Episode 418: A visit to Utahs emerging cut flower community with Laura Pittard of Poppin Blossoms; plus, our state focus North Dakota


Hello again and welcome back to the slow flowers podcast with Deborah Printing episode four hundred in eighteen. This is the weekly podcast about American flowers and the people who grow and assign with them. It's all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discussed the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms arms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage. This podcast is brought to you you by slow flowers dot com the free nationwide online directory to florus shops in studios who designed with American grown flowers anti onto the farms that grow those plumes. It's the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers and thank you to our lead sponsor Florist Review magazine. I'm delighted to serve as contributing editor for slow flowers journal founded the pages of Florus Review. It's the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail wholesale and supplier market take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the slow flowers community that Deborah printing dot com where you can also find the show notes for today's episode four hundred and eighteen our first sponsor spotlight this week goes to Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Formed in Nineteen Eighty Eight A S C F G was created to educate unite support commercial commercial cut flower growers its mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material and to foster and promote the local availability of that product learn more at a s C F G Dot Org our theme for two thousand Nineteen Fifty states of slow flowers continues today with Tammy it crime of Kens flower shop in Bismarck North Dakota listen for my conversation with Tammy in the second portion of this episode well. I just returned from a short trip to Salt Lake City where he attended the Garden Com annual conference which is the gathering of professional garden communicators long been affiliated with. I've known that I'd be traveling to Salt Lake in early September for quite a while and I also knew I wanted to visit today's guest while I was there you see Laura bittered of popping happened. Blossoms was the first Utah member of slow flowers. She joined a few years ago after we originally met in two thousand sixteen at Red Daisy farm how site side of Denver Laura was new flower growing and she was pretty isolated as one of the first to growers in her region so was doubly impressed that she flew to Denver to network with others at the slow flowers meet up in barbecue hosted by Red Daisies Meg Maguire for Colorado flower farms and Florus Laura and I- reconnected on several other occasions at conferences and workshops and earlier this year I was able to feature poppin blossoms profile and beautiful flowers in Flores Reviews News Rocky Mountain themed issue Laura and her family including her husband Brian and son Grayson welcomed me to pop in blossoms in Orem Utah about forty minutes south of Salt Lake City. We started off by recording this episode followed by an informal gathering as seven local flower farmers and farmer farmer. Flores joined US tour of Laura's beautiful growing fields. The group of US enjoyed a great discussion over lunch which Laura generously provided for me it it was an honor to witness the emerging exciting local floral seen in Utah there are many talented folks doing community focused and collaborative projects and I hope to feature feature some of them on upcoming episodes for now. Please enjoy this conversation with Laura. Petered of poppin Blossoms Loris mission is to supply apply her marketplace and community with the highest quality premier specialty cut flowers in my opinion. She has already reached that level of excellence and the future is rosy. Rosie as the momentum can only grow for what Laura is doing and others in the local seasonal and bespoke cut flower world all share photos of my visit and links to Laura's social places and are shown outs at Deborah Printing Dot Com. Let's get started. Welcome back to the slow flowers podcast with de Printing and I am coming to you today from Orem Utah with my wonderful gas ask Laura bittered of pop and Blossoms Hi Laura Hello Debra so great that we're doing this and we'll sit a little closer to the MIC because I'm loud and I'm mm soft. I think okay but you can speak lead to tap me on the shoulder. Thank you so much for saying I could come visit you in Utah for the garden Gordon Garden Communicators Communicators Garden Com conference and I immediately thought I'm gonNA come see Laura. We've met a couple of -cations and it's just so nice to see what what you're doing so thank you. Thank you for coming. Yeah we reminiscent that we matico about maybe four years ago you came to red days met farm yet for kind of a meet up and from Utah to Denver Colorado. What was that Dr. I flew Oh. You did okay so you that makes more sense because we were all like this woman's here from Utah. She's devoted all we didn't have that here. Yeah really really at the time. Yeah Yeah and then we've met at G. Conferences and I just love that we can finally sit down and tell your story in mainly mainly because I love you and I also feel like Utah is underrepresented in sulfurous world in the farmer florist world so give us a snapshot of Pop and Blossoms. Tell us a little bit about where you are and what you're growing and the well this year. I have about fourteen hundred dollars. Louisiana is another gosh. I probably have ten different varieties of that. Are you growing in a high tunnel lithium now now everything's field grown so far while you're the one of the few people in the country. I know WHO's growing lizzy in without covered just because of where you are probably yeah yeah. I mean I can't really get that second. Flash okay so it's important crop though very wow does well and so your field grown in what about what size acreage are you growing at here at Poplar Balsam. I think I'm currently only probably a half Acre. Maybe more wow now. Everything's so dense. Just you know you can do that much half. Acre that's great. What is your season well. I mean it could be pretty much April to mid October. If I get all my spring snorkeling together I haven't done such a great job with that yet. What is in the zone to know. What's on your eyes are five okay? You have a winter is tough here. Yes okay wow and so. You've got this season for you said right. Where are your customers I. Where are you selling right now. It's I just go directly to the designer florus. It's expanding though whole foods has reached out to