A New Plan

Things don’t always go the way you’d planned.

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.

Hoop-house starts
Hoop-house starts
Flower starts are tiny
Flower starts are tiny

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.

Broad-forking bed
Broad-forking bed
Bed of over-wintered flowers
Bed of over-wintered flowers

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!!
Over-wintered bachelors buttons
Over-wintered bachelors buttons

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.

Stay Tuned!

Winter’s Work

We’ve been pretty quiet on our Spring Forth Farm blog for the last couple months. But even though it’s been winter, we’ve been pretty busy preparing for the spring season and getting ready to move onto our land next month. What have we been working on?

Our Logo: Spring Forth Farm LogoWe’ve been working with our friend Amy Anselmo over the winter to design a logo for Spring Forth Farm. Amy makes beautiful hand-carved stamps (you can see some of her work at the Threshold Collaborative), and we knew her style would capture the elegance and energy of Spring Forth Farm’s bouquets. We are happy the logo features a tuberose, one of our favorite flowers (and one of the first flowers we grew together for our wedding).

Seeding: Many of our flowers bloom best with a period of cold called “vernalization.” We’ve had two beds of seedlings under row cover all winter. We’ve been a little worried with this year’s record cold, but like all first-time parents, we seem to be a little over-anxious: The seedlings look happier than ever. Last week, Megan started a dozen more varieties of flowers in trays, including snapdragons, dill, and, because we’re always experimenting with something, flowering kale.

House Plans: One thing we’ve really focused on this winter has been reading books on house design (A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander was our favorite). We made a list of the things we want in a house (not too big, open floor plan, a big porch, passive-solar heating design). We love our house in Hillsborough, but for some reason we found we couldn’t work on our plans at home — too many distractions. Instead, we needed to go somewhere where we could focus. Fortunately for us, we could walk to the perfect place. Most of our design work was done at the Mystery Brewing’s Public House – our favorite local brewery, where delicious drinks and a relaxed atmosphere proved the perfect place to work. Now we’re working with Jeff Gannon and Molly Luby of Green Door Design/Build, who are helping us perfect the design and drawing the plans.

boothbuilding
The Frolic, under construction.

The Frolic: But most of our time, nearly every free hour, has been spent rebuilding our 1969 Frolic camper. We’ve stripped and gutted the inside, installed a double bed, laid toungue-in-groove pine floors, and are working on the kitchenette and dining area. These 80 square feet will be our home for the next few years while we build our house. Look for photos and the complete story in a future post (once we’ve finished it).

These are main things we’ve been working on recently. It’s been keeping us busy here at Spring Forth Farm, but in farming a busy winter helps lead to a good spring, and we’re really looking forward to this, the first spring flowers at Spring Forth Farm.