An Amish Greenhouse

Attention green-thumbers–here are some photos from an Amish greenhouse near Summerhill, New York (Cayuga County):

Amish Greenhouse Sign

“It is getting so the Amish are all over the place,”  observes Tom.  On this trip he traveled through Amish communities including “Romulus, Marathon, Summerhill, the Swiss in Clyde and finally North Rose”–just a few of the 40+ Amish settlements in New York.

Amish Greenhouse

About these photos: “The folks that run Summerhill Greenhouse are in South Cayuga County, NY in the town of Summerhil between Locke and Homer…Both the settlement in Marathon (folks are from Punxsutawney, PA) and Summerhill are conservative, rough around the edges kind of places.”

Amish Hanging Baskets

Some Amish homes have impeccably-maintained appearances, with manicured lawns and tidy gardens.  But not all Amish put such emphasis on an upkept look: “In Marathon few houses get sided when they are first built and will be like that for many years…I guess siding and paint and things like that are not important.”

Amish Greenhouse Flowers

The settlement may be rough around the edges, but the flowers sure look well-tended.

Amish Oil Drum Stove

Looks like a couple of metal drums have been converted into a stove. You have to warm greenhouses sometimes and I would think especially in upstate New York.

In the late Pennsylvania winter when my produce farmer friend Abe is starting his seedlings, he’ll have a fire going round the clock. You have to babysit it, which has him getting up in the middle of the night to add fuel. It gets pretty toasty in there. He even has fig trees growing year-round.

Amish Greenhouse Produce Plants

Hope you enjoyed this look inside an Amish greenhouse in New York state (thank-you to Tom).

Have you ever purchased flowers or plants from an Amish greenhouse? Would be neat to hear where, and/or what you got.

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    1. Richard from Amish Stories

      And a business question for Erik about the Amish

      First good morning folks and Erik I do see some of these type’s of green houses around my neck of the woods, although I’ve never really stopped and gone inside one as yet. Those crafty Amish sure are great at business, and I wonder if there is any business that they have not started yet. Which brings me to this question Erik, Is there a legitimate enterprise with good profit potential that would be off limits to someone who is Amish. And I’m not really talking about selling computers because thats too easy, but something that might be out of their comfort zone even though it had good potental.Ive been in a fair amount of Amish run businesses and they seem from the outside anyway to run a very tight and efficient ship, with a good amount of success. Your the business guy Erik so ill look forward to your answer. Richard

      1. Future (currently off-limits) Amish businesses?

        I think the comfort zone Richard is a good description. There are obviously certain businesses that Amish seem to excel in, and gravitate towards doing (wood-related, construction, crafts). And some are off-limits, the morally questionable (running a nightclub or casino) or the ones that are too “un-Amish” or too outside-the-box, like things to do with computers and so on.

        You do see unusual businesses and occupations though (house-mover, fur dealer). I think it takes some courage to start doing something new in a close-knit community, but when it works and is accepted, others can and will follow. Solar technology businesses are not plentiful with Amish but there are some that have been trailblazers in the field, there will be more, and it will be easier to go into since it has been established and accepted (especially as demand among Amish grows).

        Some potentials might be: car mechanic? (Amish already do engine repair and even some car work), architect? (Amish designers already do a lot of work in other fields), winery? (some Amish make their own, and drink in moderation–they could promote it as a “health wine”, nutritionist? (Amish are generally quite health-oriented; there are already health-related businesses and it seems a natural fit)…

        Education and credentials requirements will be impediments for some of these, of course. And some might be too beyond-the-pale. In fact it is hard for me right now to imagine Amish doing some of these jobs. But I’m sure Amish of a century ago would be surprised to see what today’s Amish are doing though. It will be interesting to see how far some Amish will be able to go and stay within an Old Order existence.

        1. Richard from Amish Stories

          Thanks for answering my question Erik

          Thanks for my question response Erik And I had an acquaintance in Ohio who was Amish and who worked on tractors, and from what I understand he was really quite good at fixing things. Have a great night everyone. Richard

    2. I am impressed with the greenhouse! The plants look so healthy. We are talking about home businesses here as the economy is not providing jobs for those of us who are over fifty. A greenhouse would certainly work for us.

      We were down in the Kalona (Iowa) area attending the church of Mennonite friends last Sunday. Amish farms there are very well-kept, often have some sort of home business going, and just about sparkle with paint. Next time, I will borrow a camera and get some photos for you.

      1. Thanks Magdalena, would love to see that. It’s been 8 years since I’ve been there. I really liked the area and the people I met.

    3. Rich Stevick

      Team Mennonite produce mkt in Snyder Co PA

      If you’re in Central PA, you have a great opportunity to buy produce, perenniels, and annuals at wonderful prices at a produce auction. They are located less than a mile south of Hilsher’s Store on Route 15–another interesting stop for their Mennonite cooking, 50 minutes N of Harrisburg and open every Friday morning through from late spring through early fall. Most of the growers and sellers are with the very plain Stauffer team Mennonite group and their distant cousins. Speaking of which, my wife’s favorite place is Stauffer’s Nursery just off of S.R. 225 near Gratz in Dauphin County–a lovely drive from Harrisburg. Pauline is willing to drive the 75 minutes from our house b/c of the lovely plants and the even loveier prices. Adding in the gas money, she still figures on saving about half of what she pays at local non-Amish or Mennonite businesses in our Grantham neck of the woods. It’s one of her favorite days of the year. Of course, both places are closed on Sundays.P.S. Great pics, Tom, of their lovely flowers. Are the Amish there part of the Conewango Valley Amish? How far do they live from the Lake Chataqua arts place?