me for the State of Utah Wow and some other of restaurants and different things and I do want to put do workshops and make it more community but right now it is it's just the designer florist and they are keeping me busy while and that's mainly wedding sent yeah. I mean they do events to MHM different events retailer mostly studio designers than Studio Yeah Studio well okay so as they said I was so shocked when I first met you that there were actually a cutler industry in Utah but probably if you're one of the first people who you're aware of glowing at any scale right yeah. There were three or four of us. I I don't I might well no. I'm not sure the scale of some of the other up north so I mean you might find some of the farmers I market but that's a bit of a different niche right yeah because it's strict consumer and it's maybe on top of growing vegetables. Also yes and I just the markets got pat the people on the back that can do that 'cause every Saturday. I mean you're married married to the farm every day of the week. It's like I didn't want to give up my weekends. NBA oftentimes just sort of a sketch speculative to yeah. You're not you're going to sell. Oh okay. So what drew you to farming we are you. There isn't agriculture industry here in your top. Mostly people were growing food. Yes yeah in fact this. This whole area was orchard to use to be origins so I guess you're by Lake so there's a water source yes. Es which waters waters difficult here but I even grew up on a farm but in Utah Yeah along about a mile away from here why not strayed far from in have not but what did your family grow they or was it more of dairy. Now while we had cows to who is to be self sustainable okay we milked cows we kill the chickens doug afield potatoes famine yes and then you bottled at and all that stuff and so farming wasn't really. I was like no. I'm not interested in me like canning also long. Just I remember thinking when I was a kid because we had to weed is like the rose felt like football field links. They probably weren't right you. Finish one row and you feel like can I go play now. You're back to getting your earning. You're earning you Kalani say well. It's so interesting because I find. There's there's I felt the same way about waiting and I I yeah what draws us back to it. I don't know it's I mean it's peaceful awful yeah now. I just I mean I like. I like the that. The flowers are about community and connection but I also like the tranquility of just being by yourself in the field so you started growing about what two thousand fifteen or sixteen whatever for six sixty six it yeah okay two thousand sixteen and what's prompted you. What have you been doing before well. My husband and I have another business and I do the books for that still doing that so you're business-minded yes yes and but I and a neighbor friend are coming to similar blur stage in life where our kids were going to be grown and out of the house discussing. Gosh what what now for us you know because everything as been about everybody else as often as as in a women for Moms so you've done a lot of parenting and caregiving yes yeah yeah and so she suggested we do a flower farm and I had never even heard of such a thing how much less slow flowers right with that was right. She showed me Florette yet and I I initially I said you're nuts how much work that is right but then I started about those weeding childhoods that do the weaving childhood you had yeah. We'll in farming. You can't leave it. You know you're married to it. was she more of a gardener. Yes she. She's a master astor. Gardner in her yard is lovely so she was coming out from that point of view yeah yeah but then. I was thinking about that will gosh. I've got all this family land. I'm sure my dad would be fine with that. In fact he's happy to see the land used for harming so I said Yeah. Let's give it a try and anyway. The partnership kind of didn't really take off but I decided I like this your partnership with flowers took it did and I waited for the I grew two hundred dollars. That was my first year well not much but when they bloomed I had sorted sorted scoured instagram looking for the more established wedding designers and then I reached out to them and they were thrilled us co called them and so what we start Chris analogy not all are so proud of what hashtags thanks were you searching like is there. A sort of like Utah weddings or are the destination places that people get married there. Are I mean Park. City is a major destination in which I would like to branch out into that a little bit more and you said it's about an hour away yeah yeah yeah but I think just wedding florist and you could tell from their feed what what was yes and whether they would like those tires yes super cold coffee or instant message message and Dan. You just said Hey I flower grower. I've got can I bring you. Could I bring you bucket of flowers sample and see if you're interested in. I haven't had one person because I hear on some of your podcast. I'll hear people say that. People sat there just always hungry over over the moon for them. Yeah Laura what else there other all alternative what. Where were they get their major wholesaler in Salt Lake or in there is a wholesaler here in just a few miles on red mountain and there are three I think at least three in Salt Lake and would you say they're more conventional probably have a very diverse mix of imports and maybe some California grown yes yeah yes so it wasn't like artisan flowers or specialty cut flowers really in the marketplace right at the wholesalers. It's a hassle to buy from small farmer yeah well. I'm even surprised to find out see and I don't have a history with what they sell. Yeah like what what are you competing again right. I mean I have been there haven't paid a whole lot of attention but she kind of good because you're making decisions based on what you know we'll grow well and what you personally like yeah and what. I see them using like I was surprised they don't really carry distant drums or the coca locos and yet that palate that is probably what your wedding designers want. Yes I saw the picture of you on Instagram a couple of days ago with these massive cafe. La's were the cafe links. Thanks yesterday if yes was there. Were Labyrinth Labyrinth which is a slightly different color. It's more pain cry. It's little sorbet. Ish Yeah with yeah but it's a dinner plate right. Yeah yeah there little more freely and that's perfect for weddings. Yeah right yeah so when you post something like that. What do people instant message you immediately say I want them or sometimes. They do yeah the how do you. How