Duchess Farms brings color, beauty, and happiness to living rooms and dining tables throughout Middlesex County, NJ, with elegant fresh-cut flower bouquets. Husband-and-wife team Tom Brys and Candice Howard own the organic flower farm; they purchased the property on Davidson’s Mill Road in 2018. Following successful careers in politics, non-profit work, and wedding design, Candice decided to grow flowers for a living, and her husband, Tom, wanted more land for various projects. When they stumbled upon the farm, they found their happy place and settled into their new home within two months.
Dozens of seasonal flower varieties grow at Duchess Farms, including tulips, campanula, anemones and ranunculus in the spring, lavender, lisianthus and snapdragons in the summer, and sunflowers and dahlias into the fall. Greens and textural fillers also grow in the garden beds, so the contrast in the colorful bouquets from Duchess Farms is just right. All the blooms are sustainably farmed without pesticides or herbicides, making them all the more appealing to customers. The bouquets are sold via a CSA subscription that runs from early May to the end of September, and the flowers are cut 24-48 hours before delivery to ensure they remain fresh for as long as possible. Duchess Farms also sells its blooms to floral designers who want to use local, seasonal flowers in their designs. You can also find flowers from Duchess Farms at Cook’s Market on Fridays and at the occasional popup shop in the South Brunswick region.
Candice handles the growing at the farm; she sows the seeds, tends the gardens, and harvests the flowers. Tom is the “director of public works” and helps with the infrastructure, like building high tunnels, replacing fences, and installing irrigation systems in the flower beds. The couple has some exciting new projects, including applying for farmland preservation so that their seven-acre property will remain as farmland in perpetuity. A National Resource Conservation Service grant has allowed them to build a second high tunnel on the farm, adding an extra 3,200 square feet of garden space.
Candice and Tom’s mission is to steward their seven acres responsibly by preserving the land, using sustainable growing practices, planting perennials for pollinators, and creating community through flowers.