Every year for the past 17 years, Mary and I would drive out to Wyckoff's Tree Farm in Belvidere NJ to cut our own tree down. Wyckoff's was famous for literally having mountains of trees to choose from. After cutting the tree down, we'd head to a Poinsettia Farm across the street (Gro-Rite) and then down to Hot Dog Johnny's in Buttzville NJ (no there is a Buttzville and you can have your mail stamped from their post office). Year after year a little bit of Americana served Northwestern Jersey style.
Last year, Wyckoff's started showing its wear and tear as other people discovered it and their owner was stricken with cancer and missed a growing season a few years back. However, we remained faithful more to the entire experience, but faithful never the less. Now, our annual hot dog-Xmas tree-poinsettia tradition has run into a humbug courtesy of outsourcing.
As always, we ran to the Poinsettia Farm's greenhouses that used to be filled with an endless sea of plants. And, not your standard red and pink boring poinsettia plants. There were mixed colors, burgundy, pink and white, and poinsettia trees. However, it was locked and when I went to ask the worker we've seen for years to let us in to take pictures, he said they stopped growing them because it costs too much money and it is cheaper to get them from Ohio. Ugh, back to the standard boring plants that you can get at Walmart.
Now, I'm not saying that I understand the farming business, but this was a unique opportunity. I mean look at these pictures from the last two years. Where are you going to see something like that (I know, Ohio)? This farm seemed like a well kept secret, so perhaps a little marketing could have saved our unique plants. That's what some of the more successful farms in our town have done like Alstede's.
Outsourcing took a way one of our favorite Xmas past times. We were still able to cut down a tree at Wyckoff's but with everything they've been through the mountain of trees are long since gone and they are trucking pre-cut trees in too. It is a shame that a unique product is being swept aside for homogenized profits. At least the hot dogs we had at Hot Dog Johnny's were still served by the same people for like a $1/dog with only onions, mustard, and pickle available as condiments. Hopefully, they continue to embrace their uniqueness in a sea of sameness. Long Live Hot Dog Johnny's.