do you get get your for a variety out to those designers. Do have a list. I mean my my the administrative side of this. I'm definitely lacking. Maybe it's because you're running the bookkeeping for another business. Yes humidifiers at yourself but I do and that's kind of the plan but like I was listening to the podcast the other day where the woman that you brought on to help you with that Lisa. Oh my gosh. She's in my life. Yes I know I need that yeah but and each each year this is just I've let it kind of just organically because I was already spread too thin yeah like going back back to that first year. You said you grew two hundred hundred dollars. Did you feel like you sold at the level that you're happy with what you sold or a no because it was just so experiment it was experimental. I was thrilled with the reaction yeah so so the next year. I probably doubled what I grew. Oh well at least and then expanded each year and I will expand next year because each year just sort of snowballs in I kind of reached out to the wholesalers but then I backed off because I've had so so much response from the designers that I don't want to not have what they need and views probably getting more per stem from the designer than yeah gets a wholesale also yeah so you expand a couple ways expanded in quantity of dollars and then. When did you start adding other varieties like Lizzie. Athas I actually I did add the other expanded the second year with varieties of flowers on Fridays or type growing. Oh yes and I do you have my mailing lists and if people want to know what I'm going I will send that out told him so can reach out to you yes yes. That should be more organized too but yes no nobody's we we've got the COULDA WOULDA Shoulda. We're GONNA I assuming you're not you're growing with the designers point of view else would go with the Dahlia so yes and they've told me too. They said you really have a good I for which that's I mean. I would be a designer our two again. I'd be a writer to be played piano. I mean I'm I would have gone to culinary schools all the creative stop but yeah you can. You would've been Martha Stewart. Yes my head all the time in the world but yeah so they drawn to any of those Soviet ascetic Cya of farming anyway and the local wholesaler came out a couple of weeks ago and they said you're colors are fantastic art. That's yeah that's great so so they're trying to will you so now. I guess so yes yeah well. You're in you know like a teenage level of this business like you're still figuring out. Do you get bigger or do you charge more like what is the sweet spot possum blossoms but I definitely want to bring the community aspect to it so that that is in the plan but yeah so right now you're in. You're in the area is pretty close. I mean it's like ten minutes up both fight two minutes off the freeway close but how much acreage is here. This will we. We're going to work up to two acres but the family land here is like twelve to fifteen years and this is where your grandfather comes setting seven or yeah. Both of my parents are from here okay and my mom. This is my mother's family's land and the where I grew up was my father's family okay so within all within a really close geographic area and so you've been using this land and it seems like it's worked pretty well to this point. Yes yes and you're not doing events on the property that you're not bringing people in no. I was going to add that this year but because things are changing with you can talk about later but I do have the the just the community always asking. How can we get your flowers. How can we get you flowers and I wanted to add a flower Bar Day. One day a week. They could come so again. That's still the idea and so when you say that you mean like the flower enthusiast or the individual business person right now I feel tailing. Yeah I see a lot of people are doing on farm retail. maybe just on the weekends or whatever also. I think Laura. You're one woman show so you could do that but like you said where's the time I would. Yes WanNA get. It all cemented a little better I will I will obviously hire people. I guess we'll have to do a follow up episode probably so what what I saw when we did the the story about the Rocky Mountain Region for floors review and we did a page about you and in Utah is i. I felt like you had a really high level. The designers were buying from you are really at the top of their game. 'cause you shared photos of of your flowers in there to sign so off. That's only gonNA grow. I'm sure you're you're fetus piece of your pie and so now you have to decide which other applies it all look enticing but where's the Prophet Center on those. Yes you'll get there. Yes I will. I will yeah so in a typical sweet like what's your schedule your farming every day or yes. I I come here to the farm well at least ace Monday through Friday. I tried to force myself not to come Saturday and Sunday but we're we're on a Saturday or or my husband has said. Are you going to go down to the farm town Saturday and I as of no because I will not come back. Yes you just get stuck on my family will starve and I'll be down there for me. You see everything that needs to be done to start working but I come in the mornings and I'm here three to five or six hours depending on the day yeah welcome back in the evening. If I don't get the harvesting finished shirt also it's pretty hot here in the middle of summer. You probably do early morning late afternoon. Yes yes yes. Are you on any kind of drip irrigation or it's all drip irrigation so you don't necessarily happy over here to water. It's ranked with delays more deadheading in harvesting right. Yes yes dale. Yes what the deadheading justice crazy. I suppose when you get to the point selling every single thing you have you maybe get. I don't know they come on so they are just a workhorse of flour yeah right. You'd almost have you do the harvest twice a day yeah yeah so how do you sell the especially the dietary selling by the Ah Bunches of seven stems or ten stems bundles of five okay okay so okay and then do charge more for the dinner plates than the other smaller varieties. Yes I've heard of the people who are doing that more for the cafes ace and a little more for the dinner plates than the other varieties yeah they're they're premium flower jess and then do you deliver or do the designers come here to pick up both but mostly they come here to pick up as you've pre cut or do they come might try to. They have a pre cut. That's what I've been trying to communicate to them. Because cutting to order is difficult because they're showing up at the same time and yeah you can't. I