If you've ever visited the Peticote Junction flower fields or farm stand, chances are pretty good that we've already met! Allow me to take some time to tell you a little more about my personal journey to finding and spreading joy through flowers.
I'm Jennifer Pettit and I grew up on a farm in Southampton, New Jersey, called Peticote Farm. It was a dairy farm until the early 2000’s when my father converted the dairy barn into a veterinary clinic and switched over from a large animal practice to a small animal practice. I spent summers riding horses, feeding calves, baling hay, and painting the white board fence that surrounds the property. Both of my parents also grew up on farms and my grandfather, William Pettit, Sr. helped to establish Farmland Preservation in New Jersey (aka The Garden State).
One of my favorite things to do while growing up at the farm, was to go to my great grandmother’s house in nearby Rancocas, where I would spend hours playing and reading in little nooks and rooms in her beautiful garden. I watched her grow flowers and create enchanting flower arrangements for her friends and family- and in the process- fell in love with flowers and the effect they have on people. I saw that flowers have the power to evoke nostalgia, excitement, and calmness with their fragrance, to bring smiles to peoples faces and joy to their hearts. They are a reminder to slow down and be present and grateful for the important things in life, and they instantly add beauty to the most mundane spaces. I carried my love of flowers with me to college in Ohio where daffodils reminded me that spring had arrived and that summer was just around the corner.
After graduating college, I built a successful career in fashion working with brands such as BCBG Max Azria, Milly by Michelle Smith, MZ Wallace, and Rebecca Minkoff. I also curated a beautiful life in New York City, where I lived for fifteen years, in a charming little West Village townhouse and spent summers going out east where I enjoyed time socializing, running and surfing. And while I loved my career in fashion and life in New York, I found myself searching for something different, both personally and professionally. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, and fashion shut down, I found myself on a new road in life.
I moved back to the farm I grew up on in New Jersey to be close to my family during lockdown. While there, I found myself missing my Saturday visits to my local NYC florist and began dreaming of flower fields and childhood memories in my great grandmother’s garden. Coinciding with this, I was helping out at the family veterinary practice (also on the farm) which was busier than ever. I noticed the parking lot was full of cars every day with owners waiting for their pets for up to an hour. A true NYC gal at heart, I thought… “if it were me, I would rather be shopping,” and an idea was born… Peticote Junction. A farm market with fresh cut flowers, like my great grandmother used to grow.
In summer of 2020, my mother and father and a few, dear family friends, helped me to plant a field of sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias at the farm. I built a farm stand and sold “pick your own flowers.” Seeing the smiles and joy radiating from customers faces convinced me that this little idea has evolved into a journey and a mission to share my love of flowers with as many people as possible. As I’ve developed my knowledge of flowers and gardening, I have also discovered a beautiful community of kindred spirits that has reassured me I have found my calling in life.
As I finish my second season of flower farming, I am feeling more grateful than ever for that fork in the road that led me on this new path home (literally and figuratively). I am excited to finally share, that I have big dreams coming to life in 2022. Here at the farm a renovation is underway on what will soon be The Farm Stand at Peticote Junction.
In what was once an old feed room, attached to two silos, we (it takes a village) are creating a space that will be a place for our community to gather, eat, shop, learn, and grow (literally and figuratively). We will be hosting workshops on agriculture, horticulture, art, and wellness, and I could not be more excited to share it with you all.
I invite you to follow a long and be a part of the journey with the hope that it will bring beauty, joy, inspiration, and a sense of community to you on your own journeys. I’ll be sharing what I’m learning, my bumps in the road, my wins and losses, and what keeps me going with the hope that it will help and or inspire others on their own paths.