“Grandpa, Daddy, Mommy, Grandma…me stuck!” hollered two-year-old granddaughter Olivia into the audio monitor in her upstairs bedroom one evening. When no one ventured up to “un-stuck” her, she fired up her voice, uttering loudly, “ME STUCK”. Finally when I could not help feeling sorry for her, I trudged up the stairs, knowing full well she was not really stuck. She had intentionally lain sideways in her crib with her head against one side and her legs stuck out of the opposite side. After I gingerly assured her that she was not stuck, moved her to the normal crib position, tucked her in with her favorite blanket and told her “nite-nite”, she was fine and went to sleep.
As flower growers, prior to finding and joining the ASCFG, Carolyn and I often felt “Stuck!”. We also would have hollered “ME STUCK”, but we didn’t know whom to holler to so we continued on the best we could. Then, EUREKA! In 2002, we found the ASCFG—or should I say they found us, and invited us to a Midwest Regional Meeting at Mimo Davis’ WildThang Farm in Ashland, Missouri. This became our new security blanket and an ongoing learning experience. Whenever we feel “STUCK”, someone, some conference or meeting helps us turn ourselves around in the proverbial crib.
In 2002, we attended our first ASCFG National Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to attending, we had no idea of what to expect. After the conference we knew that we were in the right place to expand and improve our business. Since then we have gleaned important insight and knowledge that have helped us improve the quality of our product from every conference that we have attended. Plus we have become friends with some fantastic people!
Since our degrees are not in horticulture, marketing, graphic design or business, we relied on others’ expertise. Our daughter, Christie, who has a degree in marketing, greatly helped us in marketing as well as in business aspects. Carolyn will never forget the market day when we came home empty-handed and were very proud of it. Christie said, “Mom, you never want to sell out, then people don’t have any choices.”(Very true, from our observations.) Now I fill the Sprinter as full as possible and Carolyn can proudly tell Christie that our customers had choices, clear to the end of the market….and Carolyn can complain as we load the remaining inventory back into the Sprinter, “Why did we bring so much?”
Our web site had been “stuck” for some time, until finally Carolyn said, “Zap it, we can live without a website.” Then we heard Becky Devlin give her talk at the Long Island conference on Wedding and Event Marketing. One important message from Becky was “Brides are ON LINE today!” . We were impressed with her expertise in web design, so we hired her to design a website for Tschetter’s Flowers.
The research promoted by the ASCFG is outstanding. Information gathered from John Dole at North Carolina State, along with others, has contributed much to our success in growing outstanding cut flowers. The Cut Flower Quarterly overflows with information on all aspects of flower culture from seeds, to planting, to harvest, postharvest and marketing.
The Bulletin Board is another source of education and help we have depended upon. The expertise of other growers is shared willingly with others who may be seeking information or help.
This last January we were in San Francisco for three weeks with now 3-year-old Olivia and her big sister, Sydney. Olivia now sleeps in her big girl bed like her sister and, of course, is so proud! Any night she can freely venture out of her bed to come downstairs for an extra good night kiss, whatever else she can think up. Yes, she has a lot to learn about life but the growing-up experiences allow her more freedom and independence and that proud feeling. We have also been growing up in the cut flower business and like Olivia, enjoy more freedom to venture out into new avenues and yes, to experience that feeling of pride when we are successful. For much of that we must give credit to the ASCFG for helping us to grow and expand. Thank you to all involved with the ASCFG. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for helping and thank you for being there.