Farm is Ideal in all seasons Celebrating 35 years in business
Old photos displayed at Ideal Farm tell the story of its past.
By laurie gordon
LAFAYETTE — The aroma of freshly baked apple cider donuts fills the air as you enter Ideal Farm and Garden. The hot donuts, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, are made every day the farm is open. Many may not know that Ideal doesn't close just because Old Man Winter shows up. It's open Friday, Saturday and Sunday all winter until Spring hours start in April. “The chickens are still laying eggs, we have beef and pork and Amish cheese,” said co-owner Jan Jorritsma. The farm also has a variety of cuts of beef and pork year round. Their mouth watering pies include: Apple, Apple Caramel Walnut, Apple Crisp, Blueberry, Cherry, Cherry Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Pecan, Coconut Custard, Mango Strawberry, Peach, Peach Melba, Pecan, Pina Colada, Pineapple Upside Down, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Very Berry. Ideal also offers the following breads: Apple Caramel, Banana, Blueberry, Cinnamon Burst, Peach Melba, Triple Berry, and Zucchini. Apple Spice, Banana, Blueberry, Butter Rum, Chocolate Chip and Corn varieties round out Ideal's muffin selection. The farm also features its own label of jams and jellies as well as others plus apple butter, maple syrup and pancake mix they bring in. Ideal also has popcorn made from corn grown by The Jorritsma's son, Benjamin. He and his brother, Kyle, help out with everything at the farm. In addition, there are local milks and cheeses from Springhouse Creamery, in Fredon, available. Those apple cider donut sell like hotcakes at the farm and are also part of the “Farm Donut Tower” at The wheelHouse Kitchen & Bar, located within Skylands Stadium. Ideal Farm and Garden is co-owned by Jan Jorritsma and her husband, Ben. Their friend, Celia Oster helps manage the farm. Ideal Farm's Sussex County agricultural heritage dates back to 1910, when Jacob Tanis Sr. bought his first Sussex County Farm. Having immigrated from Holland in the 1890s, the Tanis family initially settled in Paterson. He got into the dairy business by selling extra milk from the family cow and began looking for land and came to Sussex County. Tanis built a herd of 2,000 purebred Guernsey cattle, and increased his farm to over 3,400 acres in Northwest New Jersey. Ideal Guernsey Cattle was known for its reputation of excellence and its standard for quality. The dairy operation scaled down in the 1960's and Jacob Tanis Jr. began developing a prize-winning herd of Aberdeen Angus under the Ideal brand. Though some things changed, Jacob Jr. kept to the standard passed on by his father and instilled the same in his children: quality first. In July of 1984, Jacob Jr.'s daughter, Jan Tanis Jorritsma, and her husband Ben opened their first produce stand. The business outgrew its first location just a few years later and Ideal Farm and Garden Center moved to Route 15 in Lafayette where it remains and prospers today. When farmers market season arrives, in addition to the farm being in full action in Lafayette, Ideal Farm takes to the road and sets up at four area markets Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Young Ben has become known for what he grows including Korean melons. “We brought them to a market in New York City one week and a woman was so taken with them, she came back the next week to buy them for her parents who hadn't seen them in years,” Jorritsma said. “We love making people happy with our produce and everything we sell.” She also likes how area farmers work together. “If someone is out of something, we'll trade and borrow and it all works out,” she said. “It's an amazing community, we have enjoyed being here for 35 years and we look forward to many more."