Retirement Man was once again looking for adventure on a beautiful fall morning when he drove up Pawlingâ€™s Charles Coleman Blvd, past Lakeside Park, and onward for another two miles or soâ€¦and came upon DYKEMANâ€™s FARM.
If you like being transported back to another place and time, then do visit this old farm. When you pull in youâ€™ll immediately notice the pond, ducks, walking bridge, and inviting atmosphere. This is certainly not your standard local grocery store. It is a magical place where you feel an immediate connection to the land, the growing process, and the people involved. You notice the greenhouses up a dirt path, the numerous tractors, and the rolling rows of plowed fields. This is truly a full working farm. The buildings are strewn with shovels, seed bags, fertilizers, hoses, you name it.
The Dykemanâ€™s are a third generation farm family. Henry Dykeman, Sr. started the business in the 1920â€™s, delivering fruits & vegetables through local streets utilizing an old farm wagon. Most of Henryâ€™s customers eventually became door to door regulars. His wife, Velma, helped him stack the fresh produce each morning, and the business began to grow. Many local people remember that the Dykemanâ€™s had a market store on Rte 22 for many years. In 1998, theÂ family finally decided to bring the business back to the actual farm, right in front of the original â€śGone With The Windâ€ś-like farmhouse that was purchased back in the 1930â€™s. In the early 40â€™s, Henry bought the present farm. His son, Henry Dykeman, Jr. & his wife, Jean, helped to pick produce. They later parked a truck near the railroad station in Pawling and sold from there.
In the 1950â€™s the Dykeman’s Farm sent vegetables to the Dutchess County Fair â€“ where they won the championship five different years. (It was a lot of work, but very satisfying.) Henry Jr. & Sr. went into a partnership and continued to sell their vegetables from the truck near the railroad station. They also had â€śPick Your Ownâ€ť strawberries at the farm during the month of June.
During the 1960â€™s land was bought on Route 22 in Pawling and The Henry Dykeman’s Farm Market was built. (Approx. 1961-62) Henry Sr. and Velma retired. Hank and Jean and their entire family (daughters Ginger and Sandra, and son, Wright, and other relatives) pitched in and helped. High quality and freshness was always a # 1 priority with their vegetables. The market started as a two-bay garage-type structure. The third bay (first addition) was added in the late 60′s. Schools were contacted during the pumpkin season, letting children have field trips picking pumpkins and learning about how pumpkins grow. A greenhouse was built at the farm, and tomatoes were grown to have an early crop to sell at the market.
In the 1970â€™s, Wright Henry Dykeman, Henry Jr. and Jean’s son, joined the business full time with his wife, Beth. Bedding plants (flowers and vegetables) were added to sales, opening the market on May 1st of each year.Â Beginning in 1975, Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins began Columbus Day weekend. Interest in houseplants caused a need for a small addition (second) to the market in 1976. As the business and customer needs steadily grew, new product lines were added. In the 80â€™s and 90â€™s the business continued to expand. The Dykeman’s reputation for quality and conscientious service gave the Dykemanâ€™s a rapport with the local public as well as travelers and commuters. They were told that they had become a ‘landmark’ on Route 22.
In 1997 the Dykemanâ€™s decided to bring the business back home to the farm and farm houses.
This enabled them to bring their customers (whom they consider friends) to the farm and share with them their love of the country life. People could now see where the crops are grown, pick their own crops in season, and escape the busy world for awhile. In essence, the Dykeman family is more than down to earth, friendly and helpful, they are everyoneâ€™s family.Â Beth Dykeman is right there at the stand, ready with a smile and helpful tip of the day. Sheâ€™ll tell you about the activities on the farm and how the weather is making for a good crop this year.
The real fun at Dykemanâ€™s Farm is when Bethâ€™s husband, Wright, pulls up on his big tractor, displaying a big country smile. Wright is always ready for a big â€śhowdyâ€ś or â€śgreat dayâ€ś as he heads off to the fields. Youâ€™ll also find Henry Dykeman, Jr. still working away, pulling up crops just like heâ€™s done for more than 70 years. His wife, Jean, will greet you in front of the farmhouse with colorful old stories from long ago. I cannot express enough how refreshing it is to visit a business where the proprietors actually care to treat you like an old friend. This is exactly what you can expect at Dykemanâ€™s.
The fresh vegetables they sell areÂ home grownÂ right here on their farm. TheyÂ also sell a few local fruits. The Dykemanâ€™s sweet corn is fresh picked EVERYDAY, and sold the same day, guaranteed! Believe me, its right from the fields and truly delicious.Â The Dykemanâ€™s do not wholesale theirÂ sweet corn to any other stand or farmerâ€™s market. Their sweet cornÂ isÂ only available atÂ their “shack” and at the Pawling Farmer’s Market (every Saturday during the summer from 9 a.m. to Noon). The Dykeman Farm stand is open every day from July 1 through October 31 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Â After Labor Day, the hours are 10 a.m. â€“ 5 p.m. They have an honor system for after-hours customers.
Come feed the ducks and enjoy the farm!Â The pumpkin patch, hayrides, andÂ special fun under the tent runs through the end of October.
Dykemanâ€™s Farm, West Dover Rd. (Dutchess Route 20)