When four Victoria friends found their yards overflowing with dahlias last summer, they had a bright idea: why not start an urban flower farm?
A year later, City Fields Flower Farm is in full swing and is launching a flower subscription service for the months of July, August and September.
Here’s how it works: sign up for a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet for the 13-week growing season and pick up your freshly cut dahlias at one of three local pickup locations on Thursdays (Cornerstone Café in Fernwood, Discovery Coffee’s Discovery Street location and a flower plot in Vic West.)
“It’s based off the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, where people sign up in advance for a set amount of time, which allows the farmers the startup capital to set up in the spring and plan for the demand,” says Carina Foran, one of the flower farmers.
Three sizes of bouquets accommodate different budgets. A medium bouquet of five to seven stems costs $20 — or $140 for bi-weekly service and $260 for weekly service. Bonus: vase service is included, so your dahlias are ready to display when you pick them up.
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The bouquets will showcase more than 30 varieties of dahlias, but also feature flowers like snapdragons, sweet peas, scabiosa and lupins.
Why the focus on dahlias? Well, a) they’re beautiful b) there are tons of unique varieties and c) they last for a long time as cut flowers (typically five to seven days).
The gardeners include a librarian, a PhD graduate, a professional landscaper and a non-profit worker. Flower plots are located in their backyards and even in the backyards of some friendly neighbours.
“We see this also as a community-building initiative,” Foran says. “We support local vegetables so why don’t we also support local flowers?”
The flowers are grown with no sprays or pesticides in compost-fed soil.
“What makes us really unique is that we’re hyper-local so you can get flowers that you can’t get at the florists. Most flowers are flown in from all over the world. We’re able to offer unique varieties that you aren’t able to get at a wholesaler.”
On top of offering flower subscriptions, you’ll also find the folks from City Fields Flower Farm at the FernFest artisan market on June 17 and they’re on the hunt for a local florist to carry their hyper-local bouquets.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift, this one is hard to top.
“It’s like the gift that keeps giving,” Foran says.
Bonus: The first 10 people to subscribe by May 15th will get a large bouquet for the price of a medium. Just use the promo code “SPRINGFLOWERS.”