Dutch Mill Gardens Inc. is a quality grower and packer of outdoor cut flowers, specializing in sunflowers and unique handmade bouquets. Ed and Elaine Scharringa started the operation in 1985 experimenting with different outdoor cut flowers. The business grew expanding to wholesalers and mass markets. Now operated by Mike and Angela Scharringa who continue to grow and focus growth on sunflowers and Taste of Country Bouquets. Dutch Mill Gardens Inc. is committed to providing a high quality product to their customers, achieving the best sought after growing practices, and to continue to be innovators and trendsetters. Their vision has lead them to be a leader in their industry, and their product can now be found in Canadian mass market grocery store retailers. Their product is unique and holds a superior, consistent quality above the competition.
The business started with humble beginnings with a small acreage of gladiolas and cut flowers in Millgrove Ontario. By 1987 they set up greenhouses and started to grow bedding plants. With the increase in popularity, Dutch Mill Gardens took the opportunity to evolve, and sold not only traditional bedding plants and cut flowers, but also introduced new and old varieties not usually seen in the marketplace. Every year their goal was to increase production and continue to introduce new products. Ed and Elaine produced many different types of floral bouquets which were marketed as fresh cut, dryable, or totally dried arrangements. These products were sold to wholesalers at the Ontario Food Terminal, and their business continued to grow as returning customers would arrive seeking out their unique products which were known to be of the best quality on the market; attributes desired by their consumers and other garden centers. Dutch Mill Gardens Inc. is still a vendor located at the Ontario Food Terminal, servicing many of their original customers, as well as many new ones. In 1990 Dutch Mill Gardens began to provide bedding plants and fresh cut flowers to leading mass market chain stores.
In 1997 Dutch Mill Gardens opened their country market on their property which was open to the public year round. In 1998, Dutch Mill Gardens was one of the first growers in the area to introduce the pollenless/seedless Sunflower; a sunflower previously only grown in Holland. This set the stage for local sunflower growers in Ontario. Ed, along with his son, Mike Scharringa, who came on board in 2002, began pushing these new and innovative products to the mass markets, and created a ‘home-grown’ summer program featuring their specialty cut flowers and mixed bouquets. Dutch Mill Gardens continued to grow as the floral program stretched further across Ontario, into new markets, and into the United States. In order to continue their new and larger endeavours, they sold their 60 acre farm and Country Market in Millgrove in 2008, and purchased the much larger farm they own today in Lynden. They continue to grow with their client base, and provide new local products into the mass markets, and introduce innovative technology into the industry. Key factors that have helped in the success of Dutch Mill Gardens Inc., is their ability to reliably provide product to their customers, and overall having a very strong management team and support staff who take pride in providing the best quality product to their customers.