The Farm at Oxford

a specialty cut flower farm - chester county PA

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Guest Blog Showcase: Locally Grown in Chester County

We were lucky enough to be asked to do a guest blog post over on Floral Designs By Jessi's site on the frolicking fun we flower farmers have. I love event designers like Jessi who call me first when planning their flower supply for an upcoming event, and was more than happy to write something up.

We farmers can grow as many flowers as the fields can hold, but these creative teams that we work with are the ones that really make them sing once they put them into arrangements or twine them around rustic beams for a special event or wedding.

We're so lucky to be supported in the local community by those who value our freshly grown flowers. Check out the blog post and let us know what you think!  And of course, whenever possible, try to shop local or American grown flowers! Put your dollars back to work in your own communities vs overseas. 

By Chance or By Change?

On a recent cold and snowy day this past winter, I saw a quote by Robin Sharma that really resonated with me. 'Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life'. 

This struck me because it's talking about change, something that many people are hesitant to embrace. It's unsettling and the outcome is unknown. In the few years since moving to Pennsylvania from California, we've had a lot of change. We changed states & jobs. We changed houses, towns, cars, schools. I tend to view change as something exciting, because why not assume that the outcome will be something even better than what you experienced before? 

Now, I'm experiencing further change, in the form of adventure. This would be our burgeoning flower farm, yup this very flower farm whose blog you are reading right now. Last year, we had an unexpected house purchase, when our realtor found a 12acre farmette complete with 1838 brick federal, which was exactly what we had been looking for all along & not even knowing it.

On these sloping acres, which have been farmed for many years with corn,  I realized that this change could bring a fantastic new opportunity. I'd long been a frustrated gardener in California, stuck on a tiny 6500sq ft plot with big dreams & ongoing drought conditions that meant come July, everything looked unhappy, dry, and gray. 

When we first walked the land on the farmstead, the overgrown meadows and lands seemed to ache for something new. My husband looked at me and said 'If we buy this place, you have to use the land'. Given my love of flowering, combined with the local slow flower movement starting to pick up pace, I am more than happy to oblige our home (and my better half of 10+ years) with an overabundance of flowers--which I am very excited to share with local lovers.

Thus, 2015 will bring further  challenges and the resulting learnings. It's only March, and yet there is already knowledge to be had. I ordered way too many seeds, and then started them indoors, trialing various lights, trays, and positions to find something that works. I discovered that a sunroom does indeed make a fair greenhouse when given a bit of heat. I discovered just how much said heat costs. A future challenge for this year: attempting to build a hoophouse or two for true season extension, thankfully there are some fantastic tutorials out there for us building-impaired dreamers.

I'm making new flower-loving friends, and connecting with future partners and clients. The desire for locally grown cut flowers is shockingly immense. I am selling my husband on letting us get either chickens, guinea hens, ducks OR all of the above (I'll let you know how that one works out!). Growing bulbs like tuberose and lily in soil-filled crates will be foreign yet interesting--a potential way to get out of lifting tender bulbs at fall's end. I gleefully ordered WAY too many dahlia tubers again this year, and I will just barely mention that impulsive order of antique heirloom mums (oh the colors!). 

At the forefront of it all is my excitement. We contemplated our big life change in going cross country for many years before we finally took the leap and made it reality. I finally feel like I am in the right place, at the right time, to make the right thing happen. I can't wait to start working the land and feeding it to create the beauty that will be my locally grown flowers. It's funny how you often end up where you ought to be, but sometimes the journey is a bit of a roundabout path. 

So, to absolutely anyone considering a life change, or thinking about starting a new adventure, I highly encourage it. If we had never taken our big risk and moved cross country, we would not be farm owners today, I would not be gearing up for something so exciting as this small flower farm, something that I never knew I could dream to have. Be sure to consider the risk, but be open to the barest hint of opportunity. You never know where that first step might take you.  

'Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change'-Jim Rohn.

The Farm at Oxford is a proudly featured grower on Field to Vase, a premiere advocate for the growing local flower movement and a member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.