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With the picturesque pond and rolling hills that surround the 5-bay greenhouse full of flowers, it’s easy to forget all the hard work that goes into Troyer’s Greenhouse. For the past 15 years, Luke and Tina Troyer have poured their time and energy into the business, which has grown vastly despite hardships.
“We’ve lost three greenhouses due to heavy snow,” Tina explained. But each time it gave them a chance to build up a larger and more sufficient greenhouse. The current structure has heated cement floors that maintain a warm atmosphere, even in the cold winter months.
“I look forward to coming in here in the winter,” Luke smiled. “It’s warm in here.” Ask him if he would like to move somewhere warmer, and he will just give a big, hearty laugh. “Our biggest challenge is living in the snow belt,” he said. “We really get dumped on.” It’s not an easy task, to grow flowers in February, when every day is overcast and cloudy.
But the challenge seems well worth it when the resulting flowers peek out their heads. What began as a tiny 20 foot by 96 foot greenhouse in 2000 has been rebuilt and grown into a 129 foot by 144 foot greenhouse bursting with numerous colors of flowers.
“There are hundreds of varieties,” Luke observed. “We have one of the largest varieties in Chautauqua County.” There are so many, Luke and his family have no answer to what their favorite flower is. “We like them all,” he shrugged.
Hanging baskets are some of the most popular items at Troyer’s Greenhouse. About 80% of their goods are flowers and the other 20% are vegetables.
Luke, Tina and their three children, Elizabeth, Allen and Jacob, keep busy running the greenhouse, which is open from the end of April until mid-October. They begin planting in February amid heaps of snow. As if coaxing flowers out on cloudy days doesn’t keep them busy enough, they also run another business.
Before the Troyers even dreamed of owning a greenhouse, they managed a deer processing business. The whole family is involved with the work. They process up to 1,100 deer per year. They were running that business when they went to visit their friend Dennis in Pennsylvania, who happened to own a greenhouse.
“He inspired us to open our own greenhouse,” Luke said. Dennis helped them as they started out their business, but they learned most of what they now know simply by going for it and trying out new ideas. “We learned a lot along the way,” Tina said.
Almost all of the products they sell are grown right in their greenhouse. They plant the seeds and care for the flowers throughout the year, with different varieties available in different seasons. The only special tool that they use is a watering wand.
While shoppers browse the selections, the family is busy walking up and down the aisles, making sure everything is in order. Out back, their horses roam, adding to the scenery.
A trip out to Troyer’s Greenhouse is not simply a trip to a flower shop. It is an atmosphere all its own, nestled above a long driveway that leads past the pond and log cabin. It doesn’t feel like it’s in a cloudy snow belt. It feels like an adventure waiting to happen. One never knows what can be found among the rows of flowers.
Troyer’s Greenhouse is located at 1669 Weeks Rd. in Panama, NY. They can be reached by phone at 716-782-4887, and are open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.