Terra Farms gives customers the option to choose their own flower bouquets
Travel along the hills of Codorus Township and there are cornfields on both sides of the road.
But continue on Buffalo Valley Road, over an unnamed creek and around a bend, and all of a sudden the corn is replaced by flowers.
Row after row of flowers are at the peak of bloom. They are all part of Terra Farms, a pick-your-own flower farm owned by Loni and Andy Snyder.
Almost a year ago, the couple moved to the 35-acre farm at 2605 Buffalo Valley Road from Shrewsbury with the idea of creating a flower farm that would allow people to make their own bouquets and arrangements.
“We tend to call ourselves farm florists,” said Lori, from North Dakota. “People can come here and choose. But I also really liked the florist side of the business, and wanted to use 100% my own flowers instead of buying flowers that were stolen from who knows where.
That’s why customers have options when they stop by the Terra Farms roadside stand.
They can buy bouquets designed by Loni, or they can cut their own and fill a small bucket for $ 15 or a large bucket for $ 40. The stand is open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Terra Farms provides everything customers need to get their flowers, including buckets, mowers, and water.
Customers with large or special orders and photographers looking for a new background are encouraged to call the farm with their requests.
“We just had a bridal shower here,” Andy said. “They came on a Sunday, we had appetizers and drinks, and they spent time in the flowers.”
Loni has planted sunflowers in a separate quarter-acre field that should flower in about two weeks. She hopes that both amateur and professional photographers will come to the field to take pictures.
Andy said he didn’t have a lot of farming experience, but his wife grew up on farms in North Dakota.
Loni said her interest in flowers likely came from her paternal grandmother, Elaine Boehn, who is a third-generation farmer who lives near Bismarck.
“She was always in the garden, and that’s exactly what I’ve always seen,” Loni said. “We have always had a flower garden on the farm.
It all started in Alaska
Loni’s parents worked on the Boehn Farm until the family moved to Juno, Alaska 13 years ago. Shortly after this move, Loni and Andy met at a secluded fishing lodge in Alaska, where both worked during the summer.
“I was a fishing guide and she was an assistant manager,” said Andy. “We met her the first day there, when the whole group went on a hike. And then there was breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day.
“It was kind of like a whole speed dating summer,” Loni said. “We quickly realized that we had to be together.
In the spring of 2008, the couple got married in North Dakota, and after a second summer at the fishing lodge, they moved to Shrewsbury where Andy was able to prepare for his graduate degree at York College. He runs Manward Press in Baltimore, an online resource for financial news.
This week has been a real family affair at the florist farm. In addition to their children Parker, 9, and Willow, 5, Loni’s mother and grandmother visited and helped with the flowers.
Flower farm a curiosity
Neighbors stopped as the Snyders were questioned, just to see what the signs were about. They were curious after walking past the farm several times.
Loni said signs were one of the ways Terra Farms had attracted customers, but word of mouth and Facebook had also helped.
“I don’t know why, but Facebook has been a huge part of our business right now,” she said. “I don’t think York really knows what to do with a U-pick right now, so I think there’s a lot of ‘what is it?’ Lots of curiosity.
Now that the Snyders have nearly a full year under their belt, they are already looking to the future. They would like to put more area in flower. Their farm spans 35 acres, 12 of which are covered with crops and operated by a neighbor. There is a good deal of timber on the property, and just over an acre is covered in flowers.
“We are planting a lot of dahlias, which have babies every year,” Loni said. “So we’ll have twice as many next year, which people love. I think we’re definitely going to expand.
Loni would like the farm to be seen as an educational opportunity, and also a chance for parents to do something different with their children.
“I think the difference for us is the automatic choice,” she said. “I would like to make it a priority and make it an experience. You don’t just get flowers, you can go out and create a keepsake with your kids or pick your own flowers for an event.