

That deal has not been finalized, so a spring planting is planned and the farm stand remains open, as it has since 1924. But it seems to be only a matter of time before the farm is history.

Old-timers in Bergen County still mourn the loss of the Tice and Van Riper farms in Woodcliff Lake, and rumor has it that the nearby Demarest Farm in Hillsdale could be on the market.

Each is a victim of the hard work needed to run a farm, high real estate values in North Jersey (even with the recent slump) and the fact that Mother Nature has a lot of say about a farm's financial success.

A drought or an untimely hailstorm or early-season blizzard -- which we've had in the past few years -- can damage or wipe out a whole season's crop or ruin a critical pre-Halloween weekend.

While consumers may be nostalgic for the farms, and the farms have done a great job of making themselves into family destinations, with hay rides and pick-your-own crops, it's not enough for farm families, especially the third, fourth and later generations, who continue putting in the long hours for financial uncertainty.

The land sales may be multimillion-dollar transactions, but each closing makes us all a bit poorer.

Sports betting

Those of you who think an expansion of sports betting is the solution to New Jersey's financial problems should read the article in Sunday's Record by my colleague Jeff Roberts. …

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