News from the Farm | March 7, 2022

As we tucked flowers and seeds into the ground in the fall of 2019, we had no inkling of what was in store for us in 2020. We had planned and planted, as many farmers do, with wishful thoughts of selling out at Farmers Markets, growing our flower CSA, and continuing our long relationships with stores and wholesalers in California. I had close to 20 weddings lined up for 2020 that I was preparing for as well, each requiring many consultations with couples, phone calls, vision boards, and countless emails. As all of our flowers began to bloom in March, the first lockdown began. Within a week, all but two of my weddings were canceled for the year. Farmers Markets shut down then reopened with strict protocols around social distancing and rules about customers not handling produce. Stores and restaurants closed and wholesalers were nervous buyers, especially in the case of flowers. As far as they could tell, flowers were an unessential item and the likelihood that customers would buy flowers in the midst of a pandemic seemed low.

 As our first wave of flowers started to bloom in March of 2020, we fully expected that we would see a drastic drop in their sales due to COVID. And for about two weeks it seemed that our fears had been realized. But then, something changed. Market flower sales went up, stores began to buy at a quantity that they hadn’t before, and our CSA flower customers almost doubled. It turns out, flowers are more essential for keeping spirits alive and homes warm during times of uncertainty than many realized. Meanwhile, my job as the wedding and event florist for Full Belly Farm was put on hold as I quickly pivoted to help harvest buckets of snapdragons, bunch ranunculus, and create bouquets for our large orders and supportive CSA members. 2020 turned out to be our best ever in terms of flower sales at Full Belly Farm. We were extremely fortunate and lucky. We were saved and supported by the lifelong community members who showed up and committed themselves to buying our flowers even amongst the uncertainty of a pandemic.

 2021 was hard in general. With drought, disease among crops, and the second year of the pandemic, things felt raw and even more trying than the year prior. But the flowers were planted with optimism and showed up just as they had the year before- and fortunately so did our CSA members. I once again spent the year harvesting flowers with the incredible flower crew at Full Belly Farm, learning how to pick more efficiently, drive tractors, and transplant starts with the same love that is required in farming to keep going year after year. My previous floral design job at Full Belly Farm was about creating bouquets of flowers for someone’s most important day. And while that job has its perks, I love that for the past two years I have spent my days creating bouquets for someone’s most ordinary day– the days that might need a bit more color and the rich smells of a bouquet to keep spirits up and houses welcoming.

My plea as a farmer and florist for 2022 and the coming years? Don’t forget to smell the roses- or rather, the organic ranunculus or whatever is thriving at that moment – as we begin our journey into whatever comes next. Let’s not forget to adorn our homes with bouquets and support our farmers. We grow some of the most beautiful flowers and we do it because we believe in brightening the days of our customers. We hope you will consider buying a bouquet this year, whether it’s though our CSA or at a Farmers Market or a store near you!

Hannah Muller, Full Belly Farmer Florist