Demarest Farm: Jewel of Bergen County

In the late 1970s, Peter and Marsha introduced what would become one of the largest and most important parts of the business: pick-your-own apples and pumpkins. Peach picking came along a number of years later and is rapidly growing in popularity. In 1991, the Demarest Family proudly watched as its legacy continued to grow as their new farm store opened across the street, where fields of corn once grew. Through the years in its new home, the farm market has continued to evolve with the times, still offering the finest quality fresh fruits and vegetables, but also evolving with the time and offering many of the conveniences and services sought today by patrons: a from-scratch salad bar, country bakery, delicatessen, ice cream parlor, and an endless selection of indulgent goodies (like homemade doughnuts and apple cider!) as well as unique gift and gourmet items.

Stories From Main Street: Longtime WorkersBuy, Save 130-Year-Old Bergen County Farm

Sean Adams reports


Elizabeth Demarest, 90, could have sold the farm for big bucks, but she didn’t want to see McMansions sprouting up on her 34 acres in Hillsdale and Saddle River.  “It would have killed me,” she said. The family agreed to preserve the land and sold it to Jason DeGise and Jim Spollen, who started working at Demarest Farm as teenagers. They’re now in their 40s. DeGise handles retail. Spollen prefers the fields.

“You have to have a passion for it,”Spollen said. “Now we’re taking it over, so we’re investing in it. My life’s been invested in it. My family works here, my children, my wife. My sisters worked here. It’s not just a job; it’s a livelihood, a way of life.”

They see a real growth opportunity.

“Now there’s a big, in the last 10 years, (movement) back to local, farm to table,” DeGise said. “And the younger generation’s really being taught that in school,” Demarest said, “in a way, the farm really is staying in the family. They just belong here, and they both are in the place where their passion lies,”she said. “So it’s a perfect match. I’m very proud of them. It’s a good thing.”

  • Pick Your Own Orchards
  • Seasonal Garden Center
  • Fresh Farm Store