Groff's Plant Farm Images

We've been here a lot longer than we've been here.

Our story starts in 1915 when my grandfather moved his family from north of Lancaster to the southeastern part of the county. Perhaps he was in search of cheaper land or perhaps some of his relatives thought it would be better if he and his brother didn't live so close.

Grandfather operated a stereotypical general farm through the depression and into the World War II era. His cows and tobacco provided most of the income. They moved to Quarryville about the time I was born and my father took the reins of the farm.

Within months of my birth, dad started to plant fruit trees. I grew up with a slowly expanding retail fruit orchard that the family operated until the early 1990s.

I also remember that grandmother had left lots of flowers around the homestead and had wonderful flower gardens in Quarryville. Health forced my grandparents to give up housekeeping when I was 11. In the few years before that I was grandmother's gardener. The grandmother I remember was a huge old woman with a cane and a passion for flowers.

When I was at grandmother's, we would go to the garden. She would point to the weeds and direct me to take them to the compost pile. Or I was directed to divide any overgrown flowers. It was always, "I think that one needs divided. Dig it up. Break it into three pieces. Put one back. There is room for one over there" and then a bag would appear from her apron. You take the other one home. You don't have to believe this, but I soon had a flowerbed at the old house that measured at least 30 by 200 feet. I was hooked for life.

I grew up vowing to leave the farm but quickly became involved in the management when dad retired in 1967. We then did a bit of general farming; the orchard was growing and we were adding small fruits and produce.

On December 10, 1976 my wife and I assumed total ownership of the farm. Fifty eight days later I had a greenhouse operational. Although relocated, it still survives as number 5 in our current complex.

I gained my wife's blessing for this construction by stating that it was needed to grow plants for our produce operation and that she would never have to go into it. Neither of those thoughts had much of a life span. We continued with orchard, produce and greenhouses until the early 1990s when we sold the old farmhouse and some of the land, including the entire orchard. For some reason the buyers did not want the greenhouses, so I partially dismantled them and stashed them in one of the nearby fields.

Carol and I moved to a new house and I again tried to leave the farm. However, two jobs and 352 days later, I began reconstructing the greenhouses.

Since then we have devoted our lives to my true love, garden plants.

We opened as Groff's Plant Farm in April 1993 with five greenhouses. Since then we have added houses each year until we now serve our seasonal retail business with 28 greenhouses. We have the facilities and the necessary nucleus of knowledgeable people to produce a lot of garden ready plants.

Daughter Kris and son-in-law Jon joined us full time in 2006 and have taken over in 2010. Son Tom and daughter-in-law Erin live nearby, but are not involved in the business. The grandkid count now stands at five. These days we're happy to take some time off to watch birds and play with grandkids.

That's our history and as I said, "We've been here a lot longer than we've been here."