It was wonderful to finally get together in person in Framingham, and the Southeast Region was well represented! We were able to snap a pic of the Southeast members who participated in the Flower Feud Monday evening. Can you spot a flower farmer friend or two? Thanks to everyone who brought flowers for this event and to all who participated. Flower farmers know how to have fun with flowers, I do believe! I somehow ended up as committee chair for Framingham and a very special thanks to the best committee ever! Honestly—BEST committee ever!


The Southeast was also represented well this summer on the ASCFG Farm Tour trail. Seven of us from our local community were able to attend the August Farm Tour at Bloom WNC, Abigail Moffitt’s farm in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and so much valuable information was shared. The flower fields were full to overflowing and so were the conversations. Farm tours are such a good way for growers to make a stronger connection with other growers and many of the attendees were from the Southeast! We even had music and a catered meal which allowed time for more questions to be asked and answered. We were planning to attend the October tour at River Twist Homestead, but we ended up on vacation.

Celebrate Your Workers

I have so enjoyed being Regional Director this past year, and while I’m leaving the Board I look forward to stepping back and enjoying my membership in a little less structured way. I thought for my last article I’d suggest a few ways to celebrate our farm workers. We have fun with celebrating our “Farm Kids” and hopefully you might catch and idea or two that will be helpful. We call this celebration First Frost Frolic.

First Frost Frolic

After the first killing frost things slow down a bit, or at least change direction. Often our seasonal workers are finishing up on the farm or heading back to school, so we decided this was a good time to celebrate their time with us. The three elements we try to include in each gathering are flower-related hands-on activity, individual recognition, and food. We choose a theme and then have fun with it.

The first year we frolicked, we had a pumpkin-carving contest, a hayride, and roasted hot dogs over an open fire. Nothing fancy for sure, and very little cost, but lots of time to spend together when work was not involved. I always try to give handwritten notes of appreciation and a personalized and sometimes funny small gift (the year Kristin and I stumbled into a swarm of ticks I gave her a very practical tick remover!)

Another year it was pretty late in the season when we gathered and we just made wreaths around a campfire with whatever we could find. We allow them to bring a friend as our numbers are small. We also invite farm kids who have moved on to other jobs but are still in the area to join us (well, if we really liked them).

Another year we made advent calendars using dried flowers and materials we gathered from the woods. This one took the most preparation on my part but it came at a time of year when a few extra hours were easier to manage. We mounted these on barn wood from a barn that had fallen that year, which made it a bit more meaningful.

Maybe the favorite was our “what to do with dead stuff” gathering. Everyone was instructed to dress in black and look as near death as possible. When we got together we wandered the perennial and woody beds and made spookays from all the dead stuff. One of our photographers even used a snake skin as ribbon!

We always include food and time to just relax together. We have included flower quizzes, e.g. “List three dinnerplate dahlias by name.” as well as polls where they select “biggest pain to cut, easiest to strip, feature flower of the year, support flower of the year, and favorite event.” These bring some interesting discussions and we usually learn that our workers are more interested in growing flowers than they might let on from day to day. We also include discussions about what contributes to a good day on the farm and what contributes to a day when they’re ready to head out. We ask for specific examples and that gets fun—like the day Katie had to cut her way out of the bucket shed through the small screened window because the door locked behind her and no one was around to help.

We try to take pics of our Farm Kids and this is a good time to frame a small pic of them working and pass it along.

We all know flower farming is hard work and many of us couldn’t farm without hiring seasonal or full-time workers. Even if they’re not the quickest, most efficient, most punctual, or happiest, if you’ve kept them on as staff, they’re contributing something. Take time to celebrate their contributions, analyze their efforts, and work to make next year better for them and for you. And next year will be here before you know it! Farm on, Friends!