This is what I hope to be the first post in a series called the Flower Farmer Five. The more and more I read about American farmers who are working the land, growing flowers and foliage as a means for profit, I am blown away. It’s one thing to care for your home garden but it’s a whole other beast to carefully plan, grow, cultivate, harvest, and sell mass quantities of flowers throughout the year and make your living doing so.
There are plenty of farms in Michigan and I want to support them by using this blog to help tell their stories and raise awareness of buying American grown flowers, fruits, vegetables, and more.
In this series, we’ll ask flower farmers only five questions and provide information on these wonderful farms. The first one we’re highlighting is Seeley Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, owned and operated by Mark Nowak and Alex Cacciari.
Seeley Farm is a 30-acre farm, located just 5 miles north of downtown Ann Arbor and has been certified organic since 2013. Mark and Alex started the farm with the goal of growing high quality salad greens but their business has grown to include a variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
T & V: How long have you been in the flower farm business?
Seeley Farm: We’ve been growing and selling flowers for 4 years.
T & V: Is Seeley Farm open to the public (for local sales, event space, etc.)?
Seeley Farm: We are not open to the public, however anyone planning to place an order for either bulk stems or arrangements is welcome to schedule a farm visit or consultation.
T & V: What are you/will you be working on over the next month?
Seeley Farm: We are getting into seeds starting season now, starting with my very earliest crops of snaps and stock for the hoophouse. I also sow artichokes this time of year, mostly for the edible buds, but every year we let a few go to flower for their gorgeous purple thistle-like blossoms. I grow almost all my flowers from seed, including perennials, with the exception of the bulbs and tubers like dahlias, ranunculus and daffodils. I do that because when starting from seed I have the most freedom in selecting the exact varieties and colors I like. It’s also because my flowers are all certified organic, and that limits me to where I can source planting stock from, so it’s easier to just propagate my own.
T & V: For home gardeners, what flower would you recommend the most for growing and why?
Seeley Farm: I think the varieties that produce over a long cutting season are best, since you are not likely to be doing much succession plantings like farmers do. Cosmos are one that fit the category, providing loads of repeat blooms all summer. I especially like the unique ones like psyche white which is good for weddings and the double click series. Last year I loved Italian white sunflower. It’s a unique, heirloom sunflower that’s smaller with wiry stems, very wild looking. It’s a lemon yellow to cream petal with either a green or brown disc. This variety produced loads of useful stems over a long period. And of course Dahlias are the gift that keeps on giving if you dig and divide them every year.
Seeley Farm: We are certified organic, which is not common for flower growers around here. Most customers don’t prioritize buying organic when it comes to flowers since they are not going to eat them. But it’s important to remember that choosing organic benefits more than just your personal health, it benefits the health of our ecosystem as well. Everything we grow on our farm, from vegetables to fruit and flowers, is certified organic. We are 100% invested in protecting our natural resources by choosing to use no synthetic chemicals on our plants and in our soil.
You can support Seeley Farm by purchasing their products when you see them at these regional stores, visiting them at the farmer’s markets they have listed here, spreading the word about their organic offerings so that others can support them, and liking their Facebook page.