Styer Orchard to be Preserved with New Lease

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LANGHORNE, PA – Styer Orchard and Farm, an institution in Langhorne for more than a century, will be preserved for years to come, according to Middletown Township officials.

Township supervisors voted to enter into a long-term lease for the 109-acre orchard and farm off Woodbourne Road, as well as the store on the property. Previously, the farm and the store were under two separate leases.

The township intends to jointly manage the farm, orchard, and store, as founder T. Walter “Pop” Styer did after purchasing the first 52 acres of the property for $ 4,500 in 1910.

Current farm operator Tim Field will take over the operation of the store, the Township of Middletown has announced. A longtime township resident, Field grew up on the property and took it over in 2019 when his parents resigned.

“All those years ago the onus of the Township of Pop Styers was to protect this property from development and educate the community about farming,” said Middletown Township Supervisory Board Chairman Tom Tosti. “Tim Field and his team will help us rise to the challenge.”

Located near the intersection of Woodbourne Road and Langhorne-Yardley Road, the property was originally intended as a nursery. During the Great Depression, Styer turned to producing affordable fruit and vegetables for a community reeling from economic hardship and food insecurity.

He added a farm shop in 1972 and the store flourished as a rural-style market for customers from nearby Levittown, as well as those from the Highland Gate, Cider Knoll and Maple Point neighborhoods that were built remotely. walking in the 1980s.

With increasing pressure to sell to developers, “Pop” Styer instead sold the property to Middletown Township for $ 2.2 million in 1999. He died shortly thereafter, on June 8, 1999, at the age of 102 years old.

The sale, aided by Bucks County and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, was aimed at maintaining the farm as a source of affordable produce and agricultural education.

Since the early 2000s, the farm and the store have been operated under separate 20-year leases. Dave Barberides has been running the store since 2004, bringing to market a range of fresh foods, baked goods and home accessories.

The separate leases placed restrictions on the types of goods and services each could provide and resulted in separate businesses separated from each other, township officials said.

As the end of the 20-year leases neared, the Township of Middletown began discussing consolidation with the two.

“The rationale for the Supervisory Board for this vision is that having one tenant oversee the operations of the entire property will allow the operator the freedom and flexibility to grow their business without having to to tiptoe around a long and restrictive contract, ”the township said. said in a press release. “In addition, a long-term lease will ensure that the tenant is able to invest in the vitality of the orchard and the strategic interest of the operation. This strategy has been used by none other than Pop Styer himself towards the end of his life. “

The supervisory board gave Field and Barberides the opportunity to present proposals to take over the entire property. Formal proposals were submitted in December and the board voted unanimously to grant the leases to Field.

Field and his then-fiancée, Kristin, returned to the Styer estate to manage the orchard in 2019. Last year they welcomed twin sons, Chase and Cole.

“Kristin and I are grateful for this opportunity to bring together the orchard and the market,” said Field. “We look forward to serving the community while pursuing Pop Styer’s vision. I am very happy that my sons are growing up and having the same experiences that I had on the farm.

After their vote, the supervisors thanked Dave and Sharon Barberides and the Styer Orchard market employees for their dedication and hard work. Employees at the store are encouraged to submit applications for jobs with the new operator, supervisors said.

Field plans to rename the company to communicate the unification of the farm store and orchard. He plans to keep fresh food, baked goods and groceries at the store, with produce coming from the orchard directly to the store for the first time in years.

He plans to create more products in-house, using products from the orchard to create seasonal and signature treats, according to the township.

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