Spyro: “I worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Every morning, I would commute on the Path Train into the World Trade Center basement, and walk the block to the Exchange and go about my business. One morning, a kid came running in, and said a bomb had just gone off. We kind of blew it off, thinking it was a minor accident. Shortly after that the second plane hit, and we actually felt the impact in our building. Everything changed instantly. When I realized what was happening, I felt my blood go ice cold, and I felt numb. Both towers were on fire, hit by planes. Angela was three months pregnant with our son, who was our first child. And I thought to myself, ‘I am never going to get to see my son.’ It was really an apocalyptic scene, people crying, screaming, dust everywhere. 9/11 was a catalyst for Angela and I to have a simpler life, to get in touch with what really matters… to switch our lives and end up in a more wholesome and more peaceful place.
“At the time Angela’s father had a hobby farm, and as an escape we would come on the weekends and I would saddle up a horse, and just ride. It was kind of a therapeutic experience. We eventually became partners with him, which allowed us to transition from the city life, and start a new life here. We had no idea where it was going when we started it. People thought we were crazy for leaving Wall Street and starting a farming business. Especially with no farming experience.”
Angela: “It is very hard work keeping a farm. When we started this, Spyro had zero farming experience. But we have worked hard transforming this farm into our own vision for it. It is a lot of growing pains, trying new things, sometimes failing, but then learning better ways for next season. The agritainment part of this business has really done well for us too.
“Things are really coming together now. We have grown to where every season we have so much going on. In the fall we have a corn maze, pumpkin picking, a haystack mountain to climb, Jumbo Jumper Air Pillow, pig racing every weekend, hay rides, and so much more. We grow our own Heritage breed pork on pasture, we have free-range hens and certified naturally-grown produce. During the holiday season we have a lot going on as well.
“We have hay rides that go across our farm to our farmers market, bakery and cafe, which was originally the barn, before we transformed it. People can have hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as donuts, ice cream, and fudge, among many other things. We also started having weddings here with an authentic, quaint, rustic element to it. We have the cocktails on carts, and hold the ceremonies outdoors. We can host up to 150 guests. We have a chef from the Culinary Institute of America. We are going to incorporate his skills as far as doing farm-to-table venues, and going in that unique direction of serving the food we raise here exclusively.”
Spyro: “We also try to give back to our community as much as we can, because they have given us the opportunity to live a dream. We have begun an annual tradition of offering free admission for our Halloween season to our local heroes, such as first responders. We also incorporate charitable events every year. This year we are featuring John Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen in our maze. The maze design represents their logo, and this weekend a portion of the money we get for the maze goes to their restaurant. We are also donating some of the food we raise here to their kitchen, because we believe in what they are doing to serve the community.”
Angela: “My favorite part of the day, after we have had a nice dinner together, is we will sometimes go for a walk in the fields, and see the beauty that we live in. Because you can lose that beauty in the hustle and bustle of everything. I love it when the sun is setting on a summer night, and we can reflect on how far we have taken this farm since we started. It is amazing how together as a family, we have transformed this farm.”
Spyro: “We run this farm as a family. Our kids are really involved with the farm. It has really shaped their confidence, and the way they interact with people. I know on a busy day in the middle of October, if something is wrong, I can count on my 14- and 15-year-old to take care of it if I cannot get to it. It is amazing to be able to do this as a family. It really is a blessing to be out in the fields on any given day, and just see one of the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen, or to be able to look across the field and see my wife picking sunflowers for the market. It is such a gift that this is my life.”
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1250 Lacey Road
Forked River, New Jersey 08731