This past Thursday CFAC hosted its second Virtual Farmer Field Day of the season with Bess Brownlee of Southbound Flowers in Florence Montana! Southbound Flowers is a small scale flower farm and is in its second season of production. While this field day might have looked a little different from past field days, participants still had that “on-farm” experience from videos recorded on the farm! Videos included shots of various areas of the farm with Bess Brownlee discussing everything from the actual creation of her farm to the recently built freezer to maximize her cut flowers life spans. After each video from the farm, participants were able to engage with Bess and other attendees through questions and discussion over zoom!
Southbound Specializes in cut flowers for weddings, wholesale, and weekly CSA subscriptions. In just her second year of flower farming on a quarter acre of land Bess has been able to create a loyal client base as well as a highly functioning system as a part-time farmer! During her field day Bess happily shared her tips and tricks that she has learned over her first seasons and thanks to some great video participants were able to truly get a feel for what being on a small flower farm is like!
Participants had the opportunity to see how Bess maximizes her quarter-acre as well as how she keeps her flowers cared for while increasing yield. They also got to learn a little bit more about how Bess manages farming with a part-time job. While this is not the model for all farmers, Bess has a thriving flower farm and makes the most out of when she is able to be in the field. This accessible way of creating a farm really resonated with most of the beginning farmers at the field day who are looking to start their own flower operation.
Throughout the field day participants had the opportunity to hear about valuable resources that Bess has used while building her farm and business as well as having a moment to ask important questions about what Bess has learned during this time. Videos showed Bess in the field explaining how she plants different successions of flowers in order to have a sustained crop. She chooses to plant successions of some flowers in crates to know just how many flowers she will get during a specific timeframe. Drip tape lines her beds in order to make sure that her flowers are watered efficiently and make sure her flowers are thriving while working her other job. Viewers saw how she keeps her flowers healthy with compost tea as well as experimentation of which plants need to be in the hoop house and which do better in the field. Bess was even able to talk about expansion when it came to her new freezer and what it means for her business.
There was so much to learn and see during this field day! With the help of technology it truly felt like we were taking a field walk with Bess around her beautiful flower beds. Come experience a Virtual Field Day yourself on July 22nd! Learn more and register here!
If you missed this Field Day and still want to learn about starting a small scale flower farm, check out these links to watch Southbound Flowers Field Day
Part Two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oiq
Part Three: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSO1Cn1G62g&t=1s