Pork 'n Plants blooms on family farm

Laura Theobald

ALTURA, Minn. -- Statues of smiling pigs surrounded by flowers greet customers to the Pork 'n Plants greenhouse, two miles north of Altura, in a small symbol of the unique business.

What began 30 years ago as a husband's hog farm was soon overtaken by a wife's horticulture hobby. Edward Kreidermacher, who owns Pork 'n Plants with his wife, Joyce, his son, Eric, and his daughter-in-law, Ann, said the catchy name of the two-headed business confounds people.

"You can just hear the silence on the phone," Edward Kreidermacher said. "They just don't know what to think."


As a hobby, Joyce Kreidermacher started growing flowers for friends and relatives. Gradually news spread about her unusual, quality flowers, and every year she had more requests for them. Soon Edward and Joyce had to decide if they were going to make the greenhouse a full business, and they did so about 25 years ago.

Now most of the Kreidermachers' time is spent in the greenhouse, growing, transplanting and watering flowers. The 160-acre hog farm is run by Eric, though he said the greenhouse takes 95 percent of his time.

"We've just expanded every year," Edward said. The 60,000-square-foot greenhouse holds more than 800 varieties of flowers, with varieties added each year. Pork 'n Plants has many tropical plants such as dipladenia, which is a pink trumpet flower on a tropical vine.

Yet even with all the variety, their No. 1 sellers are probably geraniums.

"We try to stay on the cutting edge," Eric said. "That's kind of our niche, a family-owned business."

The family greenhouse is one of the few in Minnesota that uses flood benches for watering, as opposed to overhead watering. Their flowers sit on long benches that are flooded with about a half inch of water every two to three days, depending on the plant, for about 10 minutes. Then plugs are pulled and the water drains to 100-gallon plastic tubs underneath. When it is time to water again, pumps from the tubs bring the water back up.

This system cuts back on foliage disease because with bench flooding the leaves never get wet. It also yields a more universal, even crop.

Although spring is the busy season, fall and Christmas time also get hectic. Poinsettia trees are already growing in preparation for the holiday season, began from cuttings in April. Normal poinsettias will be started, also from cuttings, in July or August. They will all be ready to sell by late November, when they will be moved to the greenhouse.


But for now they are housed in an adjacent building, where the Kreidermachers grow all the plants from either seeds or cuttings.

The building has a retractable roof to let the sun shine on the splash of magenta, violet, indigo, maroon, ivory, orange, yellow and green. Out the roof the kaleidoscope of color sends up a blended scent of sweet heliotropes and rich, earthy marigolds.

And, faintly, of hogs.

Agri News is a weekly agricultural newspaper published by the Post-Bulletin Company, LLC.

What To Read Next
Get Local