The Ernst family moved to the original 17 acres in 1942. At the time, Steve Ernst’s father was a truck farmer — one who sells his produce from a truck rather than from the farm. Ernst said they were weekly regulars at the Pontiac Farmers’ Market.
“In the beginning, customers didn’t buy flats of flowers. They would buy six plants and we’d wrap them in newspaper,” he said. “We didn’t have the plastic sheets we have today.”
Eric Ernst and his wife, Diane, have run the business with family members for the last 20 years. Ernst and his father built all the greenhouses on the property but one. “We hand-built everything — the lighting, electrical and gas. It was a labor of love,” Ernst said.
The Ernst Greenhouse Flower Business became so busy that the business tied up the traffic on Scott Lake road becoming a safety hazard. The after long negotiations with Oakland County the property was sold to the Oakland County in 2007. The County hoped to grow flowers and other items for the County Parks and Oakland County Cities. This proved to be difficult! Then the County attempted to run a community garden, it too turned difficult to run and in 2015 the County decided that it was time for a new path.
After almost a year and half of negotiations Oakland County Recreation department came to terms with Oakland Urban Growers Owners Bruce Ellwanger and Mike Skinner for a long-term lease and a local specialty produce grower was created.