fresh flowers in vases

What is a Flower Share?

 

summer bouquet of flowers

A Flower Share, also known as a Flower Subscription, also known as a Flower CSA (CSA=Community Supported Agriculture), benefits both consumers and growers.

A Flower Share is a weekly or monthly “share” of locally grown flowers, paid for ahead of time, provided (either through pickup or delivery) on a set schedule.

The consumer gets the freshest of seasonal flowers delivered to his/her/their door and knowledge that what they are receiving was grown locally, using sustainable practices, on a small farm. Most flowers sold in the US are imports from countries with dubious employment practices, lower standards for safety, including a heavy use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides to meet phytosantary requirements to enter the country. By participating in a flower share, buyers get transparency into growing practices, connection to the small farm and the farmer, and the knowledge that farm helpers are paid fairly and work in a safe environment.

The Flower Share benefits the grower because it provides planned sales in advance of the season. This provides money to buy seeds, plants, bulbs, supplies, equipment, and compost, and importantly, allows us to pay workers without going into debt so we can start the season as early as we need to. Farming is a year-long process, as I’m sure you know! Selling flowers shares is a crucial part to stay a sustainable business.

I’ve offered flower shares to our community since my third year as a grower. My favorite thing about selling shares? Getting to know my clients! I’ve had some clients who’ve bought a flower share every single year I’ve been in business and it’s truly the best!

To learn more about the current flower shares my farm is offering, please click on the SHOP tab and choose FLOWER SHARE.

dried flower wreath

Ch..ch…ch…changes! For 2023: moving to growing season (fresh) floral work only!

I’m writing this post spring, 2022 about a decision I’ve made for 2023 and probably beyond! It may seem early to make this announcement but a) I want to give folks fair warning, b) it applies to weddings I book for 2023, and they are booking already, and c) it’s been a couple years’ coming, so no time like the present!

The announcement is this: starting in January, 2023, I will only do fresh flower work during my growing season – so around the middle of April through Oct. 15 (or first frost.) I will do dried and pressed work throughout the year; I will have lots of winter holiday options involving evergreens and dried ephemera and seasonal goodness; but the floral work that involves using entirely imports will cease once we get through 2022. I also won’t be using bleached florals, foliage, or dried items in my designs. Not a change, but worth mentioning.

pressed flower collagesWhy? Because I need a break after the growing season is over? A little. Or maybe more than a little. But mostly because I hate the incredible waste that accompanies import flowers. In a couple of weeks I’m doing early season weddings and I’ll document what it looks like to use blooms grown on other continents (or even other parts of the US) to flower a wedding. It’s also really stressful to have to rely on supply chains, wholesaler issues, and vagaries of delivery when my heart really isn’t in it. I needed to make a decision: either fully commit to regular deliveries of imports (whether or not I had orders) or decide that no, I wasn’t going to do it anymore. So after the end of the year – not going to do it anymore!

I’ve been thinking about my values and how they relate to my business and a lot of what has to happen when providing flowers in the off-season don’t fit into that framework. Personally I hate waste. I hate packaging and trash and while I will still probably order imported roses for my wedding work it’ll be a relief to not *only* rely on imported flowers. It’s been interesting to learn about the global flower industry and retail floristry the past few years and while the convenience factor is high, I don’t know if the pros outweigh the cons.

In the winter and early spring I am not able to create the kinds of designs I like to create. Unless I charge a lot more money I can’t offer the variety of blooms and foliage that make my seasonal designs special, and I’m not super interested in charging a lot more money. And if I’m not offering a variety of blooms and foliage in my style, what’s the difference between me and another florist? These are the things I ask myself.

I’m also incredibly lucky in my business that I do not need to keep at the same sales volume all year long in order to make ends meet. I am remarkably priveleged in that way; no storefront rent, no fulltime employees, and 2 other part time businesses (!!) that limp along during my growing season but easily pick up the slack the rest of the year.

I will miss getting calls from people who are relieved to find a florist who delivers to the Hilltowns or to Huntington or to anywhere on a Sunday. Perhaps I will be able to convince them to send something else, instead? A pressed flower candle? Some forced bulbs in a pretty container? Dried flowers in a artisinal porcelain vase? A wreath? I guess we’ll see!

