In my opinion, my friend Kim Haven of Billabong Fresh Flower Farm has the best job in the world. She makes her living growing flowers. Kim is part of a movement that is creating a resurgence of American floriculture. Right now, approximately 90% of the cut flowers sold in the US are grown oversees. Thirty years ago, only 10% of cut flowers sold in the US came from abroad. More and more people like Kim are using their knowledge and love of horticulture to try and recapture market share that has slowly been lost to foreign competition.
Here in Texas we have several growers who are making their living by producing high quality flowers, grown in a responsible manner, to the cut flower trade. With the support of The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, these growers have developed a community that works together to help each other grow, market and sell their beautiful products.
If you have ever thought of turning your flower growing hobby into a business, now is the perfect time to get started. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is holding their 2014 Grower’s School at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on March 3 and 4. This year’s conference features several leaders of the field to vase movement from all across the country. Below are highlights of some of the presentations.
Frank and Pamela Arnosky of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco are the true pioneers of this market. Frank and Pamela Arnosky are the owners of one of the most successful field grown flower farms in the U.S. (and probably the whole world if the stats were checked). Starting with nothing but a chain saw and a dream, they have built a business that now provides the absolute finest quality, locally grown, fresh cut flowers to companies like HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods. Frank will pass on his growing knowledge in his presentation “Seeds or Plugs? Both?” and Pamela will provide you with the information you need to get your product into supermarket chains and also teach you how to harvest and handle your crop post-harvest.
Rita Anders is the South Central Regional Director of ASCFG and she has worked very hard to put this workshop together. She is also the owner of Cuts of Color in Weimer, Texas where she grows and sells to Central Market and Farmer’s Markets in the Houston area. She also has a thriving design business where she works closely with her brides to create beautiful weddings full of sustainably grown flowers. Rita will show you how to sell directly at Farmer’s Markets and also teach you how to quickly assemble your products into stunning arrangements.
Cynthia Alexander of Quarry Flower Farms in Celina, Texas grows a variety of roses, Texas natives and other specialty flowers for the floral trade. She uses and teaches sustainable growing techniques on her many farm visits. She also offers a unique wedding experience by letting the bride come to the farm and pick the flowers that will be used in her bouquets and arrangements. Cynthia will teach you all you need to know about developing relationships with florists and how to prepare your flowers for delivery to them.
Right now is an exciting time to be a flower grower in the US. Demand for locally grown sustainable products is high and supply is low. If you have ever thought of turning your hobby into a money maker now is the time to act. You may never get a better chance to learn the ins and outs of this industry from the leading producers of local, sustainable flowers in the country. Click here to go directly to the full schedule of events and a registration form. Happy gardening y’ all and I hope to see you in Fort Worth!