Welcome to Early Bird Farm, where plants are grown to perfection!

Our Garden Center is open from mid April to early July. During this time, we are open from 8am to 7pm daily. Early Bird Farm has been family owned for two generations, and George's years of dedication and experience make him one of Central New York's premier growers!

Whether you’re new to Early Bird, or a seasoned professional, we hope that you enjoy your shopping experience with us and have a wonderful summer gardening.

Where We Come From...

 

Early Bird Farm was founded by Ray Sheldrake and his wife, Elsie, in 1959 on Elmira Road. Ray Sheldrake was a noted Extension Horticulturist at Cornell University.

He was a pioneer in the development of double poly greenhouses and Cornell peatlite soilless mix.

At the time, most growers used frames and hot beds to grow their product. The double poly house helped many growers in the bedding plant industry, who may have been able to afford expensive glass greenhouses. Ray and his colleagues at Cornell were the first to develop a uniform soil mix that was a mix of peat moss and perlite. Plant losses in production due to disease, poor nutrient management and even insects decreased by 80 percent. 

He was also responsible for the many innovations seen in plastic mulches for field vegetables, drip irrigation, soluble plant fertilizers, growing in bags and plant growth regulators (PGRs). 

In the beginning, Ray and Elsie sold sweet corn and other vegetables that they grew on their farm. Elsie's love of flowers turned into a business venture when she started growing and selling flowering plants in one small greenhouse. As the years progressed, additional greenhouses were erected and there was a boom in flower and vegetable production. Currently there are 10 greenhouses with a combined total of 35,000 square feet of growing space, and a new garden center is in the works.

What the Future hold for Early Bird Farm...

In 2014, Early Bird Farm expanded to its current location in Newfield. The new garden center had long been in the works- buying the glass greenhouse in Pennsylvania, acquiring permits and changing locations.

 

We still have many of our customer favorites and have even added a few tropical varieties to our repertoire. Customers puruse the aisles of hand-laid brick while enjoying the cool shade cast by our overhead curtains. The parking lot is more shopper friendly and easier to get in/out of. The same people who grew and cared for the plants in the past continue to do so now.