 

bride surrounded by flowers

A picture perfect wedding at Easthampton’s The Boylston Rooms

The photos from Jenna and Chuck’s wedding are so beautiful, aren’t they? Obviously due to their talented photographer, Kim Boualavong, but also because of the light-filled setting at The Boylston Rooms and all the pretty details they chose – including mis-matched but complementary bridesmaid dresses, which are my new favorite thing!

bride holding flowers
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Jenna’s bouquet was soft whites and neutrals, including me-grown dahlias and lisianthus, as well as roses, nigella, eucalyptus, anemone, and some local seasonal grasses for softness and texture.

groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Chuck’s boutonniere complemented Jenna’s bouquet, and featured samples of almost everything she held, including the cute grass heads.

bride and groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

They got married in front of the beautiful big windows in Boylston Room East, and I created a flower and foliage installation for the arch to go with Jenna’s bouquet, as well as two hanging foliage chandeliers. They later moved all of these to the reception space.

bride and bridesmaids
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Now for these dresses! I LOVE this so much! You can see that in addition to the colors in the dresses, Jenna chose to have her bridesmaids hold color as well! I used dahlias, zinnias, hydrangea, lisianthus, eucalyptus, and more grasses for their bouquets. They were really sweet.

bridal bouquet
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

A close-up of Jenna’s bouquet. Beauty all around!

bride and groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

Turn of the century-themed wedding at Wisteriahurst

Jessica and Mike wanted a turn of the century themed wedding, and what better location than Wisteriahurst, the historic mansion and cultural center in Holyoke. After the ceremony they and their guests traveled to the Roosevelt Room at Union Station in Northampton – more of the turn-of-the-century theme as it’s the great hall of the railway station in Northampton, built right before 1900.

wedding party
I love how dark and moody this picture of Jessica and Mike’s wedding party looks. The darker pictures that Brian Marsh Photography took of the couple and their guests remind me of a John Singer Sargeant painting. So gorgeous!

Locations:
Ceremony: Wisteriahurst, Holyoke;
Reception: Roosevelt Room, Union Station, Northampton
Photos by Brian Marsh Photography

Continue reading “Turn of the century-themed wedding at Wisteriahurst”

bride and groom

Wedding flowers for two “planty people” at Quonquont Farm

Michele and Graham are what I like to call “planty people.” Both work in horticulture. Both love plants. And so when they asked me to do their personal flowers for their September wedding at Quonquont Farm in Whateley, but said they planned on creating their centerpieces themselves using buckets of DIY flowers, I was happy to oblige. And when they asked if they could create these centerpieces themselves in my shed…well, I wouldn’t have let just anyone do it! But I was happy to let these two do it! (And actually, I might let more people do it in the future because we they had such a great time! Continue reading “Wedding flowers for two “planty people” at Quonquont Farm”

wedding couple

Summer Sunset Colors for a Romantic Valley View Wedding!

When Dana told me she wanted her wedding flowers to be the colors of a pale summer sunset, I knew exactly what she meant. At the peak of summer, days in New England are long, just the right amount of warm, and perfect. And summer sunsets give way to summer nights! (Cue up Summer Lovin’, Grease soundtrack). Tell me more…

Pale summer sunset. Yellows, pale pinks, peaches…a perfect color scheme to match what’s growing on the farm mid summer! Plus a few sunflowers, because: sunflowers!

All photos by Kelsey and Liam, Ke-Li Photography.
Location: Valley View Farm

Continue reading “Summer Sunset Colors for a Romantic Valley View Wedding!”

white bridal bouquet

Classy, fun wedding at the Boylston Rooms!

The Boylston Rooms in Easthampton is the epitome of industrial chic, and Erin and Donny’s wedding reception’s classy, classic but fun vibe fit perfectly in the space. Erin’s colors were white, gold, and pink, and her instructions to me in regards to the florals were to make them lush and a little bit messy. I was very happy to oblige! I can try for controlled, but messy is really my thing!

Location: The Boylston Rooms, Easthampton, Massachusetts. Late May.
Photography: Lauren Dobish Photography.

Continue reading “Classy, fun wedding at the Boylston Rooms!”

Putting the farm to bed for the winter…

October is kind of a bittersweet month, no pun on bittersweet, that gorgeous, noxious, invasive vine intended!


October means frost, which means the end of most of my flowers, including the dahlias, ageratum, and zinnias that populated so many of my fall-themed bouquets and arrangements.

October means the end of my summer farmer’s market.

October means I only have a few more weeks to make sure everything I want to overwinter has its best chance of making it. This means lots of digging, planting the stragglers, mulching, snipping, and covering.

October means apples and pears the various jams and butters I make.

October means wildcrafting wreath making supplies and dried bits and pieces for winter bouquets.

October means planning for the late fall and winter craft fairs and markets.

And this October means getting my 4-season store open for business! Which is a beast of a different sort!

Summer Sunset Wedding at the Warfield House Inn in Charlemont

The theme of the wedding was sunset and the night skies. The day of the wedding was the day of a solar eclipse. The flowers followed suit: sunset colors of oranges, pinks, and pops of purples went into their personal flowers. So fun! So romantic!

Location: The Warfield House Inn, Charlemont, Massachusetts. August.
Photography: Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography Continue reading “Summer Sunset Wedding at the Warfield House Inn in Charlemont”