I am sure you’ve heard the term “Farm to Table”. This usually refers to locally sourced fresh produce, which as you know not only tastes better, but also supports the local economy. Did you know that there is also a “Flower Farm to Table” movement as well? Also referred to as the “Field to Vase” movement. It’s a very big deal in other parts of the world, and it’s definitely making its way to Canada.
Did you know that most bouquet flowers are not only imported, but often come from a whole other continent? In fact, most flowers that reach your table were cut two weeks ago! This means that the standard supply chain must keep stems cold for up to 2 weeks before they even get to us, therefore hundreds of hours of refrigeration and associated energy use, such as jet fuel, is necessary to make this happen.
This is what prompted me to start growing many of my own flowers. By doing so, not only was I able to offer varieties of flowers that weren’t available from local wholesalers, but it also allowed us to stand out in this industry. In 2014, I attended a workshop in Seattle Washington, where I studied under Erin Benzokein from Floret, a pioneer in the Flower Farm to Table movement. I absorbed every word she said like a sponge! When I returned, I convinced my husband to build a greenhouse. A very large greenhouse! Last Fall we planted 3000 tulips and 45 Peony plants. Once the tulips are harvested in the Spring, the soil will be tilled again and we will grow rare varieties of Dahlias, Nigella, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Cerinthe….etc…much like we have done in the years past. Although we currently can’t solely supply our market with flowers that we grow, we can at least do our little part to help.
Chemical pesticides are heavily used on most flowers to maintain their lifespan and ability to travel on a truck from a continent away. I’m proud to say that everything we grow is organically grown. We try to use mostly heirloom seeds instead of genetically modified seeds, which assists with their survival. In the Fall after the flower harvest, we also collect our seeds from the spent flowers, so that we can use them following year. We even share them with our clients at the shop. Once the flowers are harvested, they are kept in cold storage for 4 days….which is far better than 2+ weeks!
Our flowers are pollinator friendly, which is key to our ecosystem. Flowers attract an entire spectrum of native pollinators and other insects (like honeybees & butterflies). By growing unsprayed, sustainable flowers – pollinators and beneficial insects are attracted to our garden beds and do a number of helpful tasks within our ecosystem. Another benefit. Compared to larger chain stores, smaller locally owned businesses continue to invest their returns right back into their local economy, which in turn helps the community. Flower Towne will continue to take the necessary steps to do our part for our great city, as well as our planet.