mean built. You're cutting to order the order ahead of time yes yeah but then they usually add on which is great but my cool ballroom is only three weeks old. Maybe Oh why is that a cooler outfit. That was my cooler and that's kind of like a flower shop. Kulu yes yes and so you did build a cool but yes in This is a little farm out so you have one of the smaller rooms yes and so now I can go out and harvest a lot more and have stuff in there and then they'll even just by from what I have. Carolina it up to then. I couldn't really do that because I didn't have a place to put yeah again as like growing growing pains growing Faso's US yes the other thing about even though you're sound five you don't you go all the way through October probably before I frost our usual first prostate is October fifteen okay the last two years. It has been earlier but it will go much later to wow but so you're just going to go until I went to yeah. Someone was telling me that recently that I was talking about Charleston South Carolina and that of course I we know they're under like horrible hurricane threat right now but but summer is not the wedding season. Spring and I'm wondering if you're kind of in that same boat I I often hear when I listened to the things people say. July is such a slow for them. Probably I guess because heat but and I suppose it's a little slower although place at Park city is probably yes cool in the summer yes so we do kind of it's June through October more pretty. Hey good wedding here but definitely August September October you can you're. You're getting requests all the time. Are you growing in the past. Have you grown like bulb crops in the spring or can they do. They do well here. They do okay yes. I've I've done tulips. I was was waiting also too 'cause we were going to buy this man okay so before. I put in things that were permanent I. I was just holding back on that. That's why I don't have as much of a spring thing like Hanney's or something yeah yeah well. Let's just talk about it so this has been lease land. I know I don't have put his family. Allie land so yeah but in in your planning you may came to the point where you decided you wanted to own your own land yes and that tell us a little bit about that because it sounds like it's it's a bump in the road yes but people everyone listening to. This has had a similar bump. Maybe not about land but about something that kind of threw threw a curveball says it's encouraging to know they're not alone. Yes well or that. You're four years into it and you're still figuring it out but that's okay yeah. It gets better each year but we were planning to build a new home. it was just on the horizon and and then starting the flowers. It's like well yeah. I WANNA have my own space and then again because I grew up on a farm I wanted to settle on my own patch of land you were you're okay living and farming on the same person yes yeah. I mean there's some some economies economies of scale there. Yes I officials. I would prefer I think because with I don't know how the people do like their farms two hours away on the shuttling well like the you know field in Florence to Chicago and they're going up to Michigan to farm ninety minutes away but they've figured it out but there's two of them. It's been one of you. Yes yeah yeah so you found a piece of property. Yes we've been well again. We're going to build here but we have just kind of hit roadblock after roadblock but we've been with a realtor for two years where we she's been sending US properties so we need at least the two acres I need water rides and anyway they're usually older homes that need renovation in which is okay but none of them have really worked and and then two months ago. I think I think it's only been that long and she sent I mean we get her listings regularly and this one popped up. It's it's five and a quarter acres. It's it's the home was built in two thousand and two so it's yeah new you can move right in yeah. Maybe not maybe a painter. Whatever ever yeah well we're going to do more than just but it's beautiful? It's on the lake. It's twenty five minutes from here. So it's out of the I suppose. The metropolis showed us that sure of Orem the the League is called Lake Utah Right on the map yeah so things are more affordable affordable okay so to get three and a quarter acres more of land. It's twelve hundred square feet more of house which she might. That's people people might be like well. Why do you want that much but it just is yeah. You've got still got kids at home and it's less now so that's the plan so that's the plant and it's on the lake. The five acres comes down to the lake and then you see this over here the twinkling lights and the mountains in the background and so I'm thinking maybe even adding venue new space. Yes Maiming Mike and that'd be query. I don't know any of the zoning or anything now. That was tempting. Yes and do Gee. There's so any ideas of rain through my head thinking about this like it's obviously very picturesque. It is so people will WANNA. Come out and see the flowers. You could accepts there yes S. Will you have to build a barn or some shelter will have to build structures yeah but my husband. He said he wants to go over there and he said I will do anything you need. Wow for the stand and yet he's running his own business so he's helping on the weekends to them. Yes yeah and he said so. We we have a shop about three miles or so from here for he said I will build a cooler over there. I will all your flowers over here every day. Wow Wow so so so but then that would be a third look. You'RE GONNA live location is still have another store like shop for for a temp sewerage. I guess or well our storage will do. He know who I mean. We'll tell you how oh wow but he just said he'll bring the flowers. He'll bring people's orders and they can just pick up all at this hearing channel. Yes so he would be like your annex. I something really smart about that because you're still consolidating the orders and then you won't have to physically be there people indus. Come pick them up and look like that. I like that what what is the timeline for you like you're. GonNa wrap up this season here. Indicative the ball. You're Dolly youtubers. Yes yes my next spring. I'll dig up my roses and the things that I the handful of perennials that I have momentum over there. uh-huh so you you mentioned that there wasn't really a market here for anyone brian distant drums or Coco Loco. Are you trying to grow those. Yes okay wow. How many plants do you have. I only have CAV about only ten. Coco locos have more on ordered that we're offering and I have about. I don't