Photo by Kailee DiMeglio Photography
While the overwhelming majority of flowers purchased in the U.S. are from overseas, the last decade has seen a rise in the local farm-to-floral movement. These flower farmers and farmer florists have been changing the game when it comes to wedding design. Their blooms are locally grown on farms as small as a half-acre and large as many as dozens of acres. They are all about sustainable practices. They raise flowers for smell and beauty — not for shipping. Let’s take a look at five florists leading the farm to floral movement.
THE GROWING FARM-TO-FLORAL MOVEMENT
The farm-to-floral movement is all about farmer florists sourcing their blooms from their own farm as well as other local sources — as an alternative to international sourcing. The idea is to grow with the seasons and let local beauty adorn a couple’s wedding or special event. This movement is also focused on responsible and sustainable growing practices as possible.
One of the primary benefits is getting to know where your flowers are from and how they are grown, but in addition to that, buyers get to support the local economy and add to the preservation of local green spaces. The most enticing perk is that couples get to enjoy unique local cuts that they may otherwise not know about — and buying from local growers means more attractive, long-lasting, and lovely smelling flowers!
From urban green spaces to sprawling countryside acres, farmer florists are using their skill sets to bring beauty today — and invest in local beauty for the future by preserving those green spaces and making sustainable farming practices a part of their process.
Organizations like the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) and the Farmer Florist Collective focus on building collaborative networks for flower farmers to not only learn their craft better but to get their beautiful blooms into local communities.
Collaboration is the key to our industry’s continued success and this farm-to-floral movement is a great example of what can happen when wedding pros help each other blossom! According to the ASCFG, since 2015 their membership has grown 154%.
FIVE FLORISTS LEADING THE FARM-TO-FLORAL MOVEMENT
While there are many talented farmer florists out there, we wanted to showcase just a few of these passionate artists beautifying weddings in their local area with unique blooms, from larkspur and antique hydrangeas to seed heads and ranunculus — all in the height of their best season.
(We don’t want you to miss out on following these farmer florists on Instagram, so we’ve included their handles. Their accounts are chock full of stunning inspiration.)
Photo by Kailee DiMeglio Photography
Owner: Jennie Love
Located in: Philadelphia, PA
Since she was a young girl on her family’s fifth-generation family farm in central Pennsylvania, Jennie Love has been drawn to nature — and watching flowers unfurl in their seasonal cycles. Love n’ Fresh Flowers was born in Philadelphia as a five-acre urban flower farming project and since then it’s grown into a successful business, but also a leader in the farm-to-floral movement. Not only does Love n’ Fresh Flowers create floral designs, but they are also a teaching farm that helps train other would-be farmer florists. Love calls it, “ a gift to be able to walk the fields, cut what is at the peak of perfection, and take it into the design studio to create a piece of living art. Somehow that never gets old for me, even after thousands of bouquets.”
When she and her team are not making stunning wedding designs, they are hosting workshops, master classes, and speaking at events helping other farmer florists.
Photo Courtesy of Flourish Flower Farm
Owners: Nikki and William Irving
Located in: Asheville, NC
Mountain-fresh flowers grown with love — that’s what owners Nikki and William Irving call the fruits of their labor. They focus on growing specialty and heirloom varieties of flowers which result in high-quality, organic, fragrant blooms. Becoming a farmer florist was a long-held dream for Nikki — she has growing and nurturing living things in her heritage. She’s the daughter of a tree farmer and landscape designer. Together with her husband, they care for a 9-acre farm that they have worked to transition from old tobacco country. Complete with lush pastures, sloping hillsides, a creek, and stunning mountain views, Nikki calls her farm a genuine dream come true.
She believes that flowers truly make the world a more beautiful and enjoyable place — and is inspired by how a bouquet can light up a person’s face. In fact, she says she loves creating seasonally-inspired arrangements from her farm-fresh flowers for weddings.
Nikki says that they take pride in growing unique and beautiful flowers to create exquisite designs for couples.
