Looking back on 2022--My first full year!!
As the weather cools, I thought I'd look back on the year with you!
Even though I officially started this business last year, I didn't really have flowers to bring to market until mid-June 2021. So 2022 was really the first full year of flower farming for me! I find that incredible.
Winter was a busy time. I was remaking beds, building raised beds, raising and lowering tunnel walls, leveling ground, starting seeds, installing a deer fence, and many other tasks that seem endless around any agricultural operation.
I saw a lot of beautiful sunsets working on these short days and enjoyed the different smells , sights, and rhythms of winter.
Spring came quickly with flowers I had never grown before. Anemones and ranunculus topped that list and then, of course, came the tulips. Hundreds and hundreds of tulips which wait for no one. I had such a time of harvesting that sowing my summer crops fell to the wayside. But I didn't mind as each one opened and I was wowed every time. I had no idea tulips could be so beautiful and fragrant AND long lasting!
Mother's Day was a huge success, selling out nearly every single flower I had and then came two weeks of solid rain. That delayed the dahlia plantings, but I was secretly grateful for some breathing room.
June came and customers seemed to leave. It was the first summer we could travel again and people seemed to take big, big trips this summer. The rains stopped and a very hot and very dry summer began. I confess, the summer was hard for me not just because of the weather, but because my kids were home and I often felt torn between growing the flowers or growing the kids. That's something I need to think more about for next year and every working mom's dilemma.
Now that fall has come, I feel a fresh invigoration. I've been asked countless times whether things are slowing down for me and I laugh. In some ways, this is the busiest time for me because I am laying the foundation for next year. This is the season for planting which means taking out old plants, fertilizing, forking each bed, hauling load after load of compost, shaping, covering, laying irrigation, planting and watering. And because I'm small scale all this is usually by hand. It's a lot of work, but if all goes well, I will reap this work into June of next year.
There was a moment (ok, several moments) when I wondered what the heck I was doing starting a micro flower farm. Certain family members' commentary certainly didn't help when every phone conversation had some version of, "You've chosen to do something really hard" or "You must be suffering." On good days, I'd shake it off, but on hard one's, I could feel self pity threatening.
But one day, after leaving a hospital building for some labs, I smelled that office smell and I was immediately filled with immense gratitude that I get to work the earth. And not just any earth, but my home. I get to cultivate my place and nurture it back to life and in so doing, I have an end product that I get to share with my community. What a privilege.
Although this season isn't over for me yet, I don't think it's premature to say that it has been a huge success. How do I know? One of the proudest feelings is having my customers come back to me over and over and repeatedly hearing, "Your flowers always seem to last the longest," or "I have never seen flowers like these before," or "I appreciate that we have someone that grows such quality flowers."
The fact that I know your names, your stories, your joys, your sorrows. That I know your favorites and where you put my flowers and who gets them. That you let these blooms celebrate the everyday with you, both the highs and the lows. Wow. Thank you for supporting me on this journey and giving me the strength and motivation to show up each and every day. 2022 had been a good year and I'm so so very excited for 2023!