Based on its signs, Linn's Farm Market and Nursery might be expected to sell homicidal fruits and vegetables.
There's a knife-wielding tomato painted on the side of its store, on Route 40 in the Mizpah section of Hamilton Township.
"That's a pirate tomato, chopping into a watermelon with a knife," owner David Linn said. "He's seeing if it has seeds or not."
The result? "I knew you were seedless," the cartoon tomato says.
The signs were painted by his sons, twins Thomas and David Jr., 27, who help run the business, along with youngest son Steven, 24.
"We were really young when we started painting them," said the younger David, a volunteer firefighter at Richland Volunteer Fire Co., who worked to put out a fire while twin brother Tommy pulled a motorist from a burning car Feb. 22 after an accident in nearby Richland.
"Everybody knows them (the signs)," David Jr. said. "If you say Linn's Farm Market, you have to explain where it is. But if you say the place on Route 40 with the watermelon getting cut up, people always know where that is."
The Linns started the market and nursery 17 years ago, but the family has been in the business almost as long as there has been a United States.
"My ancestors started Linn's Nursery in Pennsylvania in 1786. My parents have a photo of the market and a plaque that goes with it," the elder David Linn said. "Technically, that could push the start of the family business to just after the country got going."
Each spring, the market opens with vegetable plants and flowers, and then adds a full line of vegetables, fruits and especially tomatoes.
Linn said the market has greenhouses on site and at his father's property in Buena Vista Township. In the field behind the market and house, the family plants zucchini, squash and pumpkins.
During the season, Linn's Farm Market is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
Linn recently installed coolers so he can add things such as apple cider this year, and he'd like to get into the fresh pie business. He can even take payment from food assistance programs such as the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, he said.
Antoinette Walsh, of Egg Harbor Township, said she has been going to Linn's Farm Market for fresh produce as long as she has lived in nearby Landisville.
"I stop here all the time," Walsh said as Linn helped her load bags of vegetables and fruit into her car.
David Linn said he started in flower farming at age 11, but worked much of his adult life in construction, starting the farm market on the side.
One of the last construction jobs he worked was the garage at Revel Casino-Hotel.
"The economy just dried up as far as construction goes. I'm not even attempting to go back into construction," he said. "I'll stick with the farming. The money's less, but that's OK. When you make less, you just spend less."
During the height of the season, he has more signs up along the road, he said. Those include images of tomatoes attacking peaches. Some are mellower, like a cool cabbage with sunglasses.
Others aren't violent, but may be disturbing nonetheless.
"Yes, the peach is licking the tomato," the elder David Linn said, as he examined another of his sons' creations, showing a clearly terrified tomato. "And this strawberry over here - he just looks stoned."
Business editor Kevin Post contributed to this story.
Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:
Linn's Farm Market and Nursery
Location: 6797 Harding Highway, Hamilton Township
Owners: David and Margaret Linn, of Hamilton Township
Employees: Sons Tommy and David Jr., 27-year-old twins, and Steven, 24