stafford farm shot

Stafford Farm in Voorhees.

Historic Stafford Farm in Voorhees went on the auction block earlier this month, but no bidders emerged for the nearly 70 acres permanently preserved as farmland, according to the auctioneer.

"We did not receive a bid at the auction, but are in negotiations with several persons for the sale," Maximillian M. Spann Jr. told His firm, Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co., of Clinton, Hunterdon County, lists the farm as "accepting offers" on the company website. The auction closed October 1.

Spann said he received at least a half-dozen verbal offers and expects a sale in the next two weeks.

Stafford Farm is a regional landmark, dominating the corner of the intersection of White Horse, Evesham and Springdale roads on the Voorhees-Cherry Hill border. The auctioneer's advertisement suggests: "High-visibility signalized intersection provides a wonderful opportunity for running a farm market, vineyard, hard cider mill, brewery, tree farm, or whatever agricultural venture you wish to pursue."

The minimum auction bid was $900,000 for the farm with a distinguished provenance — dating back to 1773, when Gen. George Washington gave the land to his personal guard, Lt. John Stafford.

In the last 247 years, Stafford Farm has been sold only twice. The Stafford family owned it until 2004, when the full 140 acres was sold to Voorhees Township, the state and a nonprofit for $20.6 million so that the property would remain protected from commercial development. The second sale was a year later, when 69.81 acres of the farm were sold for $1.06 million to Ken and Amy Kazahaya. Voorhees maintains half of the total acreage as preserved open space on the north and east sides of the farm.

"I think this is the time that somebody else can enjoy the place," Amy Kazahaya told in a September 12 interview at the farm as potential buyers toured the acres. "Our focus has shifted," said Ken, a a physician specializing in pediatric ENT at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the city and in the Voorhees office.

» MORE: Winery? Brewery? Farm stand? What's the future for Stafford Farm?