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CCFB News» June 2019

Multi-Generational Greenhouse Expertise

06/11/2019 @ 9:25 am

As a third-generation family farmer, Dan Biernacki’s commitment to farming and the greenhouse business started at the age of four when he would wash out plant pots for his mom and dad.  He returned to the greenhouse full-time after finishing college. 

 

Biernacki’s father, Ted, took over the then 16-acre farm in 1948 at the age of 18 before volunteering for the Marines.  After returning home, he sold the farm and purchased 11 acres of unincorporated and sparsely populated land in Tinley Park.  More than 60 years later, Ted’s Greenhouse, a family-owned and managed greenhouse remains on that land. 

 

Although Ted retired many years ago, he’s often at the greenhouse helping customers and offering advice.  Biernacki along with his wife, Karen operate the greenhouse, oversee employees, and make planting and purchasing decisions.  Together they offer customers a wide selection of annuals, perennials, tropical plants, herbs, vegetables, woody shrubs, and seasonal materials.  Collectively, the Biernacki family have over 100 years-experience in the greenhouse business.

 

Ted’s Greenhouse is a multi-generational family business, which can be difficult at times.  But being a multi-generational business enables younger people to learn from and grow with older generations.

 

Biernacki, like many other farmers, didn’t really consider not farming.  For him, being able to nurture a seed and grow it into a beautiful piece of nature is incredibly rewarding akin to raising children, only millions of them.   

 

In May, Biernacki along with his family and employees work nearly around the clock to fill commercial orders, restock the sales floor, care for plants, and prepare for the next growing year.  In addition to worrying about the current season, they’ve already ordering plants for the next growing cycle.  With over 100,000 square feet under glass, the winter months aren’t much better.  Even a three degree drop in temperature can be dangerous for tender growing plants. 

 

Many of the plants grown by Biernacki are exclusive to the greenhouse because of the amount of expertise and dedication required.  To that end, Biernacki blends his own soil and creates different mixtures for different types of plants.  This diversity is one of the many reasons other greenhouse professionals and growers seek Biernacki’s advice.  

 

Biernacki and his wife, Karen have two adult children.  The entire family are active members of the Cook County Farm Bureau and Grace United Methodist Church.  Biernacki is also a graduate of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program, an executive leadership program for agricultural professionals.