know fifteen distant drums but absalon order for that to your designers are hungry for those gals yeah but are those have not they. The the early summer flush was fantastic and the heat we get here for those has just made them little baby anything but I did add garden roses and things and those seem to do just spine while she'll have a whole rose area in the new property yes which was the impetus for that was going to dawn's up at all my Taya's I oh my gosh okay now. You have data. That's right. You came to the Rose Workshop that Don militia unleash did last summer. Yeah I mean your eyes must've been drinking all that and thinking. There's there's opportunity here and you love the flower. Probably Oh boy yes there little for me. They've been a little more tricky though because they're not I mean well yeah. This is not as mild mild as Jato or north of Seattle Yeah. Maybe they need to go under slight shade cloth. There's something I mean. It says full sun but yeah it's interesting hot here yeah. Maybe you have a high structure that has you roll the sides up when it's close in the spring and fall but then you give them a little protection action yeah so we'll figure continue yes their work in progress. How did you come up with the name. Pop and Blah Blah happened. He was saying poppin blossoms well or was it with your former neighbor. No my daughter actually came up with it and I think I think we talked about it at Meg okay. I am so sorry I forgot. I don't know if I hit it had the name maybe it was brand new no. I don't think I had it because I remember you saying the this and that seems to be over Dover Really Overdone Yeah like what do I know but just observe it it yeah it is but then I also knew knew that I wanted. I didn't want it to necessarily safe farm in the navy as I wanted to be all inclusive to wherever the Flou- few start designing yet you start doing workshops yeah and they didn't have because it wasn't like I didn't get into flower farming because of necessarily my heritage. I didn't really they have a family. People will link it to their family history and so I sprained storming. My daughter said she said the pop and blossoms because pop in is like the hip thing or if it's popping it's hot. We'd holds your daughter well. She was was one thousand nine hundred for that but you know it's the double entendre because the Boston's pop sounds like Oh. That's rates cute yeah like it. Yes says flowers but it says like like trendy flowers and do you like Utah Brown or anything tagline or is that more a retail l. term that maybe you would use with you like you had a bouquet label or something like that. I mean I guess it does it says a fresh cut flower farm but I should probably add the no I mean yours at night hashtags. I know so yeah that's interesting so since you started. It seems like we're GONNA have a gathering here even vited some other flower farmers our people finding you reaching out doing it sounds like you're kind of creating a community here of the other farmers the other flower for people who care about local flowers. Yes and a lot of the farmers have reached out to me and want have wanted. It's come see my farm and stuff like that. heather of WASATCH BLOOMS WHO's coming today is trying to create the Utah a Utah Flower Dr Clark collective yes but the gosh the florists and all the people it's a lot of word of mouth uh-huh and my instagram so far has been really my only marketing while so that's amazing when you see people in the community when it come out they're finding you on instagram due to pretty much for and then word of Mouth Yatch is is one one designer tells another designer and this isn't yet yeah. This isn't community that while it is it isn't so Sarah winward came last week for the first time while and she's pasted Solich yes but she does. She does very little insulation in Salt Lake. She's a traveling designer. She is although she says she wants to add more back slipping kind of like having floral royalty yes but I was surprised is because she went out and looked around and she said these are busy emphasis. Yes like I've never seen Lizzy emphas- look like this was the most large flowered heads that are just opened has they when they get them in the same thing with the the the designer came yesterday I had asked her. Do you want to add me Louisiana order before she came and she said No. I think I'm good then. She walked in field and she said I can't believe this Zanthosyn. I've never seen it looked like this ask because they get like one or two things open and all buds are really even cut it until it's is Lizzie of this flower that once you cut added it doesn't open in a vase like a dog. I hear Dahlia's don't really do that. It depends on where they're at in the bloom process same with Lizzie okay last forever China Vase yes but then Sarah also said well. I have another. I have a friend. Elizabeth have to look okay that she's from New York City. She's doing a destination wedding in Idaho and so she placed a large order with me for next week and how she going to get him up to Idaho. Someone's freelancing for her here who lists here and they're going to take them all but she sent her pictures of Bolivia and she's like Oh. Why are the wheelers away. Yeah it does is. It's like the field of dreams if you build it. They will and I really feel like there's something we're on the cusp of something. In especially in the High Desert Rocky Mountain states where the what you've described as sort of happening in New Mexico where there's a little bit of a momentum going with growers Arizona for sure Montana for sure and I don't know so much about Wyoming but but Utah is been on my radar ever since I met you and it's exciting because there's a there's of lifestyle customer who wants beautiful flowers I yes and it's definitely a wedding destination like I was asked earlier. You're in a college multiple colleges here so there's a lot of younger couples getting married and probably maybe they don't have the budgets of couples have but there's a market for weddings of all vendors yes so it's kind of it's kind of like a perfect the perfect storm in a good way so yes so. I feel like in two years. When hi come back you will have. I will a lot going on I will I will the I I did Ralph and Jerry Syrians dead head cut flowers last year alone. There's so their model where they go to Sun Valley and Jackson Hall and that could maybe your model to yes park city the main resort area of outside of Salt Lake or there there are the snowbird and different resorts Sundan Okay so there are several places where they do yeah yeah it feel like Laura. I feel like your biggest issue is personnel. Yes