Holland Ridge Farms: New Jersey’s Own Field of Dreams

by Sue Fajgier

When Casey Jansen left Holland as a teenager in the 1960’s to come to America, he must have had dreams. Yet no matter how big his imagination may have been—he could not have foreseen how his purchase of 300 acres of farmland in rural Central New Jersey could one day become the largest u-pick farm in America.

Buying the Farm

Hydroponics in action at Holland Ridge Farms greenhouse | Photo by Sue Fajgier

The Jansen family had a tradition of tulip farming in Holland. When Casey Sr. first came to the United States, he began his hydroponic tulip growing business in Monroe, New Jersey. He continued in this successful business for many years while he raised his two children, Casey Jr and Tatjana. In 2018, he purchased the 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 was ideal for Jansen’s vision of trying out a u-pick tulip farm.

A Budding Success

Holland Ridge Farms tulips | Photo by Sue Fajgier

In April 2018, Holland Ridge Farms opened for their first ever Tulip Festival. This inaugural event drew over 30,000 visitors and lit the fuse for future growth. Jansen saw the potential not only for future tulip festivals, but the expansion to a sunflower festival in the fall.  Jansen realized, “if you build it, they will come.”

So, Jansen kept building, and people kept coming. Currently they have placed over 8 million tulip bulbs on over 60 acres of farmland. The bulbs are carefully planted in rotation to prevent disease. Pesticides are used sparingly here as well. The concern is always on producing the highest quality blooms. The two festivals per year; tulips in April and sunflowers in September continue to draw crowds. Up to 20,000 visitors per day on weekends and over 200,000 total passes through the entry gates each year.

Managing Growth



Patrick Marini, Director of Marketing at Holland Ridge Farms | Photo by Sue Fajgier

With so many people wanting to visit, and parking and access roads having a finite capacity, how do you manage growth? Patrick Marini, Director of Marketing of Holland Ridge Farms since 2019, shared several innovative ideas that his team have come up with. The first innovation was timed entry tickets. If you are like me, you are not a big fan of being committed to an exact day/time. Marini and his team recognized this fact and quickly introduced a limited number of “flex” tickets which could be purchased for a slightly higher cost, but used any time—brilliant! They continued to monitor the customer experience and tweaked the process even further this year to allow people to change ticket times. This constant monitoring of their consumer’s temperature and adjusting to maximum pleasure level is just one hallmark of the commitment they have to making the experience as beautiful as the flowers.

Flower Power

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Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photo by Sue Fajgier

Holland Ridge Farms in full bloom is a spectacular sight. Tulip season lasts for about three weeks and it is about four times larger than the sunflower festival. It is the Jansen family bringing a bit of Holland to New Jersey in April and it is truly magical. Marini describes it as a “Theme Park for Flowers.” This description is quite accurate and a better way to approach a visit to the farm; rather than view your visit as a quick u-pick in & out, make a full day of it.  It must be noted here that if you can’t make it to the farm this year, it is possible to order the exact same bulbs as they planted in the fields for your home, by specific variety!

Picture Perfect

Women of Holland at Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photo by Sue Fajgier

What is there to do besides pick the flowers? As a photographer, my first answer has to be the pictures! There are many props throughout the farm now where one can pose, take photos 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 of top-notch food trucks that will be visiting during the festival too. There’s a wonderful gift shop where you can purchase items from Holland as well as pay for your picked flowers. This year, the usual $1 per stem is being tweaked to 50 cents per stem on weekdays. And everyone loves the bakery… a little too much sometimes. On the weekends they have added live music, a farmers and makers market, and shuttle bus service from Hamilton Train Station.

Future Plans

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Alpacas at Holland Ridge Farms | Photo by Sue Fajgier

What’s coming next? As if opening on April 5, 2024 for the biggest Tulip U-Pick in the country wasn’t enough, what is coming in the future? If you look out in the far corner of the field during your visit, you will see construction. This is an authentic 100-foot-tall fully functioning windmill that is being constructed and will officially open in the spring of 2025. This iconic symbol of Dutch culture is going to have a viewing platform and the vision is for it to be a place to host celebrations such as weddings. It is also going to actually work so it will demonstrate the milling process as well. It will offer beautiful views when completed.

In addition to the windmill, Marini has some other ideas coming from the Marketing Team. The vision is to have more events tied to their farming theme.  Currently plans are in the works for a Winter Tulip Holiday Light Show this winter. I am going to make sure I am on the mailing list for this one!

Straight Out of Holland

Tulip Festival at Holland Ridge Farms | Photo by Sue Fajgier

I thought my visit to Holland Ridge Farms was over when Marini asked me, “would I like to see the hydroponic greenhouse?” This is when I learned about the business behind the business. The hydroponic greenhouse is the business Casey Sr. has been involved with prior to starting the farm. The greenhouse in Upper Freehold is a state-of-the-art, automated facility with equipment straight out of Holland. Completed in 2023, it is an amazing accomplishment. From October through May, between 40 and 50 million bulbs are imported from Holland.  They run through the conveyor system and in 60 days they are hydroponically grown and processed from bulb to bloom.  Once they bloom, they are bundled into bouquets and distributed to supermarkets in the tri-state area with Holland Ridge Farm’s own fleet of trucks. Walking through the greenhouse with Marini seeing each stage of growth was an education in farming. Marini said the goal is to begin running tours for school groups and gardening clubs in the future.

Blooming Brightly

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Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival | Photo by Sue Fajgier

The success of Holland Ridge Farms is far from accidental. Every decision is carefully weighed by Casey Sr., his family, and his staff.  They know that during the festivals only 10 to 20 percent of the flowers actually get picked. They have seen the migrating snow geese land on their fields and visit in the winter months. Their love of Dutch culture runs deep. They know that tulips are the universal symbol for love and rebirth. They believe in promoting their love of flowers and agriculture in their home, The Garden State. Holland Ridge Farms currently employs 10 full time employees and over 200 seasonally, drawing from a pool of locals and retirees that return each year. It is this connection to the land and the people that makes a visit to the Jansen farm not only an experience, but a memory for a lifetime.

About the Author/s

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Sue graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in English back when you could still get a degree for reading great literature. She spent nearly 40 years working in the Sales & Marketing field with companies ranging from non-profits to small businesses to Fortune 100 Corporations. Most recently retired after nearly 20 years with S & P Global, she is now free to pursue her true passions for hiking, writing and photography. Sue was born and raised in New York State. As a New Jersey transplant, her passion for the special blend of culture and nature that is uniquely Jersey is what Sue loves to share with the world. She has one grown son that she is insanely proud of. Her husband of many decades is an amazing partner both in life and hiking. When not out exploring, Sue is most likely at home reading a novel with her dog.

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