You don’t need a green thumb or even a nearby farmers market to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of fresh-cut flowers every day. Buy a share in a floral CSA, and get a just-picked bouquet from a local grower weekly or bi-weekly throughout the growing season.
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture, a business model in which consumers invest in local farms in exchange for a share of what they grow. Minnesotans have been consuming CSA veggies for years. Now a handful of local growers are offering shares of their blooms and ornamental plants.
“People sign up in winter and early spring,” says Molly Gaeckle, owner of Northerly Flora, who grows flowers on two lots in the Longfellow and Seward neighborhoods of Minneapolis. “It helps me buy seeds, compost and irrigation.” In return for their $190-plus tax investment, her customers receive 10 weekly bouquets of the 75 different flowers, foliage and grasses she grows throughout summer and fall. “Some are bright and fun colors, some are more autumnal,” she says.
Some growers focus on particular flowers. “We specialize in different varieties of peonies,” says Rachael Ackerman, owner of Blue Sky Flower Farm in Elko New Market, who sold out last year’s CSA shares just after Mother’s Day. As the season progresses, she adds other elements to her bouquets, such as lavender in summer or sunflowers in the fall, along with bittersweet, dogwood and willow.
Area growers who offer CSAs:
Blue Sky Flower Farm, Elko New Market
Northerly Flora, Minneapolis
Dancing the Land, Clearwater
Late Bloom Farm, Northfield
Flower Child Farm, Andover