Week #9 – February 24th 2016
One of the great aspects about my work is that I get to meet and work with new people all the time.
This winter I have been meeting with brides and grooms, their moms and dads, sisters, cousins, friends and even a dog or two here and there! Recently a bride referred to me as an artist instead of a vendor and I just knew I was going to love this bride! It’s true, floral design work can be considered a form of art, but really even farming is an art form (ask any farmer!) and I felt so happy that she recognized that.
I also have the opportunity to work with many other artisans as well. Photographers, chefs, pastry makers, wedding planners and everyone involved in making a wedding day perfect for the bride and groom, they are all artists in their own way.
Here are some pictures from a photographer, friend and fellow artisan that I have had the pleasure of working with several times in the last few years named Tyson Trish. I love the clarity of his photos and how he truly captures the feeling in these moments. See for yourself below in Betty and Ray’s wedding from September 2015 at Perona Farms.
Week #7 – February 10, 2016
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! That is what all of our customers said about our Flower Subscription Service last year.
This year we are offering our subscriptions earlier so that you can give them as gifts to the people you love this Valentine’s Day. It is easy to buy right off of our website in our online store. These subscriptions come in a number of sizes and prices so check them out.
Our most popular seller last year was the 4 week “Little Bucket” which gives you a month of flowers for only $100. This is a great gift for mom’s, spouses, girlfriends and anyone who wants to be surrounded by local fresh, fragrant flowers every week for a month. You can also share your subscription so if the month sounds overwhelming just split it with a friend!
Of course, these flowers do need to be picked up at the farm, so we cannot ship to your sister in California (yet!), but the up side is that you get to visit us every week and chat about all things flowers and farming.
Week 6 – February 5th
I belong to a trade group called the Association for Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which is a group of other flower farmers like myself from all over the country. Flower farming used to be quite an industry in the United States, but now over 80% of the flowers in your local florist are bought in from over seas. Turns out that flowers look, smell and last better when they are grown closer to home. Flowers that travel from overseas are days old by the time they reach your vase and many times just do not have the longevity or vitality that a local bunch will.
This video profiles some American growers and shows how flowers farming is having a resurgence. Watch the video and this summer I challenge you to buy a local bouquet and see the difference!
Week #5 – January 31, 2016
Here in New Jersey we had some real weather last weekend. Winter storm “Jonas” hit us early last Saturday morning and lasted throughout the entire day. In our part of northwestern NJ we got roughly 24 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. It was a pretty amazing day to witness. We are glad to have the snow to play in and it gave our new puppy Buttercup her first real snow experience. Needless to say, she loved it.
During the storm we were all snuggled up in our warm home and we never lost power even though some of the winds were gusting up to 40 mph. We had a pot of chili on the stove and fresh homemade bread in the oven as we watched the snow build up all day, slowly and steadily.
Just outside our kitchen window our bird feeder was very busy despite the rough weather. It is filled with sunflower seeds and we had many, many visitors that day including the woodpeckers who come up the pole and pick the seeds out from the bottom of the feeder. As you can tell from the picture, it was a light and fluffy snow but it somehow managed to stick to the feeder for a record 18″ until one of the boys felt the urge to go ouside and knock it all off.
I have attached some other winter photos from the week for a sneak peak into “life on the farm.”
Week #3 – January 22
The seeds are here!
As we settle in for the first real snowstorm of 2016 this weekend, I will be happily organizing my seed order, which just arrived in the mail. (Don’t let that little box fool you by the way… there are thousands and thousands of seeds in that little box and it cost me several hundred dollars!)
Organizing the seeds is really a matter of preference. I used to store them alphabetically but now I store them according to when they should be planted. The first seeds I will plant will be the flowers that take the longest to bloom like verbena bonariensis and dianthus as well as the flowers that like the colder weather and can be planted out early like snapdragons, delphinium and ammi.
I use an organic soilless mix that is light and fluffy – seeds do not like regular potting soil and often will rot in that growing medium.
Another critical item that we use to start seeds are heated mats that go under the flats of seedlings to keep them warm. Many times the big box stores do not carry this item and it is really essential to get things growing. (I was surprised when even the employees at these stores had never even heard of them?!?!) The two things that seeds need in order to germinate are heat and moisture – not light! The light is essential after the seed germinates and sends up its first leaves, but prior to that it is just heat and moisture. (Think about April showers and the seeds laying under the leaves in your garden after the temperatures warm up) You can usually find this item on line or with a reputable seed company. Google “heat mats,” and you will be sure to find it.
So, after we shovel ourselves out I will be setting up the grow lights and tables to transform my entire dining room into a greenhouse. (Since I only use that room once or twice a year, I am happy to get some use out of it!) We made a video this time last year that really demonstrates how we start our seeds. Take a peak on this winter weekend while you are stuck inside.