you personnel and personality okay because lower seldom sells something to do my husband who's totally opposite of me. Watch selling these. Why aren't you selling useful because they I am but you know he'd be on the phone. They'd be all sold. Brian use acquitted business and come work with she's. He said he wants to transition into that helping me. Oh my Gosh Gosh that's pretty cool. Yeah be careful what you wish for you know but he was out there working when I pulled into the Middle Lot so that's neat. He's done the drip irrigation and he does all the stuff. He's an engineer too okay so he can build anything. I need so that's that's a pretty handy asset to how may built me a Talia digging implement that goes on the back of a tractor. Ralph showed US okay and he came home and made one. Oh that's so neat well. You've got a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I I'm really excited to show share photos of you and your flowers. We'll take some photos because we're having a little party today. The and yes glad you mentioned the this this Utah Flower collective. It's coming together. So what a follow up and right about that too. I feel feeling this is inspiring people who you know. You probably did feel isolated when you first started. That's probably what you did flight at Denver or come you know to a conference in grand rapids. You're just trying to figure out who else is doing this. Yes what can I learn. What am I also having our other business. I I know networking is very important and even the whole foods thing yes. They've reached out to talk about the left. Well I need. We we still have to have our initial meetings. She's reached out. We're going to talk about it but it came about because of the very first meeting at slow flowers in megs because Calvin Yaro had Dahlia's yes he supplies the Denver stores and the representative. was there a couple of weeks ago and said we we'd like a supplier in Utah do you know of anyone on and he suggested me and now is completely unplanned we all just jumped in the car and went out to see the Dahlia grower way augmented nowhere and then I've seen that I've seen them at Asu AFC things young and other connections that I've made little things have come about to so oh absolutely so are you saying you're a little bit of an introvert very much an introvert but one. I I don't see it so I think we are talking about flowers light up. This is true good. That's good this is. Maybe the art school that you didn't pursue as a child but maybe the music. I don't know how do you work with music into your life. You do play piano. I do play piano okay but I'm a bit rusty at that too. Yes something's gotTa note. Yes I think flowers are here medium and they're beautiful medium. You grow incredibly high quality flowers as you said premier flowers and that's not bragging. That's being proud of your standards quality any standards so and they're beautiful. I just everything about flowers is happiness every adjective you could. I mean they're peaceful. They're just every you could say. They figure they did yeah and clearly your customers Laura. This has been so much fun and I'm so glad to get to see what you're doing and I'm just fired by. Your doggedness for just keep pushing it and it does. I think we all don't know where we're going to Enron. We start out because we're still discovering as we're going and but I see you. You're glimpsing horizon horizon out with the new property. Now has a solid idea plant. Yes good thank you so much. Laura thank you for coming on so so happy to have you so happy we visited. Utah and a special shout out of thanks to Laura for hosting our slow flowers meet up. I've written a recap of my visit to pop and blossoms and the wonderful group of kindred spirits I met last Saturday we now have five members in Utah representing the the exciting shift toward torch seasonal and locally grown flowers serving everyone from farmers market customers. CSI subscribers to wedding floors and event designers you can find a link to that that post in today's show notes for episode four hundred eighteen at Deborah printing dot com you can also download a pdf of the rocky mountain theme to Slow Thurbers Journal Section that I referred for two which includes a piece on pop and blossoms. I've also included that link in our show notes are neck sponsor spotlight focuses on Johnny's selected acted seats an employee owned company that provides our industry the best flour herb and vegetable seeds supply farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at Janis seats DOT COM and check out my past articles. Featuring the wisdom and voices is a flower farmers. You can find the links at Deborah printing dot com in today's show nuts now. Let's visit North Dakota where we'll meet. Tammy crying of Kenza flower shop can't his a local full service floral retailer based in the state capital of Bismarck Tammy purchased an established shop in two thousand one and decided to retain its original name although she has put her own spin on the business to developing a loyal customer base through her own branding. I I learned about Tammy eight through one of our South Dakota members floral designer and educator patients picture and through Jason Lens of Minnesota based. Lend Bush roses which supplies Kim's Qin's flower shop and others with a regular flow of fresh high-quality. Midwest ground blooms on its delivery route through North Dakota. You'll hear Tammy and I discussed plus the challenges to sourcing local flowers face by a florist like her someone located in a northern state one. That's wedged between Minnesota and Montana and one that shares its entire northern border with Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada. She's making it work. I know you'll enjoy our talk so let's get started. I'm so excited today to visit is it North Dakota and mainly because we have our very first member in slow flowers from North Dakota. I'd like to introduce Tammy Crime Tammy Owens Ken Flower Shop in the state capital Bismarck Hi Tammi. Lo everyone thinks much for for joining us and sharing during your story give me a snapshot Tammy of Cans Flower Shop. Thank you for having me. Ken Flower Shop have been in the community. I can't even give you the exact number of years but it's been sixty plus. the original owner was obviously. Asli named Ken he had flower shop in the front and kind of a fishing store in the back many years cock fishing and flowers. It's very unusual yeah. Wow I am yeah interesting and I am the third owner of Ken Flower shop if I had it now for eighteen and a half years I still enjoy going to work every day. it's always a fun and exciting