New plant business sprouts in Rockport

By Louis Bettcher | May 17, 2017
Photo by: Louis Bettcher Wendy and Bruce Reinemann inside a greenhouse at Guini Ridge Farm in Rockport on May 11.

Rockport — A riot of colorful flowers and vegetable varieties fill the main greenhouse at Guini Ridge Farm in Rockport, a new plant shop opened this spring by Bruce and Wendy Reinemann.

The greenhouse is one of seven on the property, which was once the site of Hoboken Gardens. The Reinemanns, who also run Guini Ridge Farm in Union, had wanted to expand their business into a retail plant shop. Last fall they became aware of the opportunity to lease the Rockport property from Stuart Smith, who also owns the red building that was once a gift shop.

Guini Ridge's Rockport location opened for business April 29, and the response from the community has been very positive, the owners say.

“People are excited to see the greenhouses in use again, and to have a good array of plants available practically in their backyard. We have an amazing crew, and they've all worked with us in some capacity over the years,” Wendy said. The Commercial Street location offers nearly 20,000 square feet of greenhouse space, and the Reinemanns currently employ five part-time workers.

Wendy said that one of the biggest challenges for the crew was planting at the same time that heating systems were being installed in the greenhouse, in preparation for the April opening. In addition to the heating systems, the Reinimanns added hanging drip lines from the ceilings, and built dozens of tables to display their array of plants.

The Reinemanns' farm in Union is dedicated to providing locally raised produce, as well as livestock, primarily sheep, and they have regularly sold their products at the Camden Farmers' Market. Sausage and meats from their farm are also available for purchase at the Rockport location, and they plan to carry beef from Aldermere Farm, home of the Belted Galloways.

Perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetable plants are currently available for purchase on site. The Reinemmans plan to convert two of the other greenhouses into hydroponic growing spaces for cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants. They are advocates of integrated pest management: using thousands of roaming ladybugs, rather than harsh chemicals, to police aphids and other troublesome insects.

“We only use organic-based sprays on our plants, because we want to protect our pollinators (e.g. bees), and be as responsible as we can in terms of what we use. A landscaper recently visited the greenhouse and told me that he could tell we didn't use chemicals, because there are none of those fumes in the air,” said Wendy.

Open for less than a month, workshops have already been offered at Guini Ridge Farm, including make-and-take container events, where customers choose from a variety of planters, and fill them with soil and plants on site. The Reinemanns say these events are very popular with parents and children, as well as people who live in apartments and would otherwise find it difficult to get their hands into the dirt.

The Reinemanns also plan to offer a variety of education classes focusing on the health of plants, as well as workshops to create "fairy gardens" — potted vignettes which can be displayed inside or outdoors. They will continue to sell their goods at local markets, and may soon sell their produce from a farmstand on the Commercial Street property.

"We're really looking forward to being a part of the Camden-Rockport community. Community involvement has always been very important to us," said Bruce, who has also been a livestock inspector at local agricultural fairs. "We've been focusing on vegetable varieties that are going to grow well in this area. So, if you're looking for a quality plant at a reasonable price, come in and see us."

Guini Ridge Farm is located at 310 Commercial St. Information on upcoming events or seasonal crops can by found on its Facebook page or via GuiniRidge@gmail.com.

Courier Publications reporter Louis Bettcher can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at lbettcher@villagesoup.com.

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