How to Start a Flower Farm
- ‹ Prev
- Next ›
- slide 1 of 8
Isaiah and Annie Louise Perkinson started Flying Cloud Farm on a half acre of land in Fairview, North Carolina with a few blueberry bushes. They were just trying to figure out what they might be able to grow and sell.
Customers at local tailgate markets liked their products and the farm expanded. Flying Cloud now has 15 acres of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and berries. Besides farmers’ markets, the Perkinsons sell to local restaurants and 100 families through CSA shares. “We’re basically in charge of what we’re growing from seed to sale,” Annie Louise says.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
The Perkinsons rotate their crops, test their soil, and promote beneficial insects to pollinate flowers so they don’t have to spray their land with pesticides.
“Because we direct market everything we have a relationship with our customers and they know how we grow. They can ask us, and they can visit the farm,” Annie Louise says.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
In a CSA share from Flying Cloud Farm you’ll find leafy greens, strawberries, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, dill, and cilantro depending on what time of year it is.
The farm’s flowers are also available in a share. Many people come out to the farm to pick bouquets. They choose from bachelor’s buttons, daisies, nigella, zinnias, sunflowers, marigolds, lilies, dahlias, celosia, sorghum, amaranth, and more.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
Self-serve, honor system stand
When they’re not selling their produce to markets or CSA members, Isaiah and Annie Louise are involved in several other businesses. A self-serve, honor system stand is located on the property. People can come and pick up daily produce and flowers while leaving a payment. The stand is equipped with insulated compartments and a secure money tube where visitors can put their cash or check payments. The stand also accepts PayPal payment made with a smart phone.
The stand is open in April with seedlings and is left open until just before Christmas when customers can purchase wreaths and dried flowers. “It follows the progression of what you might see in the farmers market,” Annie Louise says.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
The wedding business
Flying Cloud also offers designed floral arrangements for weddings, including handmade bouquets, boutonnieres, flower crowns, corsages, alter arrangements, decorated arbors, and table arrangements. “It’s a way to add value to the product,” Annie Louise says. They also offer people the option to come to the farm and pick out flowers in bulk.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
With all of this work the Perkinsons rely on apprentices and volunteers for help. An apprenticeship program on the farm runs for a full season.
“We hire young people to come work and live on the farm. We have them commit to the whole season so they can see the process from starting the first seeds to selling the last potato,” Annie Louise says. She says an apprentice can expect lots of hard work but it’s worth it for someone interested in agriculture.
Volunteers also help keep the farm running. “People in the community want to volunteer. They want to get in touch with their agricultural roots and have a connection to the farm,” Annie Louise says. “We like to involve the community in what we’re doing.”Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
Annie Louise says their business works because they are a team. “We’re in this together.”
Isaiah plays a big role in making sure everyone is working together. “He’s constantly aware of weeds and insects and things that need to be dealt with and manages the crew very efficiently,” Annie Louise says.Date Published: March 30, 2015Date Updated: August 3, 2018
Add Your Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login