You’re cruisin’ down Highway 23. Top down, electric motor humming, Talking Heads “Nothing But Flowers” pumping out the speakers because you’re all about that sustainability lifestyle. A familiar sign pops up—“Bloch’s Farm Just Ahead.” It’s a nice day, you got nowhere else to be, so you decide to check it out. You pull in and, suddenly, you’re Dorothy in technicolor. Vibrant greens, bright whites, sharp reds and purples, and brick landscaping to the Emerald City. Is this a dream? This must be new.
Actually, no. “We’ve been in business for 35 years,” says Sue Ellen Bloch, who owns the business with her husband, John. “We’re the oldest landscaping firm in the area.” More than that, with two horticulturists on staff, one assistant grower, and a cutting-edge landscape designer with a top-notch crew, The Farm sets a high bar for quality products and innovation in concept. “We have a magnificent buyer and visual designer here, Lee Katherine Baird. She keeps up on trends big time.” It’s not uncommon to see people inspired by and taking pictures of the ornamentations and layouts Lee Katherine creates throughout the property.
The results of The Farm’s efforts are all around Green Lake. “We do the bridge flowers downtown, and we either donate or sell to many of the local fundraisers. … We continually support the community with charitable acts and hiring local people to do quality work.” To Sue Ellen and John, keeping dollars circulating locally is part of their beautification mission, and their obsession with doing things right is as much a part of their contributions to the area as it is in all aspects of Bloch’s Farm.
In their minds, you can’t do things right if you don’t surround yourself with experts. As much as Sue Ellen and John know about their trees, flowers, and landscaping, the knowledge of their staff is pointedly more extensive. Bloch’s Farm stands confidently behind everything they sell, and their customers are provided the highest possible level of service.
Connecting the success of The Farm to Sue Ellen’s upbringing is organic, much like…yeah, that cheesy transition just happened, but hear Sue Ellen out. “Way back in my roots, way from when I was a young girl, Mother was always teaching me the healthy way to do things. … In 1985, I was raising free-range, organic chickens, and putting advertising out there as such when people really didn’t know what organic meant. … Today, we have a pretty educated populace, especially in the millennials and younger. But really, a lot of us older folks, it’s the way we did things many years ago.”
Everywhere in the area, from Green Lake to Madison to Chicago, people come to Bloch’s Farm because the value and values are patent in the owners and staff and everything they provide. The legacy farm of John’s great grandparents has never lost sight while navigating a disposable society. “We’ve been in the top 100 garden centers in the U.S. three different times.” That doesn’t happen by accident. And neither does driving past a gem hidden in plain sight. So stop in, support a community staple, and enrich the message and practice of sustainability.
Kyle Jacobson is a writer and senior copy editor for Green Lake Magazine.