adventure sure working with flowers I concentrate more on the flux fresh floral aspect of it versus permanent botanical but I will do who some custom permanent work as well in the state capital I like to I I'm no one more for a little putting a little twists. John versus the standard old fashioned. I say style. I like to see more updated versions some of of arranging in my community and so that's what kind of sets me apart from some of the others so everything from daily deliveries to all all stages of life celebrations birth to funerals and then also wedding events. It's that kind of the scope battles the scope. I my heart I enjoy doing funeral work. probably the the one. I enjoy doing the most I believe that every person you you know life should be remembered. well live. They lived a very well lived life and so I liked very much personalized their celebration of life flowers works and and add any personal touches and you know that is is my passion. I think a special because it is sort of probably the a category that some people just want to avoid like you know it's awkward or uncomfortable or whatever so you're taking a more almost like a like commission based approach to to serving people at the sad part of their life it is it's a sad person and the saddest funeral funeral that has no flowers every sold deserves to have a beautiful remembrance and so they the flowers are the best way to depict that there to represent that when it comes to the to the how they live their life so what was your journey to flowers tammy owning the retail flower shop for eighteen years first of all you deserve a gold medal because I know it's a hard hard business just physically and psychically. What led you to due by the shop you know for many years? I said I would never own a flower shop because it Kinda I mean you really don't get get to enjoy your holidays as a young young person junior senior in high school. It happened that the owner before me he was the sister of my high school boyfriend so I ended up working in the shop delivering and assisting for several years and even though that relationship didn't work out I remain friends with the sister and continued to help out at holidays and this from that and then she taught me the basics of design and and just kinda honed my skills there and she is it's getting time to sell and she kept saying you're buying you're buying this and I'm like no I'm not and and and it it you know she kept working on me and on and I'm like sat back and thought and I'm like well. Maybe I could do this. Maybe I could you know and so got a hold of a good banker and family support and they're right there I was I purchased it in two thousand one and here I am today It's almost like she was cultivating you before you even knew what was going on. Yeah Yeah I went to college for business. I was going to be in business management and accounting and those type of areas and they've been very helpful for this but yeah not doing what I what path I was on in in callers. Will you just told me that I as we were trying to set up this interview you. You're really busy last week because it was the state conference for the North Dakota Florist Association and I knew you were involved but you just before we started recording you. You're the president of that association so congratulations maybe or you just said yes to me. Sometimes I have a hard time saying no and end up being yeah well spread a little thin well capable women and all that but I tell us just about the floral industry in the state. You said over eighty people people were in attendance so it's North Dakota isn't a highly populated state with a lot of urban centers is it no it is not so a lot of the floral shops in our state. do multifaceted items so a lot of them are coffee shops and floral shops. A lot of them are the local gift store flower shop. Sometimes it's the supermarket and in the fall you know there's a small flower shop. I've even had the hardware store and the flower shop or together the majority of them in the little town are they have to do multiple things in order to succeed need there's some of them that do face painting and ice cream store flowers. I mean they're all locked the different lots of different items like that go on in North Dakota CODA and there's a wide range we have to deliver quite far especially in some of the smaller towns to get get deliveries out not just a you you know five or ten mile radius there are some that deliver forty and fifty miles out so that's that's the biggest biggest issues we come. I'm across here and so are most of the members retail versus like studio based or are you seeing any growth in that area. We are seeing in some studio based flower shops mainly in the larger markets. you know so. There's maybe a couple here in Bismarck but the Fargo area is much doc more of a Metropoli. I shouldn't you know how better politics in the area they are much when cities of Minnesota so they get more more of that influence so I'm saying more the studio based arraigned flower shops out in that that area well we met through patients patience as I said and and I know that you participated in this cooled project called the inspired design retreat was in South Dakota brand and our mutual friends at lend Bush roses were involved in that they also part of the Sofa or summit since it was in Minneapolis and I I understand that that particular particular event us all I don't know was it all. Local flowers were all American grown and I know there were some yup emphasis on but they had all American grown flowers. There was nothing you know brought in from the South American reading at all we had the and Bush and then cal flowers a local floral farmer in Sioux falls was there and also some Alaskan peonies their her best well. We're going to publish some photos and a story about that cool project which I'm glad you were part of in the December issue of flourish review. What am I haven't seen the photos yet but I've seen what's going on on social media and it looked really beautiful and it was a lot of talk took place outdoors. You get a real sense of the planes a. and the you know the environment that is in north and South Dakota. I'm sure the reason I brought it up is because I know you had told me that lend. Bush roses supplies cans flower shop. Lynn Bush is based in the twin cities or outside of Minneapolis but they serve mainly the upper mid west florist interest of product and so how does that work for you well they they've run their own trucks to us twice a week we are able to order up until four o'clock or so the night before men the product is delivered to us to following morning on their