SEVILLE, Ohio — Although they both grew up at their parents’ greenhouses, Mike and Patti Boyert, of Boyert’s Greenhouse and Farm in Medina County, were also encouraged to try something else.
Both were born into multi-generational greenhouse businesses in Brooklyn Heights that are still in operation. But their parents encouraged them to try something else — to see what they really liked.
For Patti, that meant earning a biology degree at Heidelberg University, and later working in a water quality lab in Coshocton. For Mike, it led to a degree in animal sciences at Ohio State University.
But their love of the greenhouse industry had deep roots — it’s how they met and, since the mid-1980s, it’s been their career.
Mike and Patti grew up about a half-mile apart, and knew each other since the first grade. Mike said when his dad wanted him to branch out and try his hand at something else, he worked for Patti’s father.
“My dad told me it was time to get out of the greenhouse business and go find another job, so I went right up the road and started working for her dad, in the greenhouse business,” Mike said.
He added, with laughter, that she looked good working with flowers, and he knew then that his “future was right there.”
Over the years, the Boyerts and their six adult children have built Boyert’s Greenhouse and Farm into one of the county’s premier greenhouses — growing most of what they sell and also maintaining a registered beef farm.
Mike said one of his passions as a kid was to have cattle and pigs, and now that the family has enough land — about 140 acres — he can support both the greenhouse and the farm.
In fact, both businesses work together, with some things that are grown on the farm for sale in the greenhouse. And in the fall, and for special occasions, the Boyerts hold hay wagon rides and give tours of the farm.
Mike and Patti bought their first 34-acre property in 1980, when interest was 18.75 percent. And in 1987, when they tried to get a loan for another 10 acres, for retail space, the first banker told them they’d probably never make it.
Mike believed otherwise and said the banker’s doubt was enough to fuel his and his wife’s success.
Today, their son, Jake, and daughter, Rebecca, work at the greenhouse and farm full time, while son, Clayton, is finishing a degree at Western Illinois University and planning to do his internship at the greenhouse.
Their oldest son, Matt, is 31 and lives in Wisconsin, but comes home on weekends in May. Another son, Jared, helps with the show cattle, and daughter, Anna, is studying marketing at Oklahoma State, and plans to help market the greenhouse this summer.
“The house will be full again,” Mike said.
But with the busy season just getting started, the extra help will come in handy.
“Right now, the frying pan has been turned on, and it’s at simmer,” Mike said. “And in two weeks, it’s going to light up. Once that weather breaks, which we are so regulated by, our parking lot fills up with people who are just ready to get out and get in their yard.”
The Boyerts offer a full range of flowers, vegetables and trees, and some special arrangements not found elsewhere, plus some advice and suggestions for their customers.
They assist with landscape drawings and offer educational programs for homeowners and growers, and for school-age students.
Recently, they’ve seen a boost in sales to homeowners who are hosting entertainment events at their home or business, and want good-looking, established plants they can set out for the occasion. And they’re also seeing steady business from municipalities that buy plants each year as part of their community beautification projects.
The Boyerts admitted that competition from area box stores drives some of the prices, but because they’re a family-owned operation, they also are able to specialize and offer products no one else does.
For the vegetable gardener, they sell about 125 varieties of tomatoes, and 87 varieties of peppers. Customers come from a couple hours or more away, for the vegetable plants alone.
One of Mike’s favorite flowers is one that he remembers growing with his father, as a boy — the geranium.
“This is still probably one of my favorite plants that I love to grow in the greenhouse,” Mike said. “It makes me think of him, and it gives you a lot of fun, a lot of color for those summer months.”
The Boyerts also offer summer and fall plants, and they stay open into summer.
Farm and a greenhouse
Because they operate both a farm and a greenhouse, there’s always something going on, and something to do.
Jake Boyert, 25, said he likes spending a few hours each day at both operations, working with the cattle and the greenhouse.
He and his brothers have grown the cattle business over the years, and are now up to 45 mother cows. They hold special sales in the fall and spring, and also sell online.
Most of their cattle are marketed as seedstock or show prospects, and they also show cattle themselves, under the name Boyert Show Cattle.
This year, they had two heifers in the top 10 at the Ohio Beef Expo — and have a strong showing record overall.
The Boyerts are also big supporters of 4-H and youth showmen, and have helped some exhibitors, like Medina City teenager Allie Loftis, get their start.
Opportunities in ag
Because Loftis lives in town and doesn’t have a place to keep animals, she partnered with the Boyerts, to keep her animals at their farm, in exchange for helping on the farm. Farm and Dairy featured her story in June 2015.
Mike was elected as an Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee in December, and he and his family are both active in various greenhouse and cattle associations.
As he and his wife near retirement age, he said they’re looking at ways to transfer the business to their children, but he expects to always be active with it — especially the seasonal events that he enjoys most.
Mike said over the past few years, his sons have really taken responsibility for the cattle, and with others helping in the greenhouse — it frees him and his wife up.
“It’s good because they can do their thing and I do mine, but work together really close,” he said.
And, with grandchildren now entering the picture, the farm and greenhouse have a promising future.