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Wow, this year’s growing season seems to be moving at warp speed; we are more than half way through it!  I just can’t believe how fast it’s going! As with most things I always blame the weather. It has been an incredibly long, cool spring with unusually low temperatures and plenty of rain. The temperature is just starting to spike here (mid June). We are still cutting on crops that normally would have melted down by now (delphinium, poppies, campanula,) even the last of our six crops of stock just finished this week. All in all it is has been a great season, with sales off the charts across the board for farmers’ markets and florists, and this week our flower CSA kicks off with lots of excitement!

We really believe our increased sales are a direct result of a field day we hosted this spring for our customers and neighbors. Our flowers are produced in the heart of St. Louis, and this always seems to amaze our customers who often ask for visits, so we opened the farm one Sunday afternoon and invited everyone! We printed a flyer with our schedule of events for the day, worked with the mosque on the corner to use their parking lot, and ordered a portable toilet. The week before the open house was spent cleaning and weeding the farm. We missed Saturday farmers’ market to focus on Sunday’s event.  

Our open house started at noon with a band, and a keg of beer from a local brewery. Friendly children kicked off the dancing. Our laying hens and honeybees were on their best behavior, delighting young and old alike.  Over the course of the afternoon we had approximately 120 visitors. Our comprehensive farm tour started at 2:00, when the bulk of our guests were present. We meandered the farm talking about the history of our property, urban agriculture, sustainable growing practices we use, and of course every flower in the field. Attendees gleaned what hard work, dedication, and passion we have for our work. Anyone who may have questioned our “high” pricing in the past really got it! We hit them over the head with a bat in subliminal messaging of course!   

The farm tour was a huge success and when everyone left we relaxed by sitting on the farm with a beer in hand, enjoying just how clean and beautiful the farm was and dreaming about what more we could do with the property.

Of course a good thing spreads, and the other outcomes of our tour were that a garden writer who attended wrote an article in for a local online weekly paper. A television news reporter read the story and came to the farm and did a story for the local Fox news. This was all free marketing.

Now our customers are a part of our team in wanting success for our farm and the beautiful flowers. When I go out on deliveries, I find that the relationships with the florists who attended our tour are much closer than the ones who did not. For us closer relationships have translated in increased pre-orders, increased sales and overall better communication.

I used to think that our customers had a vision of who we are and what our farm looked like, and having them on the farm could potentially be negative. (Better to leave it to their imagination). How wrong was that idea! When we opened up so did our sales!
 

If you are considering a farm tour but are nervous like I was, go for it! If you haven’t considered it, give some thought to hosting one, matter how small. People REALLY do want to know their farmer.

The fourth Grower Intensive of 2015 will be held in Madison, Wisconsin, October 4th-5th. Now is the time to plan on coming to this event. Roy Klehm of Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery, and the fabulous team of Joe Schmitt, Carol Larson, Jeanie McKewan, and Emily Watson have planned an amazing two days. Hope to see you!

Mimo Davis Duschack

Urban Buds City Grown Flowers

Mimo Davis Duschack Urban Buds City Grown Flowers Contact at [email protected]