Updated: May 3, 2021
When I was a teenager, my brother and I worked on my Uncle Mark's farm. It started out as just helping bale hay in the summers during high school to working through college and helping on the farm any way I could, which was usually the dirty jobs. And I loved it. This where my love of farming, being covered in dirt, working hard outside with my hands, and learning how to care for life, began. Being on the farm just made sense to me, even when I didn't know how to do something, which was pretty much every day, I felt like this was it. I didn't know exactly how to turn those passions into a career because realistically, I couldn't be a farm hand the rest of my life. So, I spent the next several years finding that 'thing' that replicated that farm hand feeling of peace and authenticity.
Almost two years into college, focusing on a nursing degree during the week and working at the farm on weekends, was the first time I realized I was spending a lot of time on something that didn't feel authentic to me. It was one of the hardest things I had to admit to myself and everyone else in my life. I felt like a failure for picking the wrong degree. But after a lot of conversations and encouragement for my family I changed my degree and transferred to Michigan State University to study agribusiness management. This was a good start, it lead me into sales position with an agricultural retailer. This is a common career path when you don't have a family farm to help run, that's how you stay in the world of agriculture by become a sales rep and working with farmers, which is fun and I learned a lot but again it just didn't fit.
The feeling of being out of place became more and more difficult to ignore as the years moved forward. I tried different positions within the industry; product development, research, agronomy, technology, I even thought about grad school. None of these felt just right, just for me. But amidst all the different jobs I started to realize maybe I could be a farmer. That's what I actually enjoyed about agriculture, the actual part where you grow things and work with the land. That felt really right. I could be a farmer. I just had to figure out how I could do it with no land, no money, no equipment, no real experience, no nothing. Easy as pie...
*Cue 80s montage music as I piece together how to become a specialty crop grower*
If I could figure out how to grow a specialty crop, that I didn't need much land or resources to get started, I could farm. After researching how to grow goji berries, ginseng, garlic, micro greens, mushrooms, herbs, and of course pot, among other plants, on a micro level I was frazzled and no where closer to figuring out my farm plan. Until I stumbled across a little ole website called Floret, I don't even remember how I came across Erin's flower utopia but as I sifted through the site I felt that peace and excitement that only happens in moments of true authenticity. A flower farm, that's it!
It was painfully obvious that I should be a flower farmer after this realization. When I bought my house, the first renovations I made where planting tulips and daffodils around the yard after pulling up the over grown shrubs that were taking over the front yard, followed by planting hundreds of dollars of flowering shrubs around my home. I buy flowers for myself regularly. Every place I've traveled to I snap pictures of flowers. I actually stop and smell roses any time I see them. I love flowers.
Gratefully, I purchased a few dozen tulips and narcissus from Floret and subscribed to their email list and started dreaming about my future flower farm. At the time this dream was years away from happening in my mind. But life happened and within the next six months, I left my job, signed up for Florets online flower workshop, got a small farm loan, and started growing my first sweet little baby flower seeds spring of 2018. It was an exciting and terrifying time, but that's how growth happens, right?
Today we are heading into our fourth growing season and opening a second location. There are still days and decisions that trigger the feelings of excitement and terror that some how brings me peace because I know I am exactly where I'm meant to be.