Food and Farm Showcase: Schaefer’s Gardens


TRIANGLE, NY – Time now for Food and Farm Showcase, our collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County.

Today, we check in with an agri-business that’s in the middle of its growing season.

Schaefer’s Gardens is a wholesale greenhouse located in Triangle that sells Spring flowering plants to regional retailers and landscapers.

It’s best known for its Nellie White lillies, better known as Easter lillies, but it also grows a wide variety of annuals and bulb flowers including geraniums, pansies, petunias, fuscia, marigolds and more.

Schaefer’s plants its bulbs in the Fall and its flowering baskets in January, using rooted plugs they purchase from a distributor.

4th generation grower and manager Daniel Dixon says the plants require constant care including dissecting sample lillies as they grow.

“When you’re checking them, you’re also measuring them to check that their height is right, because you might need to adjust the temperature. There’s a lot of things that go into it,” says Dixon.

Dixon’s grandparents, George and Joan Schaefer, moved the business from New Jersey to Triangle in 1976 with their 2 young daughters.

They started with 2 greenhouses which have since grown to 7, each set at a different climate depending on the plant.

Joan says they’ve built up a loyal clientele by being honest with their customers and delivering a high-quality product.

“We all like our business, and we like the people we deal with. We all get excited when the crops begin to flourish. It’s a good challenge. If you’re going to be a farmer, we think it’s a wonderful way to farm,” says Joan.

Schaefer’s Gardens recently installed a second heating system using pellets to compliment its oil heat so that it has a backup in the event of an outage.

It also uses beetles as an environmentally friendly way to control pests.

Schaefer’s has a fundraising arm for schools, churches and other non-profits selling geraniums, hanging baskets and flats of annuals.

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