"Aunt Annie's Fruit Stand in Hillsdale, NJ." There was a time when any piece of mail marked with this destination would find its way to Demarest Farms. In the early 1900s, Annie Demarest set up a roadside stand to sell the fruit that her brother, Lincoln, had begun growing in orchards on their family's farm. The orchards were a new addition to land originally purchased in 1886 by the Demarest family, who had been farming American soil since the 17th century. Demarest Farms started out with mostly cattle and chickens, but Lincoln's orchards soon became famous, attracting visitors from around the region for juicy peaches, strawberries, apples, and other fruits.
The fruits helped Demarest Farms blossom into what it is today: a farm with a large onsite market offering just-picked produce and complimentary fresh air. In the 1970s, Lincoln's grandson, Peter, introduced pick-your-own adventures, which are still popular with visitors today. After trekking out into the orchards or pumpkin patches to pluck fruit so fresh the paint might still be wet, guests return to the market, where they can visit the ice-cream parlor, delicatessen, or country bakery. The market has a few modern features as well, including a salad bar and a shop with seasonal and gourmet foods.
In Orange Garden Center's expansive nursery and store, cherry-bomb barberries and japanese maple trees keep watch over purple, yellow, and red flowers, all clad in leafy outfits. More than 800 varieties of perennials lend years of color to lawns, and friendly staffers assist more modest makeovers with stone accents, topsoil, and mulches in hardwood or cedar. After running curious palms over Orange Garden Center's stock of ornamental grasses, patrons can retreat inside to peruse gardening tools and specialty items, such as deer repellent and books on tape, to keep plants entertained while their owners are at work. Orange Garden Center also offers a selection of pottery and window boxes, and customers who purchase pottery can take advantage of the custom flower potting area, where staff is available to plant new purchases at no extra cost.