I can’t believe the CSA is already halfway through! I hope you are all loving your flowers. The field is looking really great right now!
Bright, cheerful bouquets this week with the additions of sunflowers and rudbeckia!
The flower field is glowing with the warm weather we’ve been having and lots of good things to come. Here’s what’s going into the bouquets this week….. among other things:
Bachelor’s buttons and cosmos will add some pop to your bouquets this week!
Last year, some of you requested to know the names of the flowers in your bouquet. However, with bouquets going out Tuesday-Friday, the ingredients often change from beginning to end of week, depending on what’s blooming in abundance that day.
But! This feels like a good challenge! I am going to try to provide you with a sketch and names of the flowers I hope to include in the bouquet that week. You may not see everything on the list, and you will more than likely get a surprise element not listed! Enjoy!
Here’s week one:
To my lovely CSA members:
Only one more week to wait for your beautiful bouquets! The CSA will be starting the week of June 29th!
For your flowers to last as long as possible, bring a jar of water for the trip home (especially if it’s a long one). After unwrapping, trim stems at least an inch and put into a clean vessel with fresh water. Refreshing the water every other day will keep the flowers looking beautiful even longer!
I’d like to take a moment to recognize this great state in which I reside and conduct business. It was fond childhood memories at a remote lakeside camp that lured me here in the first place, but re-living it now as an adult, my appreciation for Maine has grown much deeper. This marks year six of being a (unofficial, non-native) Mainer. I really started to love Maine from year one of my residency, and began uncovering more of its wonders in year two. It was somewhere around year four when someone asked me to name one thing I didn’t like about Maine. After thinking for awhile, and thinking some more, I came up with nothing. That’s when I knew I was home.
The first three years, I had the privilege of exploring Maine’s backwoods while building trails with the Maine Conservation Corps. I witnessed serene beauty in places most of the world will never see. I travelled through towns so sparsely populated their names consist of letters and numbers. I found peace crawling out of my tent in the morning to a lake shore sunrise, and returning at night to swim off the day’s sweat and dirt. Among my favorite places were the sparkly blue waters along the rocky Cutler Coast, the thrilling vastness of Baxter State Park, and the familiarity of the Appalachian Trail. In the winter, Sugarloaf has become my home, where I spend the majority of my time riding the varied mountain’s terrain via snowboard.
Maine wilderness is pretty perfect, offering mountains, lakes, rivers, and ocean. For an outdoor enthusiast, the possibilities are endless as the seasons rotate and express an array of options along with dramatic scenery transformations.
It may have been my passion for the outdoors that led me here, but the people and atmosphere have enticed me to stay. Maine-ah’s are welcoming and generous. It seems each person prides him or herself in being more helpful than the next. Stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire or dead battery, I’m continuously amazed by the amount of people who are happy to stop and offer whatever help they can. Strangers walking down the street say hello or comment on the niceness of the day.
Farmers in Maine have demonstrated similar kindness. Neighbors are quick to lend a hand (or tractor) or simply share a meal or advice. I love that I have found a small group of flower growers with similar goals and interests. Rather than taking on a competitive nature, everyone is excited to share experiences and resources. When the stress of running a farm business feels unbearable, knowing this group of independent lady flower farmers are enduring and overcoming similar challenges, helps pull me through.
Maine is a wonderful place, to live and farm. Sometimes I’m not sure if life can get much better than this.
UPDATE: Thursday & Friday flower CSA shares are SOLD OUT.
There are still a few spaces available for Juniper Hill (Tues) and Gardiner Market (Wed) pick-ups!
More info here!
There was a time I thought this winter snow and cold may last forever. Not that I have reason to complain, considering my winter was filled with teaching snowboarding and baking desserts. There were also high hopes of painting masterpieces, learning to knit, and ending world hunger, but alas, being outdoors (even in subzero temperatures), often took priority. Luckily, with the change in season, I can continue working outdoors as the farming season makes a gradual entrance.
Now that we have reached some pleasant days in the 50’s and 60’s (with 4 inches of snow last week already behind us), working outside has been rejuvenating as ever, and I am full of hope and excitement for flower season.
As farming goes, this spring has already sprung its share of challenges. First was moving some stubborn pigs and chickens out of our much needed workspace. For the pigs, we dug a snow pit, a “Pig-loo,” if you will, to keep them contained within four towering walls of snow. Restraining the chickens proved to be more difficult. Upon entering the greenhouse every day, we began constructing obstacle courses in our wake to deter nosy chickens from entering and wreaking havoc on our seedling trays. This created a challenge for the farmers and chickens alike. Luckily farmers are smarter than the average chicken.
Furthermore, when the relief of cleaning up the farm in the fall arrived, we hadn’t really considered some items (including animal fencing) may be hidden by two feet of snow come April! I guess we also failed to realize sliding shed doors may freeze into an impenetrable block of ice. And without the ability to open the doors, we may have to disassemble our wheelbarrow, chuck the parts out a sliver of opening, and reassemble outside the shed.
As fellow flower farmers giddily posted pictures of apple blossoms, poppies, and tulips, I looked across my snow covered field and sighed. Even now with the snow melted, it will take some time for my field to dry up and be ready for planting.
Still, as spring leisurely strolls in, I am a seeding machine in the greenhouse. I am excited this year to be growing more flowers and some new varieties! I am looking forward to arranging for summer weddings and the opening of the Gardiner Co-op, where I plan to offer fresh cut bouquets.
In other big news- I bought a filing cabinet. A wise man (Ben Marcus, owner of Sheepscot General) once told me, “there is a fine line between self-employed and unemployed.” I’m pretty sure owning a filing cabinet solidifies the former, or at least I hope.
So fear not, fellow Mainers. When summer arrives, it will be filled with flowers. Sign up to get a Honeysuckle Way bouquet each week with my CSA, if you have not already done so. And take some time to enjoy the sunshine and pleasant days!