Vegetable Farm was started in 1956 as a wholesale vegetable farm principally
growing blueberries, asparagus, strawberries, sweet corn and other
vegetables. About 1961 a small roadside stand was set up to
sell vegetables grown on the farm. In a year or so, several
small greenhouses were added to grow spring bedding plants.
From this small beginning of 25 acres of vegetables and two or three
greenhouses, the present business emerged. Glenn and Mary Ellen
Gross were the founders of the organization, renting the land from
Mr. Henry Thornton, owner of Ashcombe Farms.
For a number of years, the Grosses worked with one or two helpers,
plus seasonal workers, to plant the flowers and vegetables, trim blueberries,
harvest asparagus and do the many chores that such an operation requires.
Over the years, the vegetable farm doubled in size and fruits and
vegetables were purchased from outside sources to sell at the constantly
changing roadside market. Major expansion occurred between 1970
and 1978. A fire destroyed a number of buildings in 1974.
The rebuilding of the produce department took place in 1975 and a
fire protection (warning) system was installed.
In 1977, a tract of land was purchased along with buildings, at Shermans
Dale, including a greenhouse owned by Glenn’s father and redesigned
for growing spring bedding plants. The Ashcombe facility had
started to grow foliage and flowering plants. Selling both wholesale
and retail, the business filled the available land with greenhouses.
As the business grew during the 1970’s, garden supplies and
dried flowers were added to the already thriving plant and produce
business. Later a gift shop was added. In 1983, a small
bakery came into being in the produce department (at the main store).
On May 22, 1989, a devastating fire completely destroyed the retail
store. Through the efforts of many dedicated employees, the
operation was continued in the parking lot on a reduced scale until
the present architecturally designed facility was built with enlarged
departments throughout, enabling increased products and services in
each. This new complex was ready for use in March 1990, a thrilling
time for everyone involved. Ashcombe is an ever-changing operation
with quality products and services in all departments, including a
full bakery, deli and gourmet foods, plus expanded garden supply,
perennials, a well stocked nursery during spring and summer, wholesale
plants and an antique area.
Ashcombe continues to be a viable part of the community providing
employment to many full time and part time staff and seasonal employees.