own. You know environmentally controlled trucks so that product doesn't get too hotter to colder whatever they have a fantastic greenhouse system. Their product is incredibly fresh when it gets here and the longevity of it just seems to atop a lot of the stuff that shipped from anywhere right. You know foreign market yeah. Even I'm from the West Coast probably yeah I mean what I alluded to in the intro is that it's your fairly remote and they're the flower farming hasn't isn't quite blown up in North Dakota as it has in other markets. What what is that. What do you think is going to happen. I mean if you didn't have Lynn Bush. I I mean you would probably have a hard time getting regional product right correct. There would be a real tough time getting regional product we just the the climate adhere does is not conducive to floral farming. You know it would be a very short growing season unless you have the funds to put up spend immaculate greenhouse. I- it's really hard to get you know to have that timing to get the product and especially sometimes and I'm just using roses for example you cannot they grow the size rose that we would need to market environment right not doc and I or just the energy costs would be prohibitive E. N. O. Crazy so I'm sure that yeah I'm just thinking anyway came to Bismarck and hung out with you and I go happen to symbol upon a farmer's market. There's probably a few people bringing annual the walls like sunflowers Zinnias to their stall at the farmer's market but I'm just guessing that sort of seems to be showing up at every farmer's market but that that that kind of farmer hasn't made their way to the to work with the professional floral customer like you yeah once in a while they will come knocking. You know come knocking on our door. Whatever with their product you know toward about this time of the year maybe a little bit earlier and we're able to buy some of the more fresh cut locally grown especially like you said Zinnias and stuff like that and then also also we do have one local peony farm the that does grow they have the greenhouse situation set up so that we can get fresh peonies from about now she usually May and June in that area we can get lonely growing peonies so for Kim's flower shop a your would you say that you're kind of just beginning to promote domestic American grown or or Mid West flowers. I mean it's not been a over the eighteen years you've had the shove. It probably hasn't been a big part of your marketing mix correct it. Probably I've probably had more of American grown flowers hours more in the last five years than the first you know twelve or thirteen definitely you know when Bush has expanded the the number of items that they're growing so it's much easier to get it. a lot of the other wholesalers are bringing in the California grown stuff and as well but for more woeckel regional flower one bushes is one of our only sources yeah. That's exciting well I. I hope that you are continued to pioneer this. in North Dakota. I went I was before I met you. I literally had been scouring instagram with the Hashtag North Dakota flowers North Dakota flower farm. I came across a few people but I'm message people who didn't get back to me and I was spilling a little discouraged like I know there's something there because I feel like this. Movement is happening in all fifty states. Maybe very beginning stages all the way up to really establish but it's so great to connect with you. You and we can keep this conversation going about what's happening with your designs and your Bloomberg. You've gotTA provide flowers year round to your customer base so the season is relevant but wow we'll so before we go. I just have to ask you have one more year as as President of North Dakota Floor Association wreck. I wish you well. It's probably probably taking a bite out of some of your special. Projects rather be doing teaching yeah well. You know you get to get to relate due to a lot of the educators in the industry and that's why I enjoy. I really enjoy education and that's why I've gotten I've gotten had I not continued attending attending classes and stuff throughout the country and networked with other Florus. I wouldn't be where I am and we need to stay updated or you're GONNA end up great well. I hope to get to visit US someday. I was so close when I was in the twin cities this summer but just the time. I'm didn't work out Tammy. Thank you so much for giving us a snapshot of what's happening and the middle of the country but really far north it. What's the what's this is nicknamed for North Dakota. Look that Kahn Dry frozen judgment. That's why you relate so well to Alaska panties right. Oh my gosh yeah thank you so much. I really enjoyed it and I wear to share some photos of you and your flowers and all social places at our show notes for episode four Hundred Eighteen Deborah Printing. Dot Com and I'm glad I'm glad you agree to let us visit you. Virtually thanks Salat Tammy. Thank you checkout photos of Tammy and fine likes to her social places in today's show notes notes at Deborah Printing. Dot Com next week. We'll visit Ohio. Thank you so much for joining me today. The slow flowers podcast has been downloaded more more than five hundred fifteen thousand times by listeners like you thank you for listening commenting and sharing can mean so much and as our movement gains more supporters yes and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry. The momentum is contagious. I know you feel it too. I value your support the court and invite you to show your things with donation to support my ongoing advocacy education and outreach activities. You can find a donate button in the column into the right at Deborah Printing. Dot Com. Our final sponsor spotlight is long field guards which provides home Gardner's with high-quality the flower bulbs and perennials their online store offers plants for every region and every season from tulips and daffodils to Dahlia's caladiums Amaryllis Willis check out the full catalog at long failed gardens and the website is long field DASH GARDENS DOT com. I'm Deborah printing host and producer Sir of the slow flowers podcast next week. You're invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table one vase at a time and if you'd liked you hear please consider logging onto itunes and posting a listener review the content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests. Sologne independent of any podcast sponsor or other person company or organization. The slow far is podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Friendly. Learn more about his work as sound body movement dot com.

Coming up next