Flower CSA – Week 5

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!

rudbeckia

Rudbeckia: Bright yellow-gold petals that can be double or single, depending on variety. Commonly known as “black-eyed Susan,” because of its dark center, although some varieties produce green centers.

salvia

Salvia, “Marble Arch”: Small purple, pink, or white bracts with dramatically defined veins.

feverfew

Matricaria: A medicinal herb also known as feverfew or tanacetum. Small yellow-centered white flowers with single or double petals.

statice suworowii

Statice suworowii: A rosy purple spire, resembling a pipe cleaner, lined with tiny flowers and short flower branches. Can be referred to as “rat tail” statice.

Flower CSA – Week 4

Bright, cheerful bouquets this week with the additions of sunflowers and rudbeckia!

sunflower

Sunflower: Different varieties in yellow, gold, peach, and cream. Mostly dark centers, although some have green or yellow-centers.

rudbeckia

Rudbeckia: Bright yellow-gold petals that can be double or single, depending on variety. Commonly known as “black-eyed Susan,” because of its dark center, although some varieties produce green centers.

bupleurum

Bupleurum: Tiny yellow flowers embedded on creamy green leaves with branching foliage.

basil

Basil: Different ornamental varieties with aromatic foliage in shades of green or dark purple with green or purple flower bracts.

Flower CSA – Week 3

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:

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Amaranthus, “Coral Fountain”: A dramatic coral-colored tassel with fuzzy texture and bright green foliage.

snapdragon

Antirrhinum “Rocket, Potomac, Madame Butterfly”: Commonly known as snapdragon. Comes in wide variety of vibrant colors.

cosmos

Cosmos, “Versailles” & “Double Click”: Daisy-like in appearance with single or double petals. Blooms in white, pink, or maroon with yellow center.

centaurea

Centaurea: Edible flower in shades of blue, white, pink & purple. Also known as bachelor’s button and cornflower.

veronica

Veronica Spicata, “Alba”: A thin perennial spire. This variety produces tiny white flowers. (Not to be confused with statice suworowii, which has pinkish-purple flowers.)

Flower CSA – Week Two

Bachelor’s buttons and cosmos will add some pop to your bouquets this week!

cosmos

Cosmos, “Versailles” & “Double Click”: Daisy-like in appearance with single or double petals. Blooms in white, pink, or maroon with yellow center.

centaurea

Centaurea: edible flower in shades of blue, white, pink & purple. Also known as bachelor’s button and cornflower.

dill

Dill flower: Airy yellow umbel from dill plant, often used in pickling.

delph

Delphinium, “Magic Fountains” & “Bella Donna”: shades of blue that are unique in flowers, as well as whites and purples.

poppy

Poppies, Icelandic: tissue paper-like petals in many vibrant colors. Singeing the stem after cutting can help blooms last longer.

 

Flower CSA – Week One

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:

 

parsnip

Parsnip flower: green with yellow umbels; looks much like dill flower.

lady's mantle

Lady’s Mantle: green with tiny yellow star-shaped flowers; perennial and common ground cover.

peony

Peony: comes in many varieties of whites, pinks, & reds; grown from a root that can live for decades.

delph

Delphinium, Magic Fountains: shades of blue that are fairly rare to flowers, as well as whites and purples.

poppy

Poppies, Icelandic: tissue paper-like petals in many vibrant colors. Singeing the stem after cutting can help blooms last longer.

Flower CSA Start

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!

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Why I Love Maine

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.

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Portland Headlight

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.

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Doubletop Mountain, Baxter State Park

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.

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Baxter Peak on Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain

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Katahdin silouhette

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.

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Isle au Haut coastline

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From Swan’s Island lighthouse

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.

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Honeysuckle Way Flower Farm, summer 2014

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A memorable campsite in the North Maine Woods

Spring Seedlings and Wayward Pigs

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

CSA sketch crop