inspiration, Musings

Flower Farmers in Sterling, Ct.

I am once again writing about our wonderful flower farms within the town of Sterling, Ct.  We are lucky to have three within our rural town and I thought a colorful blog about what they offer would be enjoyable during the dreary winter days and give us something to look forward to! Most of the photos in each blog are from the flower farm, some are from me. You will see these lovely photos if you follow their social media.

The second blog is about Birch Ledge Farm Co. owned by Kathryn and Brian Torrence

Birch Ledge Farm Co.

The Farmstand…

Birch Ledge Farm Co. farmstand made its debut on the July 4th weekend of 2022.  During their first year in production, they were able to support selling bouquets at a local small farm store, worked with a florist, and filled their farmstand four days a week. In addition to all that they were able to fill numerous special orders and even a wedding!

They plan on having even more flowers available this season since they are utilizing multiple methods of protecting and encouraging early and later blooms including frost protection cloth and a low tunnel. 

Brian says “We are pushing the envelope on flowers we saw did well with cooler temperatures by planting them sooner.  We will be doing even more succession plantings this year to provide even more flowers and have even increased our growing space! With implementing these techniques and more, we are anticipating opening our farmstand 2-3 months earlier and 1-2 months later in order to be open May to October this growing season. “

Sounds exciting to me! More flowers are always a good thing!

Below are photos of their lovely farm and Kathryn and Brian.

This Spring….

Birch Ledge has an incredible lineup for us flower lovers! Most everyone can recognize tulips, shown below. But they also have so much more!

They are planning to have Snapdragons, Ranunculus, Anemones, Bachelor Buttons, Larkspur, Love in a Mist (Nigella), Lupine, Statice, Calendula, Foxglove, Delphinium, Sweet Pease, Asters, Lilac, Columbine, Poppy, Daffodils, Stock, Rudbeckias.

Summer Flowers…

Summer will be just as wonderful with lot of Snapdragons, Gladiolus, Lisianthus, Rudbeckias, Echinacea, Dahlias, Sunflowers, Hydrangeas Strawflower, Zinnias, Celosia, Cosmos, Foxglove, Carnations, Sweet William, Asters, and Hypericum. Below are some bouquets from their farm stand in case like me, you do not know all the varieties.

Fall Flowers

Lastly there are still more surprises and beauty to enjoy in the fall… with Mums, Dahlias, Sunflowers, Snapdragons, Sedums, Zinnias, Rudbeckias, Kale, Hypericum, Kale, Corn, and Pumpkins.

Planting seeds already!

 These flower farmers work very hard during the winter months too! As far as I can see they have all started planting flowers already… so they really do work so very hard!

From Brian:

This winter Kathryn attended a flower farmer school put on by Lisa Mason-Ziegler through the Gardener’s Workshop. Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut flower farmer, author, teacher, and renowned expert on cut flower gardening. Lisa practices, encourages, and teaches sustainable and organic flower growing techniques she has learned throughout her career as a cut flower farmer in a suburban setting utilizing only open field growing practices (no structures for her flowers). 

Kathryn has been inspired by Lisa Mason Ziegler’s approach for years and has been part of the motivation behind this dream.  As such, our future plans include continuing education, expanding our business through different methods of succession plantings, row covers, low tunnels, mulching, cover cropping, “no-till” practices, and increasing the area dedicated to testing new flower varieties, a wildflower field, and fruit trees. 

In 2022, our farm had 2,200 square feet of pure growing space.  During the “off season”, we have already started to add an additional 1,300 square feet of growing space (a total of 3,500 square feet to just grow)!

Plus with all that (and arguably most excitingly) we are planning on adding a large perennial hydrangea grove, peony patch, and even a small Christmas tree lot! These will be large investments that will perennialize, providing natural habitat throughout the year for native wildlife, and the opportunity to extend our production ability even longer into the year.

By investing in our land, the flowers, and the safest, most organic practices we can, we are dedicated to constantly add, diversify, and increase our positive impact on supporting native wildlife, encouraging beneficial insects, and minimizing our carbon footprint while supporting our community. 

We are hoping to further support our community and local businesses who support buying local (#grownnotflown).  Ultimately, our goal is to become a full time family run farm that allows our family the benefit and freedom of growing and building our own happiness through working for ourselves, and providing a happy wholesome life for our son that is focused on a great work ethic, self sustainment, self worth, believing (and seeing) your dream are not out of reach, and mostly – happiness!

We want to develop our property in a way that allows us to beautifully marry landscaped areas with the utilitarian cut flower hills. Our aspirations are to continue to help others see and find happiness in life – what better way than with a small act of kindness, bouquet of flowers for someone who needs it…even if that’s yourself!

The farm is able to support local florists with an abundance of weekly flowers, accommodate special orders, provide flower subscriptions, and fully stock our farmstand.  While we are looking to extend our growing season, we are also looking to increase the number of flower subscriptions we offer and constantly maintain our flower quality. Our future plans continue to evolve and build on one another every day, but we will always stay true to centering every decision on our family.

A note from Marnie…

So there you have it…. The Torrence’s have been doing lots of work expanding their flower farm. All these flower farmers are following a dream like me. To make a living and do what they love.  I also have to add that Kathryn and Brian were very generous last year in donating quite a few bulbs to our garden club.  You will see them when the Andrew Shippee Memorial Garden blooms this spring.

As with all these flower farms, please remember that they work countless hours planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, and creating bouquets.  Your flowers are cultivated with lots of love, sweat, and tears for you.  These flower farmers work yearlong with only a short time off, starting flowers in their homes or greenhouses. Many are already starting flowers from seed right now!

 It is truly a labor of love produced by them for you to enjoy colorful, fragrant bouquets in your home.

It costs nothing to like their page, and share their posts, so please consider doing so to help them. And better yet, purchase some flowers to treat yourself or a loved one! I can tell you that the farmers will be very grateful, and you may be too if you have fresh, colorful flowers in your home. I know I love it!

Info on Birch Ledge Farm Co.

Facebook:birch ledge farm co. – Search Results | Facebook

Instagram:  Birch Ledge Farm Co. (@birchledgefarmco) • Instagram photos and videos

Website:  Birch Ledge Farm Co.