The Road So Far/My flowers come from WHERE?!?!
Do you know where your flowers come from?
Most people don't, and that's okay! I personally assumed they were from, like, California or somewhere that's an agricultural industry hub. Imagine my reaction when I found out that almost all floral products are grown, harvested, and shipped in South America. A "fresh" product that was trucked from grow houses and fields, to a processing plant (with vastly different safety standards than our own) then dry stored and trucked to a dock/airport, and imported to the US. Once it arrives it's checked by Customs, loaded back onto a truck, and driven to a wholesaler. Think that's it? Not quite, from the wholesaler it's shipped/trucked to a floral designer or retailer ( think grocery stores) and finally processed/revived and set out for a consumer just like you!
Not as fresh as you imagined is it? Like I said, I was shocked when I started researching it more. That guilty feeling I had (global warming anyone?) led me to look for more sustainable sources for truly fresh flowers. I found tons of fantastic farmers and growers all over the US!
I found two local growers here in Jacksonville. Just one several hours south of us in Orlando.
I decide to start a farm..
Ok, reasonably speaking I couldn't REALLY start a farm. But I did start growing flowers in my front yard. Marigolds to be exact (the same ones pictured up top!) As far as test runs go, Marigolds and Zinnias are a SUPER forgiving starter crop. I almost wept when the seeds first germinated. That was back in February of 2019. Going into 2020 my partner and I decided to step it up a bit. My front yard is now half landscape fabric. I splurged on own-root roses from Heirloom Roses out of Oregon. All in an effort to provide a truly fresh, locally and organically grown product to Jacksonville.
What I can't grow, there's only so much room in my yard, I aim to source as locally as possible. Down to Earth Farm and Local Flower Company are great local, seasonal sources for fresh flowers (and produce!) I've linked their info at the end of this.
Excited by what you read? Let me know! Stay tuned for more thoughts as I continue to grow and learn about Cut Flower Farming in Zone 9a!