Farm-To-Table Flowers: A Peek Inside Flower Farming in Vermont

 
 

meet liz krieg of maple flower farm

The movement towards farm-to-table flowers has increased the demand for sustainable fresh cuts from local growers like Maple Flower Farm. Owner Liz Krieg’s list of farming qualifications includes landscape business entrepreneur, horticulture educator, garden club lecturer and “go-to” expert for aspiring Vermont flower farmers, to name a few. Liz's eventual return to flower farming fulfilled her dream and, luckily for us, provides local florists with spectacular prized blooms.

Recently, I had a chance to interview Liz and tour her farm. I'm excited to share a glimpse of this small-scale flower farm, along with gardening tips, direct from owner and founder Liz Krieg!

 
 Les Fleurs Sandra meets Maple Flower Farm Liz Krieg
 
 

A first-hand look at sustainable flower farming with Liz Krieg

 
 

At Les Fleurs, we are drawn to unique and impressive hand-selected fresh flowers like these breathtaking dahlias, locally sourced in the heart of Vermont.

 dinnerplate dahlias at Maple Flower Farm with Sandra Les Fleurs Andover
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 Sandra Les Fleurs Andover at Maple Flower Farm dahlias
 Maple Flower Farm flawless dahlia interview with Sandra Les Fleurs Adover

A protective mesh netting keeps pests away for flawless dahlias

 
 
 

Liz Krieg shares her story behind what makes Maple Flower Farm so special

 How did you start your farm?

This farm has been used as a home-based green industry site for 19 years and has naturally evolved into what it is today.


How large is your farm?

Our farm is a 'femto-farm'; as in micro, nano, pico, and femto. We are tiny, but we are intensively farmed, using the methodologies that are organic and conservation oriented. This tiny farm is a manageable size and is packed with abundance.


How long is your growing season?

Because I have greenhouses, my season for growing begins in March and ends in November.

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What types of flowers are you best known for?

Specialty Tulips (French, Parrot, Fringed), Helleborus, Butterfly Snapdragons, Sweet Peas, Lisianthus, Dahlia and recently, English Garden Roses.


What makes your farm unique?

The property itself is magical. It has a 'vibe' that reaches out and makes people love it. We consider ourselves lucky to live here as the current stewards of this place.


Why did you choose to start your farm in Vermont?

Vermont chose me many decades ago. It is a green, lush state with abundant water and deliriously true seasons.

 
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Who are your customers? Do you sell mostly to floral designers or CSA?

My customer bases are floral designers and brick and mortar flower shops.


What are the benefits for floral designers like me to purchase locally vs. commercially grown?

Here on this flower farm, being small is good because our energy can be focused on quality. Every flower is lovingly nurtured. Each stem is personally qualified prior to sale for fresh perfection.


Before you were a flower farmer, what was your profession?

I was a flower farmer that became a college horticulture educator, that became a landscape firm owner, that returned to flower farming. I am a well-known landscape design and cut-flower farming lecturer in New England.

 
 
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What is your advice for anyone who would like to start a flower farm?

Take my Beginner Flower Farmer course. I personally mentor my students forever, or for as long as they need me. At the very least, take somebody else's flower farmer course. It'll go much smoother if you learn the necessary systems for success.


What would be your top gardening tips for gals like me?

#1 - Use your back with good sense; the flesh IS weaker than the mind.

#2 - Wear gloves and maintain the health of your hands and fingernails.

As for gardening - there is no 'quick-start' manual. Read everything from many different resources. Take classes and workshops about your area of interest. If you are researching Roses, for example, go to the online dealers (David Austin, i.e.) and read all of their advice, articles and how-tos; check out specific books on the topic. [You will find that] each resource has a little more to offer than the last!


I was thrilled to tour the farm with Liz and learn from her horticultural expertise. I look forward to seeing what grows next from this amazing little farm!!

 
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To learn more about the craft of growing flowers, see Maple Flower Farm's Beginner Flower Farmer Workshops listed on their website. Classes are taught on the farm in their new workshop venue, hand-built by Liz's husband Cory!

 
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Some benefits to locally-grown flowers:

 
  • Less resources used (transportation, energy, refrigeration, packaging material)
  • Longer shelf life
  • Fresher often means brighter colors, stronger scents and better form
  • No preservatives or chemicals needed