Welcome to Duchess Farms!
Tom Brys and Candice Howard
Owners of Duchess Farms
We are excited to be celebrating four years in our house and farm on Davidson's Mill Road. Before we moved to South Brunswick, we lived in North Brunswick for more than 30 years. I wanted to grow flowers and Tom wanted more property and a shop for this projects and his Pinto. By chance, we heard about this property from a neighbor and less than two months later, we were in!
People often ask me what I did before I became a floral designer and then a flower farmer. So I'll go back a few years to give you a brief history. I grew up in Millburn, New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers College with a Bachelor's degree in political science. Most of my career was in government and nonprofit administration and fundraising. In government, I worked for the Governor's Office, the New Jersey Legislature and the County of Middlesex I have also worked for a number of nonprofit organizations including Special Olympics New Jersey, Girls Incorporated and Women Helping Women.
A few years after graduating from college (I delayed going to college for 7 years after high school) I gave birth to our wonderful daughter Emma, who graduated from Boston University in 2019, and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a big fan of the farm and especially loves our sunflowers and honey. We love having her home for long weekends. She considers it her retreat from city life.
In 2013 I decided to go to floral design school and received my design certification from The FlowerSchool New York. After 7 years of designing for weddings, I decided that I really loved growing flowers and that any future designing I would do would be with my own fresh flowers.
Tom says that I am the farmer...which I am since I actually sow and harvest all of the flowers and everything in between. But he helps me with all the big stuff...like building that great high tunnel and replacing our old fence, both of which gave us greatly expanded growing capacity this year. Tom also installed an irrigation system throughout the beds. So yes, I am the farmer but Tom is the Director of Public Works here at Duchess Farms.
We are currently in the process of applying for farmland preservation so that the seven acres we live on will be preserved as farmland in perpetuity. We expect to have that designation in summer of 2023. We have also received a USDA grant to build a second high tunnel on our property in spring of 2023, allowing us to add 6,000 square feet of bed space since 2022!
So that's your introduction to Duchess Farms. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone if you have any questions about the farm, our CSA program, or our honey. In addition to our CSA program, you can find us at Cook's Market from June to October and a few possible popup shops at Penstock Coffee Roasters during the growing season. We will make sure to let you know about any other events on social media and/or by email.
We will have flowers again in May of 2023! Hope to see you then!!
Tom and Candice