Groovy Plants Ranch

One doesn’t have to travel the world to score some of the most exotic plants on the planet. All it takes is a quick trip off I-71 at the Morrow/Delaware county line.

Groovy Plants RanchWhimsy can be found all over the grounds of Groovy Plants Ranch – a small airplane here, a Volkswagen Beetle there, loaded with layers of rich soil and bright, beautiful colors. There’s even a small shop on the property that sells incense, and a pot-your-own station that harkens back to the era of Woodstock and bell bottoms.

While the whole vibe might feel like a flight of bohemian fancy, it is a very thought-out business plan that has proved successful for Morrow County Farm Bureau members Jared and Liz Hughes.

It started small, though – succulent-level small.

“I started Groovy Plants Ranch in 2007,” Jared said. “I started working in the trade at a greenhouse and realized how easy succulents were to grow.”

The easily propagated and fast-growing plants were exactly what he was looking for to begin a career in horticulture while still a college student. Jared worked at Foertmeyer and Sons Greenhouse in Delaware where he cultivated both his horticulture prowess and business acumen.

“I went to flea markets and farm markets selling my product,” he said. “Very quickly I was able to grow that into a small wholesale business where I would sell to the local garden centers here in the state.”

Fast forward to 2015, he and Liz were married and soon after had an opportunity to set up shop in their current location in Fargo, Ohio. Jared used his expanding growing capabilities and skills he’d learned as a retail manager, coupled with Liz’s master’s degree in fine arts, to turn Groovy Plants Ranch into the retail store and tourist mecca it is today. The business has been featured in numerous publications, including Midwest Living and Better Homes and Gardens.

And chances are, whatever you are looking for, the Hughes are going to have it.

“We just have this huge emphasis on unique and unusual plants,” Jared said. “We carry all the favorites too, so we have something for everybody. I think what makes us different is if you come here, you’re going to see a lot of the cool plants. It’s not just one or two. There’s a lot of them.”

Hughes family
The Hughes family live and work at Groovy Plants Ranch in Fargo, Ohio.

“The Ranch” is not only their business, but it is their home, and where their two young daughters are growing up surrounded by their own not-so-secret garden.

But, it’s more than cool plants and quirky props that make the place so groovy. Adult classes, wine nights and children’s education workshops are just a few of the draws beyond seeds and starts.

“(The classes) are a great way to get kids started in plants,” Liz said. “Regardless of whether or not an 8-year-old is going to decide to be a master gardener as an adult, having confidence with plants and having a few plants in your home can always make everybody feel a little bit happier. There’s a lot of science behind that, so it’s fun to get them started early.”

Farm Bureau membership value

The science behind horticulture falls under the umbrella of agriculture, and Jared said that umbrella has been beneficial when it comes to being a Farm Bureau member.

“With agriculture, you’re thinking about the meat and dairy industry or thinking about traditional farming concepts,” he said. “But here is horticulture, and we’re responsible for growing all of your bedding plants, your vegetable starts, all of that stuff. We often don’t think about that as agriculture because it’s farming often under plastic or glass, but it very much is.”

He noted that starting that plant from a seedling or a cutting takes technical knowledge and skill, and building a business doing it takes a firm grasp of the regulatory process behind it all.

That’s where Farm Bureau’s expertise has helped he and Liz build a groovy, growing business, which also boasts a thriving online presence that ships to all 50 states.
Jared said the couple has leaned on Farm Bureau experts when expanding the operation over the last couple of years, as well.

“Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.”

Photos by Dave Gore

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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