This time of the year is full of color with flowers in blossom everywhere. When cutting flowers from outside, or better yet the ones you get from the Homer Farmers Market, let me tell you how to make flowers last better in a vase.
First, recut the stems, making sure to cut them at an angle so there is more surface area to soak up the water. Change the water to keep it clean, cool and fresh and place the flowers out of the sun.
Actually, that tidbit of advice comes from Rachel Lord, owner of Alaska Stems cut flower farm. Though she is a member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which sounds quite formal, she is really a down-to-earth working mom who just so happens to be obsessed with flowers.
Rachel and her husband, Ben, have been raising flowers since 2010. Her 70-by-32-foot high tunnel, as well as about 7,000 square feet outside, houses more than 40 varieties of flowers. And that space is rapidly expanding with additional low tunnels and the aid of their John Deere tractor.
The desire to buy local flowers has caught on as fast as the desire to buy local food. Flowers in the store often come from far-off lands, many of which allow rather toxic pesticides. Rachel has always used organic methods to grow her flowers. Not only does this mean that you are getting flowers without the huge carbon footprint, it also means Rachel is not afraid to let her adorable daughter, Sadie, play outside.
Alaska Stems has been featured in a recent book about the importance of getting wedding flowers locally and has supplied weddings in this area. Rachel also keeps a rack of flowers at Save-U-More and delivers flowers weekly to several area businesses and for Twitter Creek Gardens’ weekly CSA boxes. She keeps updates coming in to her AlaskaStems.com website and her Facebook page (or you can call her at 435-7209).
Head on down to the Homer Farmers Market on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. and see what is in bloom this week.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.