      1. Tom

        Most of the Amish in Summerhill are from New Wilmington PA. Summerhill is Sputh of Syracuse NY just west of I 81 at the Homer Exit. The Mayville settlement in Chautauqua County near the Chautaugua Institute is several hours to the most western end of New York State. The Summerhill folks are much like the folks in Conewango, but they will used some more advanced technology.

        1. Love Summerhill Greenhouse !!!

          A friend of mine took me here after I moved back to my birth place. When I got my own place to live. I was so very Thankful that my friend took me here. The Amish family there are so patient & helpful. I have to be careful of what I get because a lot of plants are toxic to Dogs & Cats. I would never want anything to hurt my Ragdoll ( Zeith ). He is my life Savor. He is Registered. Even so, I wouldn’t want to get anything that would hurt or bother any animal. They have the biggest most beautiful Flowers & Vegetable plants I have ever seen for the price they charge. They are awesome establishment. Many, Many Thanks to Them for blessing this area.

    4. Anne

      I loved reading about this idea! Ed has started a greenhouse in Minnesota, and I wonder if he’s thought of making it an outlet for business, rather than just to start his own plants? If people are willing to drive, he could get good business eventually from places as far as Fargo. But I’m sure it takes time to build a business to that point.

      I look forward to hearing Erik’s comments to Rick’s questions!

    5. Rich Stevick

      Ed's starting a greenhouse or nursery business?

      Hi, Anne, I have an Amish bishop friend who helped start the Leola Produce Auction and also has a produce business of his own. If you think Ed would be interested in contacting Elmer, let me know via my email, and I’ll send you the information. Aus liebe, Rich Stevick

    6. OldKat

      Nice greenhouses, pictures

      Several years ago I bought some vegetable sets from the Amish community on Bee County, Texas. Tomatoes, lettuce, etc. I also bought some flowering annuals, maybe Impatiens, vinca minor, etc. I can’t recall anything special about that experience other than they had two greenhouses; one with flowering plants the other with vegetable sets of all sorts. This was probably in February or March of 2008.

      I have been in a lot of greenhouses this spring and summer (though summer has not officially arrived on the calendar, it is already in full force here) because we have had to replace virtually all of our shrubs and perennial plants due to last years horrific drought. I can say that I have seen few that appear to be as nice as the ones pictured here. Great job capturing these shots Tom. Thanks for posting them.

    7. Anne Arthur

      What wonderful pictures, such healthy looking flowers. We have a herbaceous border we keep at the back of our apartment, its looking quite good just now. We also grow our own vegetables……A lot of the veg is raised from seed, but I do buy lettuce early and plant it in the poly tunnel, we have been using homegrown lettuce for a few weeks now. The cold spring did not do us any favours here in Scotland. We had a few days recently when it was very warm and everything put on a real growth spurt.

      I am surprised not more of the Amish have not gone up the solar panel route, I would have thought it would have been ideal for them as it does not involve using ‘power’ as such.

      When we had a touring caravan we had a solar panel we used to top up the battery, it allowed us to camp on sites with no power so the fridge etc still worked without using gas. I would have panels fitted in an instant if we had our own house.

    8. sarah

      Ooo. I just love the greenhousein summerhill! Those ladies that run it are so sweet. We found the greenhouse purely by accident. The amish had just moved to marathon and we were in search of mast’s bulk food store in summerhill. We stopped at the greenhouse to inquire if they knew where it was. Anyway… i have been a loyal customer to to those ladies at the greenhouse ever since 🙂 i also would like to add that there is also a tomato hot house over there that has the most delicious tomatoes 🙂

      1. Tom

        Harvey’s daughters (not sure of their names) that run the greenhouse are very pleasant. Last week when I was there, one of the daughters said that she was amazed how few people know how to plant and grow a garden. I told her that was a good things because they needed her to give them advise and products to be successful. Walmart and Home Depot aren’t able to give the advise that a young Amish woman has learned over many years working along side her mother in the garden.

        1. sarah

          Yes! Their advise is very helpful. And their plants are soooo lovely. I must make my way over there sometime this week to see if they have any melon plants left… as my evil chickens attacked the ones i had grown…

    9. Ed

      Amish credit union?

      Richard, Erik:
      I think Insurance and Banking might be two legitimate businesses the Amish would not associate with. Insurance definetly not; banking perhaps, as I understand some Amish have bank accounts.

      There was an investment ponzi scam a few years back that was run by an Amishman and involved many Amish, so “money management” or stockbroker might be examples of possible yet dubious Amish occupations.

      There is also an article in yesterday’s New York Times about “micro insurance” being offered to rural poor in 3rd world settings, kind of a compliment to microlending. Makes you wonder if it something like that has been attempted in Amish communities — like an Amish credit union? Could that exist?