Friday, August 12, 2011

Flower Updates

Every week Molly Culver, our wonderful flower farmer sends out a newsletter about the flowers and an update on the farm. I wanted to share it with everyone this week because its so beutaful! Molly is away on vacation this week, and yet the farm must go on!

This week, I have handed over flower farm management duties to my four fabulous flower apprentices, Ethan Gallagher, Chelsea Newson, Whitney Richardson and Cari Machet. I am so thankful for their enthusiasm and dedication to the Youth Farm this season.

Their willingness to manage all aspects of the flower farm this week is commendable. Three of these apprentices have come to the Youth Farm with beginner’s farming knowledge, and all four come with beginner’s knowledge about cut flowers. In a short amount of time they have gained skill and confidence in various aspects of farming, from irrigation, to bed preparation, to weeding and transplanting. I feel very confident in their abilities to manage the farm and create beautiful bouquets for you this week.

A little background on what they’ve been up to: on Tuesdays, Ethan, Whitney, Cari and I focus on field work – watering, weeding, digging new beds, applying compost, planting, seed sowing, trellising, and pest management. On Wednesdays, Chelsea and I plan out and harvest flowers for market and CSA bouquets. Chelsea has gotten to work at our market stand, and we both help with market take-down. On Thursdays, Whitney, Cari, Chelsea and I harvest flowers for two restaurants and the new Brooklyn Farmacy flower stand in Carroll Gardens.

Each flower apprentice brings individual and important strengths -- Ethan loves digging new beds, and lucky for that, because it is a routine part of Tuesdays. We wouldn't have a flower farm without his hard work! Chelsea brings a clear love for the beauty and variety of flowers and a knack and instinct for what works in a bouquet. Whitney maintains peaceful, cheerful, and diligent work ethic, which helps keep us grounded on days when there's much to get done. Cari brings gardening know-how, a very positive vibe and a great sense of humor. Together we make a great team. I am so thankful to work with such hard-working, passionate people!

You are welcome to volunteer with us on Wednesdays, 3:00-6:30pm and the first and third Saturdays of every month, 10-4.
We also take corporate groups on volunteer days -- spread the word! Also, be on the look-out for a cut flower arranging workshop with me in September!

Your Share:
Your share this week is one of the most sensational yet- full of shapes, colors and textures that command attention. Making its second coming in this share is the Celosia "Pampas Plume" with its luxe velvet skins and winding dips and turns all about. It's a most unusual cut flower to pair when considering color theory on top of sculpting the ideal bouquet shape. Euphorbia "Mountain Snow" with its very aesthetic white sap cooled down fiery Celosia while the Lime Zinnias "Binary's Giant" relaxed the whole affair. We included the lovely, delicate Sunflowers "Pro Cut Lemon" to sweeten the deal. We hope you find the troupe as inspiring of creativity and good thoughts as we do.

Farm Update from Whitney Richardson:
Like Molly, I've been reading Amy Stewart's "Flower Confidential" on the evolution and history of the fresh cut flower industry. This book has been the ideal supplement to the hands-on work of farm life. It provides that hidden, luscious backstory that keeps my curiosity bubbling and coming back thirsty for more flower farming. As an apprentice on the farm, I work the side of the ship that births and coddles those flowers into existence (the adolescent dependency of a flower's life), but I do not experience the market side of the deal (the independent, full grown flower's life). One of my favorite things on the farm happens on Thursdays- getting the car packed and ready to go into the great beyond of market life. It's like sending your kid off to college, I imagine, to see the stems nestled in their little ice cream buckets filled with water ready to be sold to our network of highly supportive restaurants, many thanks to Brucie and 61 Local, and the weekend Brooklyn Farmacy flower market. These flowers are completely unaware of the role they play in the lives of the growers, onlookers and end-receivers, and unaware of the fact that they are some crazy fuel that spins the monster truck wheels of global trade. Amy Stewart says, "Where have our desires led us?" My reply: through the land with the most petals, which has led me to flower farming.