Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flower Growers: A Year in Review

This morning I drove to Annapolis to a meeting of the Maryland Cut Flower Growers. Bob Wollam  of Wollam Gardens said it’s like old home week for them. The busy season is finally over and the growers have time to get together and visit with each other while talking about what worked and what didn’t work for them this past year.  I’m still the new face (and I’m not a grower)-but it’s always great to see our regular growers and great to meet some new ones as well.

For the growers, in terms of flower sales at markets this past year, it sounded like it was a mixed bag. Some established markets seemed steady with a slight increase in sales. Some markets seemed to be losing steam, making flowers sales fall. Other markets seem to be busy, but less people were spending money on flowers.  Sales to retail florists were universally down. One grower reported that he sells to 14 retail florists and that sales to all of them were down. One florist that he worked with regularly event went out of business. I can’t resist a plug here. Buying locally grown flowers matters-in a real world way. Not only are you getting a great, unique, seasonal product you are supporting local farmers and the local economy.

Now…back to the meeting…

While the growers seemed….concerned-they were also optimistic. Kathy York of Scarborough Farm and Suzanne Montie of Red Chimney Flower Farm  were in collusion about how they could get in on a Kordes rose order for next season.  Everyone was impressed with Bob and Andrea’s test crops this year including LoCoFlo!


Andrea Gagnon of Lynn Vale Farm was excited about the recent number of requests from brides for local seasonal flowers. She also gave a great demonstration on how to make holiday wreaths with local greens, local fruits and the this wreath making contraption.



I’m looking forward to the next meeting in January. On the agenda…seed saving, what’s new for 2010 and a presentation by your truly about the importance of internet marketing and social networking!

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