farmer florists with jennie love.

Love ‘n Fresh Flowers is a petite, organically-managed, urban flower farm and design studio located in historical Philadelphia. Dedicated to working with locally grown materials to create signature textural floral art, Love ‘n Fresh focuses on weddings and other special events. Today, Jennie Love, the driving force behind this unique flower enterprise, talks about her job title.

henryhudson.com.au

Farmer Florist [fahr-mer flawr-ist]
noun

One who equally focuses on the growing of cutting materials and the use of those same materials in floral designs.

For example:
1) The farmer florist spent the morning harvesting snapdragons, feverfew, mint and monarda.
2) The farmer florist met with a client to discuss what seeds she would order and grow for their wedding flowers the next summer.
3) The farmer florist had dirt under her nails and a pretty frock on as she made her deliveries.
4) The farmer florist knows how to change the belt on the mower deck as well as how to wire a delicate garden rose to use in a floral crown.
5) The farmer florist can identify the plant that bears each beautiful bloom in her bouquets.
6) The farmer florist cringes when working with flowers from a wholesale house. They just aren’t the same; there’s no connection.
7) The farmer florist couldn’t throw the wedding centerpieces in the dumpster at 1 AM because the flowers were her babies.
8) The farmer florist is not a delicate flower or a tortured artist. There’s too much field work to be done.
9) The farmer florist has a farmer’s tan.
10) The farmer florist learns to embrace the ephemeral or else loses too much sleep and a little sanity.
11) The farmer florist has no design spreadsheets because it is impossible to predict what exactly will be in bloom, in what quantities, and exactly how much it “costs”. Sweat equity doesn’t lend itself easily to cut-and-dry dollar signs.
12) The farmer florist eats lunch while driving the tractor.
13) The farmer florist makes no promises and is ever grateful for clients’ trust in her ability to grow beautiful flowers and use them in the best possible way.
14) The farmer florist falls asleep in her chair while trying to work on wedding proposals and guest blog posts after 12 hours of hot work in the field that day.
15) The farmer florist doesn’t take the winter off. There are proposals, consultations, marketing, crop planning and seed ordering to do.
16) The farmer florist slowly learned how to let go of control and work with Mother Nature and the seasons.

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I grew up on a large rural farm and never dreamed the type of intensive small-scale flower farming (in the city) I’m doing today would be a real possibility. It’s the best of both worlds for me, and I am routinely struck with a deep sense of gratitude at having this job title of “farmer florist”. I get to connect with the beauty of the flowers – my flowers – in a way most people never do. And I get to wear many different hats, which is great for my multitask-loving brain that hates routine.

While I’m among a small handful of hardcore farmer florists right now, I firmly believe this is the way the floral industry is turning. The challenges and rewards are great and the combination of tasks in a given day incredibly diverse and interesting. One challenge is educating customers on what seasonality really means and the complexity of growing flowers on a local specialized scale. I’m working with another awesome farmer florist, Erin at Floret, on a special blog, The Seasonal Bouquet Project to showcase how locally-grown flowers change through the seasons. Check it out! We’ll also be hosting a two-day workshop this autumn in Philadelphia for anyone interested in becoming a farmer florist too. Details will be announced shortly.

henryhudson.com.au

P.S. — I did not coin the term “farmer florist” nor is the above an official dictionary definition. Erin Benzakein was the first person I knew who used the term several years ago and it stuck with me.

Jennie x

 
Credits: Love ‘n Fresh Flowers.

3 Comments

  1. Lindsey August 12, 2013

    Yes! Yes! Yes!
    So glad that you are showcasing my heroes here in Australia, HH.
    Jenny and Erin are the inspiration behind my burgeoning wee flower farm here in Victoria. What they are able to produce, quality and quantity, blows my mind. This little florist turned farmer has a lot to learn but with idols like Jenny, motivation will not fail me :-) L x

  2. Nikki August 25, 2013

    Love this!! Especially the flower farmer definitions :)

  3. David November 12, 2013

    So many people think that florists only work on Valentine’s Day and Christmas etc. This will show them. Thank you.

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  • Henry Hudson is a place where floral folk can head for inspiration, to find out about innovations in floral world, and connect with new friends all over the globe to exchange floral ideas and stories. We love flowers so much, we thought there must be others out there who love them just as much (and want to talk about them lots!)

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