When Emily and Josh Berner decided to jump feet first into their new business venture, their goal was to have something fun for families to do that was nearby and wouldn’t break the bank.
The Berners, owners of Copper Top Farm and Flowers
at 5570 New Carlisle Pike, started off by purchasing the property across the street from their home in 2020. At the time, they didn’t know exactly what they wanted the quaint, quiet farm to become, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave them time to turn what started as a dream into a reality.
While tossing around ideas, Emily Berner says she suggested a you-pick flower farm. And, after a bit of research, the family decided to go for it.
“We bought the property on a whim. Our goal at first was to make it look nice, and we were trying to think of things we could do and the kids could help with,” she says. “We were trying to think of what we could create here that could possibly be a future endeavor our kids could take over if they wanted to.”
They started by turning a low, frequently flooded spot on the 8-acre plot into a pond. They cut back a lot of overgrowth, and they laid out what they wanted the new flower farm to look like.
“This spring, we bought all the seeds and hand planted everything,” Berner says. “We crawled around on the ground and hand-planted starting from Mother’s Day weekend until the middle of June.
“We planted every weekend – our friends helped and our kids helped.”
With prayers for rain followed by a hot start to summer, Copper Top’s flowers started blooming in plenty, and the business opened in mid-July.
Berner’s main rule: No running with scissors. Other than that, the set up is as easy as it sounds.
Without set business hours, Copper Top is open whenever the sun is up, Berner says. Patrons grab a pair of scissors and head out into the flower fields, which are well spaced out with plenty of room to walk between rows and search for your favorite blooms.
Hand-written signs provide directions on how to cut the flowers and prices per stem – either $0.50 or $1 depending on which type of flower you choose, and with any weeds are free for the taking.
Among the rows, you can find a variety of sunflowers in a mix of colors and sizes, zinnias, marigolds and more.
Vases are available for an additional cost, and an honor-system set-up lets visitors pay with cash near where they return their scissors.
“We want people to come and have fun and be relaxed and feel like they can bring their kids along and do something cheap,” Berner says. “We really want it to be relaxing – no stress, no hustle, come chill and watch the butterflies and see the bees.
“I think we have accomplished that. We have comfy chairs under the big tree and a swing.”
In addition to the you-pick format, the new flower farm also takes orders for personal bouquets and arrangements for events, including this summer’s Stronger Together
event in New Carlisle. They also partner with Ruth Elliot Designs
– a New Carlisle florist – to provide locally-growth flowers for some of their orders.
Berner says the flowers on the farm currently will continue to rebloom and be ready for clipping until the first frost. Later in the fall, they’re hoping to have some pumpkins for sale.
The farm has truly been a family effort for the Berners – high school sweethearts, who graduated from Tecumseh High School
– and their three children, Deacon, Scout and Devin.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” Berner says. “They’re totally all-in. They enjoy it, and they’re super, super helpful.”
Though the Berners each are celebrating 20 years of employment at their full-time jobs – Emily is a behavior resources room teacher at Park Layne Elementary and Josh is a DARE officer with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office
– they couldn’t be happier with the rural oasis they’ve built. And they’re excited for what the future holds for Copper Top.
The Berners have lots of ideas for future plans for the farm, and Berner says she hopes they’ll grow to be able to offer different options for every season. She also says they’re hoping to create events, such as date nights and hosting food trucks on the site.
“We have lots of ideas, and the wheels are always turning,” she says. “We’re letting it develop and see where it goes. We have a lot of big ideas, and we’ll definitely add more things as we go along.”