Monday, March 27, 2017

New England Farm and Floral " SPRING " Meet and Greet


Happy Spring, friends! I hope this note finds you in good spirits and feeling happy about the promise of a new season. March has been filled with lots of activity here at Dandelion House. Preparations for a new season of backyard flower farming are under way and moving full throttle ahead which is very exciting. Even though I've done absolutely nothing in the way of actual physical preparations outside yet, my seed orders are completed; tubers and plugs are ordered and I've already quoted a few weddings for 2017/18.  What I'm most excited about sharing with you as March comes to a close is the amazing response we got for our New England Farm and Floral Meet and Greet event which took place March, 25th at Salted Root Farm, home of Beach Plum Floral Design, here on the south shore of MA. You may recall my mentioning the event in my podcast with Debra Prinzing last month. Debra was instrumental in helping us get as much exposure for our event as possible. What surprised me ( and my lovely co-hostesses, Jill Landry of Beach Plum Floral Design, Monica Tavares of
Prince Snow Farm and AJ Kocon of Little State Flower Co, was the overwhelming interest in our event from our regional flower farmers and floral designers. All of us are tuned in to the Slow Flowers Movement and are committed to doing our small part to educate others on the benefits of growing and using locally grown cut flowers, but we had no idea how thirsty our NE flower farmers and floral designers were to meet face to face to begin the conversation about how they can work together to provide local flowers to their clients and support each others businesses. Let me just say, next time we're gonna need a bigger barn! We were busting at the seems with over 60 extremely eager guests and unfortunately, had to shut down registration due to the venue being filled to the brim. Every New England state was represented as well as New Jersey. As a result of the event, new connections and friendships have formed and I have no doubt there will be many more NE Farmer/Florist events in the future. I cannot wait to see where this new family of flower farmers and floral designers takes the slow flowers movement both regionally and nationally.


 Below is a shot of Monica and me. Monica is a mom and full-time 6th grade teacher who's approaching retirement and has a love for flowers too.  She farms her small acreage, Prince Snow Farm just a short 30 minutes from where we live. We met on the NE Farmer/Florist Facebook Group I founded last year and we've been following each other's backyard flower farming adventures. When I had the idea to host an event like this my intuition told me to reach out to her to see if she might be interested in helping out, and it was right. Monica got busy right away procuring donations for our raffle. She sent out over 40 emails to farm and garden businesses and vendors which resulted in some amazing gifts for our attendees. Monica was my creative co-conspirator in crime on this event and we both had so much fun with the planning and executing. Her husband, Kevin helped with getting us a projector and screen for the guest speakers. Fun Fact! We also learned that our son's share the same birth date ( different years) and the last four digits of our land lines are exactly the same. You can read all about Monica's flower farming and floral design endeavors at her beautiful blog Prince Snow Farm.


 Monica also created these adorable parting gifts for each of our attendees. It was a mad dash to get the fresh pansies for the berry baskets. She tried three places before she finally found some the day before the event!
 

 Each one included one of these darling stickers from Sticker Fiend on Etsy



  Our half-day program was simple. Sign in was at 1:00 sharp followed by some words by yours truly about growing the Slow Flowers movement in New England and how the event came to be etc, etc.

 
 Our daughter came along to help me out with checking people in and handing out raffle tickets for the array of items that were generously donated by various businesses. And when it got to her turn to introduce herself she said some very sweet things about her momma and made the attendees cry. Me too.


Then we did that horrible thing speakers do and asked our guests to stand up and introduce themselves one by one. I know. Pretty cheesy of us but, it was a meet and greet after all. Then it was time for a break and things got loud very quickly. People were beyond excited to finally have a chance to connect. Just look at those faces! I wish I could convey the buzz in the room everyone heard and felt that day. I know it's something none of us will soon forget. It was kind of like the Beatles were in town but the Farmer/Florists were the Beatles and the guests all at the same time, except no one fainted. For whatever reason my phone only captured a loud ringing sound with no audible voices. In a way, that's exactly what it sounded like only in the best of ways!


  We put out some refreshments for everyone to enjoy. Keurig coffee and tea, cookies, cupcakes, cheese and crackers and some fresh grapes with plenty of bottled water. And, fresh spring tulips of course!