“Our intimate relationship with flowers allows us to create color palettes with depth and dimension, blending tones inspired by nature and each season. Because we have lush flower fields at our fingertips, we are able to handpick the most perfect bloom for the bride’s bouquet, adding the extra special element to truly set the design apart.
Photo Courtesy of Pepperharrow Farm
Owners: Adam and Jennifer O’Neal
Located in: Madison County, IA
Pepperharrow Farm is a 20-acre boutique flower farm located amongst the romantic covered bridges of Madison County, Iowa. Owners Adam and Jennifer O’Neal not only create beautiful local floral designs for weddings, but Pepperharrow Farm also serves as a charming wedding venue. Adam has a lifetime of experience in the garden — a master gardener for many years, he has helped restore historic gardens throughout middle Tennessee. Jennifer spent her childhood in her grandparent’s farm where she learned at her grandmother’s side how to care for flowers — and inherited her love for them as well.
Lark and Harrow is the wedding flower design arm of the farm and they specialize in adding a garden-style, boutique touch that brings a seasonal romance to a wedding day. From flowers to festivities, a couple can enjoy the beauty of Pepperharrow’s stunning surroundings all day long. Couples can choose from barn to field seating for up to 300 people — and all the amenities to make the day a success!
When they aren’t creating a romantic atmosphere for weddings, they are hosting workshops for flower enthusiasts and growers alike whether they want to learn how to design an arrangement or grow lavender for commercial sales.
Photo by J. Harper Photography
Owners: Vanessa Tarr (daughter) and Reggie Tarr (father)
Located in: Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Vanessa Tarr was raised running through the gardens alongside her dad Reggie who started out originally as a vegetable grower and developed his own self-taught approach to flower growing. For over 30 years Reggie ran a prestigious landscape design company in New England. It was after retiring that he gave his full attention to Tarrnation Farm, expanding the flower gardens. Like her father, Vanessa has spent many years studying her craft. She has worked on farms everywhere from Spain and Panama to Maine and Washington. After a decade of working in the floral design industry, she came back to work with her father — and make her dream a reality on their family farm. Together, this dynamic duo grows and designs lush, garden-fresh blooms that are whimsical, dreamy, and romantic.
From plush peonies to daring dahlias, Tarrnation’s wedding designs don’t just stop at flowers, they also incorporate locally foraged, natural elements. Tarrnation specializes in growing flowers from seed which allows them to offer uncommon selection and unique blooms that brighten many local wedding celebrations!
Photo Courtesy of The Flower Hat
Owner: Julio Frietas
Located in: Bozeman, MT
Julio is the owner and creative genius behind The Flower Hat, a flower design studio on a little less than one acre in Bozeman, Montana. Before becoming a designer, he worked in the hospitality industry as a hotel manager. He was entrusted with the seasonal arrangements for the hotel’s entry and that quickly grew into full-scale floral displays for other businesses, weddings, and more until his calendar was full. It was this very journey that has driven him to create helpful roadmap courses and workshops for other farmer florists and floral designers that are wanting to get into the business.
His style is loose, natural, and intentional. He works with lush blooms as well as architecturally interesting local flora and loves to play with colors as well as textural elements. Known for his signature floral-pattern hats and uniquely beautiful floral designs for weddings and special events, Julio is the quintessential farmer florist. He is often designing live on Instagram — for entertainment and education and he is passionate about helping other farmer florists. When COVID-19 cut the spring season a bit short for many farmer florists, he started a project called Flower Fix and Chill to get the word out about other farmer’s flowers. He would purchase flowers from the farmers and create arrangements on Instagram live — and highlight where local customers could find that particular grower or designer.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE FARM-TO-FLORAL MOVEMENT
We’re loving all these beautiful blooms — and the collaborative group that brings them to life while bringing joy to wedding day celebrations in their local communities!
For more information on these local farmer florists and to find some in your area, visit the following websites —
Ready to meet a few more wedding pros doing amazing work? Check out three Texas wedding cake bakers making incredible — and edible — artwork!
Written by Corrie McGee