In The Beginning

Patterson Greenhouses is a family owned and operated farm dating back to the 1800’s. Its mainstay has been dairy cows for many of these years and potatoes before that, but the last decade and a half brought about many changes. The dairy cows were sold in 1987 and we soon switched our focus to mums and pumpkins. With the selling of the cows, our large inventory of hay and straw could be sold instead of consumed. This aspect of our business has not changed over the years.

In 1989, we ventured into another new area of farming, the greenhouse industry. Starting with a single greenhouse, a couple small fields, and a limited amount of knowledge, the road to becoming a successful business seemed rough. However, we did not feel that our goal was unattainable. Alan Patterson went to college to study horticulture while Don (aka Dad Patterson) learned from other farmers in the area and old fashioned trial and error. It did not take long to get a good grasp in the growing of bedding plants and mums, but it did take a lot of hard work. Every day of the week, including Sunday (unless it’s the summer and there are waves at the beach), Don and Alan wake up before the sun rises to work in the fields or greenhouses. Also, there are very few nights when the two of them are done with their work before the sun sets.

Afamilyfter deciding that we should not limit ourselves to only summer and fall products, we began to grow Christmas trees and other winter goods such as wreathes and grave blankets. It took a considerable amount of time before the Christmas trees were ready for sale, but in 1997 our first trees were sold. The next year, we sold twice as many as the year before and our trees have never looked better.

The retail aspects of the business was always been handled by Kate (aka Mom Patterson) and Sharon (known to most by her uncanny ability to run across rocks with bare feet on a daily basis). Together, they have worked hard to make sure that the customer always gets what they want. In 2006 Mom passed away, so now you will find Sharon with one of her helpers. The other Pattersons, who you may have seen on occasion, are Cindy, who works in New York City, Rich, who is a graphic designer and can create web pages such as this one, and Dave, who is a high school math teacher and of course our latest addition, Oliver, the crazy puppy! Over the years, Patterson Greenhouses has grown to become a very respectable business with a large inventory and caring employees. We hope to continue to grow to meet the needs of our customers as the years go on.

The Patterson House

The Patterson house that exists today was built in 1834, by Frank and Austin Patterson, since then it has seen very few changes in its roughly 150 years of existence. They had originally built the house for their father John C. Patterson Sr., who was a tax assessor for Monmouth County for 40 years, also he served as a postmaster and made coffins in his spare time. They first built the carriage shed (which no longer exists today), in order to have a place for there horses while they worked on the house at night, since it is believed that they lived in the Freehold area at the time. When John died on February 16, 1879, he passed the house down to his daughter Sarah. Sarah was a teacher at Sandy Hook until 1894, which is when the Spanish American War broke out, this is when she officially moved into her fathers house.

Around 1898 Edwin S. took over the care of the house. It was said that his wife Laura M. Pittenger would not move into the house until there was a kitchen and a big bedroom for them. This is the point in time when the kitchen was added, since Laura did not want to have to cook over a hearth any longer. Edwin was born at Sandy Hook in 1873 and served on the Coast Guard. Edwin got his name from E. Stanton, who at the time of the Civil War was Secretary of War. Since Edwin’s father had varicose veins, he could not enter the war with his brothers, but still wanting to do what he could, he wrote a letter to Stanton to see how he could help. It was at this time that Charles W. Patterson became a light house keeper at Sandy Hook from 1861 to 1885. To remember what the secretary of war did for Charles, he named his son after him, Edwin Stanton.

Upon Edwin’s death in 1958, the ownership of the house was transferred to Charles Wesley Patterson. Charles rented the house out until Don and Kathy were married in 1970. Where upon Don and Kathy took over the house, which still today serves as the home of Don, Kathy and two of there five children. On the walls of what now serves as the dinning room, you can still find a picture of the house from the 1850′s, without the bedroom and the kitchen that Laura requested. You can also find a picture of 4 Patterson brothers going off to the Civil War, plus a picture of Charles’ house that was built in 1859, by his grandfather Charles W. Patterson, that was given to Charles and his wife Clara for their 50th wedding anniversary. It beautifully depicts the house in its prime.

Therefore, even today Don and Kathy have there own piece of history, with the hopes of someday passing it on to one of their children to keep it in the Patterson family. It will always be a place where you can discuss anything from the Lenape Indians which once made there home on parts of the 70 acres to the changing in the scenery. But I am quite sure that if these walls could talk, they could write a novel full of interesting stories all on their own.

The Pink Elephant

elephantThe pink elephant dates back to about 1960 when our grandfather was the Republican Mayor of Howell. The elephant was a gift and our grandmother thought it would be nice if it was painted pink. As time went by, he became a landmark for the Patterson Dairy Farm. Over the years the weather had taken its toll on him, totally destroying his trunk.

After many years we finally have restored him to his original self. Hopefully he will now become a landmark for Patterson Greenhouses for many years to come.