Courtesy of Roxanne C. Philadelphia PA
Farm to Vase. Slow Flowers. Floral Foraging. Handcrafted Heirlooms. Seasonal Blooms. The 50 Mile Bouquet. Sound sort of familiar?
All the groundbreaking trends that powered the local food movement are doing the same for local flowers. If you’ve always fantasized about being a flower farmer, here are some reasons to turn that dream into a reality:
> You don’t have to be an expert grower. Single flower bouquets are enough to test the market. Dahlias, gladiolas, sunflowers, tulips and zinnias all catch people’s attention at market.
> Basic bouquet arranging is easy. You build around a single large stemmed flower such as a lily or sunflower. Then fill with foliage and some fill flowers. You can also add aromatic herbs to the arrangement like dill, mint or cilantro that has gone to seed. Common roadside weeds like chicory, goldenrod, Queen Ann’s lace and tansy add a rustic character. By making a bouquet arrangement look full, customers think they are paying less for what they are getting. Just be respectful of native habitats and do not harvest more than 1/10th of the area. Leave plenty for the bees and butterflies. Once you establish a market and start growing your business, you’ll start growing much more of your own stock, and that will help support a much better bottom line.
> At market, it’s important to emphasize presentation, but it can be very simple. Bouquets can be sold from attractive water-filled stainless steel containers rather than 5 gallon plastic pails.
> Increased demand for local flowers is coming from eco-conscious consumers who want to do right by the environment. Local flowers have 0 air miles and can make customers feel good in more ways than one. SPIN-scale growers are using their logos and labeling to tout their sustainability bona fides, and American Grown Flowers is a national organization that offers a certification program.
>When customers want to splurge, price is no object, so farmers have pricing power. Typical price points are $5, $7, and $10, depending on the size.
> Thanks to the lifestyle gurus who have turned on their massive followings to the joys and virtues of locally-grown flowers, casual bouquets and green weddings have gone from a cultish movement to mainstream. Specializing in the events market can be lucrative. Before the pandemic slowed things down, some flower farmers reported bridal parties wanting to harvest their flowers straight from the farm and then create their own bouquets and arrangements.
> Flowers are not just for the ladies. Guys can have fun and make money with them too. They can serve as a product extension
> SPIN-Farming makes it very low risk to start. It’s even easier to find plots, if you don’t have your own, because front yards can be pressed into service. Flower farms look no different than traditional gardens so it will be easy to convince friends and neighbors to yardshare.
> The USDA reports that floriculture is among the most profitable crops for farms with 10 acres or fewer.
While the local food movement has gotten all the glory, flowers are finally coming into their own. Consumers are looking for affordable indulgences now more than ever, so it’s a great time to indulge yourself and turn your flower farmer fantasy into a beautiful business.