On Sunday, September 13th, close to 30 flower-growing enthusiasts were stuffed into our old farmhouse (read: small rooms, or the opposite of open-concept) for a workshop called The Business of Cut Flower Farming. Our hope had been that the weather would cooperate and it would be an outdoor event, however knowing there was the possibility that it would need to be indoors, we capped registration at the max we thought we could even hope to have in the house at one time. And the workshop swiftly sold out. The weather did end up being rainy and mosquito-y in the morning so we grabbed every sofa, chair, lawn chair and even some sacks of cover crop seed to seat everyone.
Svenja Dee of Tulipwood in Lunenberg county led the workshop. Svenja was a fellow vendor back when we sold at the Lunenberg and Hubbards Barn markets and was a big inspiration for us in starting to think about growing cut flowers in addition to vegetables. Her market stand was always beautiful and her bouquets always sold out quickly.
For the morning and part of the afternoon, the workshop was classroom-style. Svenja taught us about how and why she runs her cut flower business from production to marketing.
After an incredible potluck lunch, we headed outdoors for a harvesting demo and discussion on flower harvesting efficiencies, and techniques. And then, we moved to our vegetable wash station which had been converted into a bouquet-making factory!
Svenja had brought a wide array of flowers and everyone proceeded to walk around the tables, choosing stems for their bouquets.
Svenja showed us her technique for making bouquets step-by-step and how she wraps them the stems together with raffia twine (which can be composted….great idea!).
Bryan and I posing with our creations.
Here is the gang (minus a few people that left a bit early and our photographer Lucia from ACORN) holding their bouquets in the serious shot.
It was an awesome group of people and I know there are many more in our region who would have liked to make it. We have got a facebook group going called Atlantic Canadian Flower Farmers where future events will be posted.
Notes from the event will also be posted on the ACORN website Resources page so keep your eye out for that.
There has been mention of this being an annual event. My personal hope is that workshops like this for regional flower farmers can become more frequent, perhaps a few times per year, and rotated around to various farms, with seasonal topics and areas of focus.
I am so grateful to Lucia from ACORN for doing such a fabulous job organizing this workshop. And to Svenja for all the knowledge and experience she passed on. And to all the flower farmer participants for sharing their passion, knowledge, and delicious potluck items (and for being good sports about squishing into our house!).