Business still blooming

Leidig’s celebrates 50 years

Donna Leidig (left) hands Nancy Hagyard flowers in one of Leidig’s Farm’s greenhouses. The business, which started off as a fruit stand, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Mirror photo by Walt Frank

TYRONE — Leidig’s Farm, now in its 50th year, is truly a family business.

“Our five kids have helped us plant, water and harvest the crops,” said Donna Leidig, who started the business with her husband, Don, in 1969.

Now, Donna said, the “kids” are in their 40s and 50s.

“They come here and help when needed,” she said, adding that their grandchildren also lend a helping hand.

“We also have great-grandchildren who help — we are teaching them how to fill the pots and how to tag the plants,” she said.

The business started out as a fruit market on Route 453, along the Juniata River, and is now located at the family farm off Route 550 between Tyrone and Warriors Mark.

Today, Leidig’s Farm features 15 greenhouses.

“We grow all kinds of flowers, sweet corn and some tomatoes. Sweet corn and pumpkins are the two big things we grow,” Donna said.

“We plant what people like and what they ask for,” she said, adding “We try to do a variety to please everybody young and old. It seems like the young people like planters and the older people like to plant their own things.”

The Leidig’s daughter, Diane, creates the planters.

May is Leidig’s busiest time of the year.

“Everyone is planting their gardens, fixing up their yards and planting their flowers.” Donna said. “Mother’s Day is very popular; hanging baskets are very popular.”

“For Memorial Day, we grow a lot of geraniums … a lot of people are dedicated to them,” she said. “We grow thousands of geraniums. Most everybody loves geraniums. For cemeteries they like red, but we also have pink, orange and white.”

In the fall, “Mum mania” is a popular event at the farm.

“We plant a field of several acres. You can take a wagon through and pick out the mums you want,” Donna said, noting the event is held every September.

In addition, the farm’s products can be found at DelGrosso’s Harvestfest.

“We take a variety of vegetables and mums,” Donna said. “We have gone every year they have had it there. We meet a lot of people there and that brings customers here.”

For Christmas, Leidig’s Farm offers fresh-cut Christmas trees, handmade wreaths and poinsettias.

Leidig’s serves more than just local customers.

“We have customers from as far away as Bradford, Lock Haven and DuBois. We get a lot from State College, Huntingdon, Cresson and Johnstown,” Diane Leidig said. “We have a lot of repeat customers, regulars that come back year after year.”

“Our customers are our best advertisers. If they like something here, they tell others about us. That is what keeps us going,” she added.

DelGrosso’s Park is Leidig’s biggest customer, Donna said.

“One of the top compliments we get at the park each year is about our flowers. Guests ask two questions: Where did you purchase them and what is your secret?” said Scott Crider, vice president of operations.

“Leidig’s Farm provides us with top quality flowers and great customer service. It has been a great business relationship,” Crider said.

Helena Chemical of Warriors Mark also is a major customer.

“They always provide a garden for us around Memorial Day weekend,” said Jim Sebulsky, branch manager.

Sebulsky said his wife, Lynn, is also a big fan of Leidig’s.

“My wife buys all of our flowers there. They have real good quality flowers. If my wife has something she wants — she loves hanging baskets — she tells them what she wants and they make them for her and set them aside,” he said. “She came home with eight hanging baskets. They do a nice job. The flowers are always very nice and they survive,” Sebulsky said.

The biggest challenge facing the business is the weather.

“The last three years, we had one year of drought and a year of rain. It is hard to get a good crop. Three years ago, the plants dried up; last year they rotted. All farmers have the same problem,” Donna said. “When we get a warm sunny day people are so thrilled.”

Donna Leidig, 75, and Don, 76, have no plans to retire.

“Farmers don’t retire — we just like to work. It is something you do because you enjoy it. We are always looking for something new to plant that we can start,” Donna said, noting the couple have plans in place for the business to continue to flourish under the skilled hands of their children.