Although you wouldn’t know it from our blog, it has been a very busy summer on the farm. We’ve grown more flowers than ever before and we have been planning and preparing for an even bigger season next year. Our heads are dancing with visions of sugar plums and deep loamy soil. Of course here in Hurdle Mills we only have red cement that passes for clay. But we’ve already started taking the steps that will transform our clay soil into sugar plums — or at least friable loamy clay — with time and love. The farm is still too wet to work in, but the sun is shining at last. While the soil dries out, here are some pictures of what we’ve been working on:
The most exciting projects we’ve been working on this year have been investments in soil health. We have started a heavy rotation of cover crops that will add organic matter to the soil and help break up the clay, making it more friable. We have also experimenting with no-till agricultural practices. Tilling “burns up” organic matter in the soil and destroys the soil organisms which build healthy soils and grow healthy plants. In order to make our no-till work, we are using “occultation,” a process of using tarps to create an environment that encourages decomposition. We learned about this method from Bare Mtn Farm in Oregon and from Jean-Martin Fortier in Quebec.
While we have been planning for next year, our flower business has been growing by leaves and blooms. Our DIY Buckets have been very popular this year. We have started offering buckets of foliage as well, which really makes the flowers stand out and is an economical way to make the flowers go further.
In addition to doing weddings and events, we do weekly arrangements for businesses. Here are a couple examples of our business arrangements. In addition, we are considering starting a flower CSA subscription program next year with pick up near downtown Hillsborough. Are you interested in getting weekly flowers for your business? Would you like to join the flower CSA? If so, please contact us.
Now you are up to date on the farm. While the soil dries out, we are trying to get as much done on the house as we can. Our goal is to get our rough-in inspection by the end of the month. What does that mean? Stay tuned for our next post, “What the heck have they been doing on the house?“
A new wedding venue is opening up in Cedar Grove, not far from Spring Forth Farm. Iron Horse Events is a beautiful site for a farm wedding, with barns, a pond, and a lovely old farm house. Iron Horse Events had an opening Open House this week, and we were delighted to do the flowers.
We started by making examples of bridal bouquets.
Bridal Bouquet (by Jonathan).
Our seasonal flowers included a variety of table arrangements in mason jars and several bud vases for small tables.
Spring Forth Farm table arrangement.
Bud vase-photo Spring Forth Farm
And of course, the farmers had a good time. (We made the corsage and boutonniere, one of our favorite things to do when we go out on a date as well as for brides and grooms.)
Thank you to Heba Salama Photography for the photo. (Heba and her husband also own Fig & Honey and they did an amazing job with the food. We can’t wait to go to their new restaurant.)
We are really looking forward to future opportunities to provide flowers for this amazing venue. If you are interested in Spring Forth Farm flowers for your wedding or other event, please contact us to reserve your date.
We would like give a hearty “Mazal Tov” to Caitlyn and Kenneth. Here is a picture of Caitlyn’s bridal bouquet. Spring Forth Farm flowers are sold at several area locations, and we will also be setting up our flower stand this Friday, June 27, at the Last Friday event in Hillsborough. Please contact us for flowers for your wedding or special event.
Spring Forth Farm will join several other local farms at a market hosted by UNC students at The Pit on Thursday, April 17 from 10AM-2PM.
We will have beautiful spring bouquets featuring our French tulips and poppies. Here they are in buckets, safe from the rain, wind, and frost this cold April week. Come pick up a piece of spring sunshine. For more information, visit the event on Facebook.
This year, we applied to four area farmers markets, confident that we’d at least get into one. We didn’t. Perhaps it was an unusually competitive year? Hard to say. Our day jobs stopped us from applying to a mid-week market. Maybe that did us in? Whatever the reason, this new information has left us scrambling to find outlets for our beautiful flowers this 2014 season.
We need to have at least two days a week we’re selling flowers, so we’re considering all our possibilities. Farmers markets we may have overlooked? Increasing our marketing for wedding flowers? Reaching out big-time to area businesses for weekly bouquet deliveries and calling every florist in the phone book? A roadside stand? Some sort of CSA? We are still figuring out what the future holds, but as soon as we know where we’ll be this season, we’ll post it here.
In the meantime, we’re looking on the bright side. We were each embarrassed to be the first to admit it, but we both felt just the tiniest bit of relief: This will be a busy year for us as we build our house, and maybe God is looking out for us by reducing some weekly pressure on the farm so we can focus more attention on construction and learning to grow our flowers well. Our investment in alternative marketing strategies this year may pay off down the road in ways we can’t yet see. After all, what’s the rush? I would rather grow well and grow into our business slowly.
A few things we know for sure:
We are busily preparing for a successful 2014 season. (Megan will be starting hundreds of flower plants this week.)
We will have beautiful flowers for sale this spring. Our tulips are coming up and the poppies, bachelors buttons, and larkspur are getting bigger.
We will be persistent in applying to markets again next year.
And growing flowers and creating bouquets brings us JOY!!
Farmers never know what their season will hold. We are open to each new possibility and the different challenges it brings. Farmers must be flexible. A life lesson there, perhaps? I think so.