Mount Olive’s Ashley Farms turns 75 years old

All photos courtesy of Ashley Farms

 

By Steve Sears

Larry Ashley, Aimee Ashley Myers, and Scott Ashley

Aimee Ashley Myers, one third of the family ownership team of Ashley Farms in Flanders, put it best.

“Things feel so quick in society sometimes, so it feels incredibly special to be celebrating 75 years of our family business – and to have our fourth generation working on the farm. It is not always easy to run a family farm; it takes determination and a ton of hard work. But for 75 years our family has persevered and enjoyed a lot of success, which makes us incredibly proud and fulfilled.”

Aimee and her brother Scott are the third generation, their dad Larry the second. Larry’s mom and dad, Muriel and Hubert, were the founders back in 1948.

Myers added, “We believe that we are the longest current business in Mount Olive, and that’s something we are very proud of. It is an absolute privilege to feed local families, and we couldn’t do any of it without the support of our local customers. It means so much to us to be able to carry on what Hubert and Muriel Ashley started here in Flanders with their young family in 1948.”

The backstory is interesting. Muriel, from Brooklyn, vacationed often in Flanders, where Hubert was born and raised. Both met during one of those vacations, eventually got married, built a home, and settled in the township. Hubert, who worked as both a bus driver and also toiled at Kenvil’s Hercules Powder plant, then secured a third profession as a farmer, buying local property from another farmer. 

It started with turkeys. Myers said, “Someone gave him some turkeys to raise to see how he liked it, and the rest is history. As they raised their family, the farm grew, too. In the early 1960s, my two aunts set up a table right on the front lawn and sold enough homegrown corn and tomatoes to buy a new pickup truck. That’s when the farm started to diversify into more than just turkeys. The then seasonally open farm market was built in the early 1970s, and after four renovations and four generations later, we are doing very well. I hope they (Muriel and Hubert) would be proud of how far we’ve come. They worked so hard and had to take so many leaps of faith in their early days. I admire what they did so very much.”

Diversification being what it is and has been for the Ashleys, still turkeys will always be a prominent part of the business.

“We raise our homegrown turkeys from day old poults that we get from a hatchery in West Virginia,” Myers said as

Muriel and Hubert Ashley

she explained the journey from raising to sale. “They are raised on premises in huge airy barns and only handled by a handful of our staff. We make all the turkey feed onsite with homegrown corn and soybean meal that we buy from a feed mill in New York state. We process and sell all turkeys on-site. This year we are raising 8,400 and most will be sold for Thanksgiving. We also use our turkeys to make our own products, including turkey salad, soups, turkey burgers, turkey sausage, ground turkey and much more. We have generations of families who buy turkeys from us every year for Thanksgiving.”

2023 has been so busy for the farm that the Ashleys are bit behind in celebrating. However, they will celebrate, and invite you to do so as well with them.

Myers said, “We have some fun giveaways for our customers coming up, and plan on celebrating with family, friends and business associates sometime in the spring.”

Ashley Farms is located at 25 Hillside Avenue in Flanders. For more information, visit www.ashleyfarmsonline.com.

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