 After the break Anna Jane Kocon, of Little State Flower Co. gave an informative, realistic and fun presentation about how she started her specialty cut flower farm and what her vision and goals are moving forward.








  "Little State Flower Company is a 5 acre specialty-cut flower farm based on Aquidneck Island in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Little State focuses on sustainable, environmentally-friendly growing practices in an effort to create local, healthy options for the wedding and event industry in and around Rhode Island.Their flowers find their way into the design studios of some of the most progressive and local minded florists with a strong desire to benefit their community and environment by supporting locally grown flowers. "


 After Anna's wonderful presentation  Jill Landry, Owner/Lead designer Beach Plum Floral Design presented the Floral Designer side of working and creating with flowers. She shared the ins and outs of working with brides to create their dream wedding and how having access to local flowers is changing the way she consults with her clients by offering them a local flowers option. This year Jill and her team will create and deliver over 100 weddings in the Boston/South Shore area. Dahlias are a high demand flower among brides and a favorite among floral designers, but any floral designer will tell you that they don't ship well. This is an opportunity for any flower farmer who can grow dahlias in their region. We are fortunate that dahlias love our southern New England climate and flower farmers are adding to their dahlia stock every year as demand increases. Jill placed her entire 4000  stem dahlia order with one lucky local flower farmer for the first time ever this year. 

Flower Farmers take heed! Floral designers want to buy your flowers and they want to be loyal to you. Grow a beautiful product, grow plenty of it and make shopping convenient by setting up your website with a simple pick and click ordering system. List your flowers by the season to further the selection process and you'll be well on your way to increasing your relationships with more local floral designers and fattening up your bottom line to boot. 


Jill Landry Beach Plum Floral Design



Meet Jill
"My craft began at a very young age when I returned from a walk in the woods with a large bunch of Lady Slippers and handed them to my Mother. Yes, these stems are indeed endangered but even at the age of six, I could not resist the urge to pick them.  From here, you could find me picking from our acres of farm gardens or trimming fresh pine and holly berry for holiday swags. I can still smell the lilacs before they are seen, stare at a peony for hours and feel a connection to all things rooted. Never did I believe I could take this love and create it into an actual career! You are supposed to dislike your jobs and complain about them, right? Truth being, there is something incredibly rewarding about meeting a client for the first time, listening to their newborn ideas, becoming familiar with their own uniqueness and within minutes create sketches of their dream day. Seeing the sudden comfort and trust on a brides face after a few photos and brainstorming sessions is remarkable. Creating a sense of ease and growing a personal connection with my clients is important to me. Listening to their ideas and turning them into concepts is the art. The true magic of my job is to create them with my own hands and watch the tears of joy and giant smiles on their day. It never grows old."

Jill Landry, Beach Plum Floral Design




 Jill created this beautiful Beach Plum spring arrangement and donated it to the raffle. Wouldn't you have loved to be the winner? 

 Having our event hosted in Jill's beautiful finished barn was so perfect. We couldn't have asked for a more ideal location for what turned out to be the perfect meeting of the minds we had hoped it would be. We can't wait to meet and greet again with our NE Farm and Floral tribe soon! I promise to keep you posted as more events unfold.

Put Down Some Roots and Bloom!
Deb

Generous Donors: NE Farm and Floral Meet and Greet
Debra Prinzing~ Slow Flowers ( www.slowflowers.com )
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds ( www.kitchengardenseeds.com )
Floret ( www.floretflowers.com )
Field Notes ( www.fieldnotesbrand.com)
Thimblepress ( www.thimblepress.com )
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( www.rareseeds.com)
A-Roo Company Floral Packaging ( www.a-roo.com)
Neptune's Harvest ( www.neptunesharvest.com)
Renee's Garden Seeds ( www.reneesgarden.com)
Pith and Vigor Newspaper ( www.pithandvigor.com)


Sellers/Vendors:
Berrybaskets:wwwsecondsunhdro.com
Pencils: Express Pencils LLC on Etsy
Journals: Beach Tree Paper on Etsy
Farmer Stickers: Sticker Fiend on Etsy
Fresh Flowers Tags :folkcity on Etsy
Chair Rental: New England Country Rentals ( www.newenglandcountryrentals.com )


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