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A Battle Creek Family Business, Growing Family Matters

Editor’s Note: This story is part of the Second Wave in Southwest Michigan. On the Ground Battle Creek series.

Attracting more bees to produce honey turned into a thriving U-Pick flower business for the Raup family.

“We have bees,” says Parker Engineering engineer Mike Raup. “To produce more honey, we planted huge patches of wildflowers. (Rebekah) started selling his one bouquet at a time in our roadside stall, Word spread quickly.”

The left quarter acre of the home on 9 1/2 Mile Road with lush flowerbeds, plus the 1 1/2 acre behind the property, will have pumpkins on sale starting September 18. and gourds. Planting, weeding, mowing and harvesting are done under the guidance of Rebecca Laupp, her third grade teacher at Penfield Elementary School. She gets a lot of help from her daughter Ella, her son Zach, and her husband Mike.

Name of their business – ZEMR Family Farms It contains the first initial of each member of the family.

Rebekah Laupp looking at zinnias, one of several types of flowers growing in the U-pick flower garden“It started with a row of wildflowers,” says Rebecca Laupp.

My husband, Mike, smiles and says:

“So he made me their field,” said Rebecca Rope, smiling back.

That was over four years ago. There are now over a million of his flowers, including 500 zinnias, in vases that the family hangs on a wooden stand near the entrance to their property. You can buy pre-cut bunches or cut your own flowers for 50 cents per stem.

A few hours each day are devoted to flower care, including dead leaves and weeding. On Thursdays, I pick flowers and make bouquets for those who don’t want to pick them themselves.

Ella Laup on her bike. Her mother and her father Rebecca and Mike are to her right, and her younger brother Zach is in front and center of her. Bicycles have been added to the gardens for visitors to use as photo opportunities.“We have regular customers who expect a bouquet,” says Rebecca Rope. “I always make sure nine people are available, and on Saturdays we start again with nine people. Sundays are usually slower. We went from 1 section for the bees, then we went from 4 to 5 columns, now we have 28 sections and 14 rows in the U-pick area, each section has a different There are flowers

Cultivated flower varieties include cosmos, zinnia, blue Chinese forget-me-not, yarrow, echinacea and snapdragon. She recently incorporated Explosion Grass into the mix. Their tops resemble patterns created by fireworks on a much smaller scale.

“I had no idea what Explosion Grass would look like,” she says. “It was quite an experiment.”

In addition to the grass used for precut bouquets, 2,000 tulips were planted during this past growing season. Mike Raup says he and his family have been anxiously waiting for the flowers to come in. They finally made it in time for Mother’s Day. Their family spent most of the day selling tulips.

“The tulips grew and bloomed, but they didn’t bloom,” he says. “We only had a short time to sell, but we finally opened in time for Mother’s Day.”

it’s more than flowers

On a recent Saturday, the family hosted a pollinator event designed to encourage people to plant seeds that grow into flowers that attract what is now believed to be the Monlach butterfly. endangered species.

Ella Rope stands surrounded by flowers at her family-owned Upic Flower Farm.Those who attended the event were given a free packet of seeds with a $5 purchase.

The Laups also host local nursing home residents so they can enjoy and pick the flowers.

Their biggest annual event features pumpkins and gourds for people to pick and buy. increase. She sells them for $5, $10, or $15, depending on the size of the pumpkin.

Her pumpkin and gourd designs include Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Detroit Lions logos, and Halloween-themed drawings. Many of her sports-themed pumpkins are on display at Marshall’s Copper Her Athletic Club, one of her grandfather’s favorite hangouts.

“All her grandpa’s friends are rooting for different teams. When grandpa brings the (MSU) pumpkins, they all say they need to have their teams represented as well, so she will receive all these orders,” says Rebekah Laupp.

A group of pumpkins decorated by Ella Laupp. She sells them at her U-pick flower farm at her parents’ home in the fall. In addition to flowers, the family also grows pumpkins and gourds that are sold in the fall.Ella also decorates the mason jars she uses as vases to sell on the family farm. I design t-shirts with my logo. Sales she will begin in September and end in October.

“I wanted to do something useful here,” Ella says of her work on the farm.

Zack, 10, who also attends Harper Creek Middle School, was in charge of growing watermelons this year. “It was his summer project,” he says Rebekah.

As the farm continues to grow and evolve its business, Rebekah says he wants to make it a full-time business. She and her husband encourage people to take pictures among the flowers and other plantings. They placed two chairs and a bicycle in the flower patch for people to use as props.

“I’ve always loved flowers,” says Rebecca Rope. “They make me so happy that I want to share that with others.”
Rebekah Laupp gives an example of Explosion Grass growing in her family’s U-pick garden.