Welcome to all the new ASCFG members—I am so happy you are here! It is summer, and hot as heck here in Arizona. We are waiting for the rains to come, as usual. I am in a bit of the summer brain fog, where I can’t seem to figure out what to write about.
I still feel as if I am coming out of a COVID cocoon. Both physically—feeling more comfortable being around people; and business-wise—wondering how, when, and where the next big change will come. In some ways the many shifts we made in the last year and a half have been positive, like realizing we can change our business in big ways and still stay afloat. I don’t want to go too deep into that right now (I will save that for a future article). For now, I just wanted to share one micro part of our business model, because it’s easy, fun, and interesting: edible flowers.
Because our farm grows both veggies and flowers, we are already connected to wholesale customers like chefs and restaurants. They are probably our best customers for edible flowers, but our retail buyers like them as well. Cake makers and bakers would be good outlets, too. We have shipped some of our edible flowers to New York City and Los Angeles this past year. They can be used as a garnish in cold plates and salad, cakes, and pastries, and they look great in cocktails, even frozen in ice cube trays for drinks.
Many of the flowers we use as edible are varieties we already grow as cuts. As I am sure you know, many flowers are also toxic, so please double check on the safety of anything you plan to sell as an edible flower, and don’t use any chemicals on them. Some of our favorite flowers to use are pansies, bachelor’s buttons, calendula, nasturtium, borage, and all the herbs.
There are plenty of online resources on what to grow for edible flowers, but a great place to start is the Johnny’s Seed catalog. We package some as just the heads in clamshell containers; popping the heads off the flowers a few times can act like pinching or deadheading, encouraging longer, usable stems for future growth. Others we put into mason jar bouquets or full-sized wrapped bouquets. We label them as edible and don’t use any floral preservatives in them.
They have been a fun add-on to our floral business and are a continual conversation piece. Please reach out if you have edible flower questions or if you are in my Region and want to chat.