Growing up I knew the farm as a vineyard, but a few years ago all the grapes were pulled out and ever since there hasn’t been much interest into farming the land because my Grandparents were just too old. I have always loved agriculture and always pictured myself working in it, but never really as a farmer myself. It wasn’t until being inspired by all the small scale field cut flower farms in Sonoma county (where I was living for the last few years trying to make a career as a vineyard manager), when I began to think of it as a real possibility for the farm in Niagara. So I read about every flower farming book I could get my hands on, spent many evenings researching roses and cut flowers and eventually came up with a business plan.
Fast forward to September 2016 and there I was, at the farm, tilling rows and laying down compost, ordering fall planted bulbs and dreaming up what I envisioned the farm to be. I feel really lucky and extremely fortunate to have such awesome grandparents who are putting all their trust in me to re-work the farm into my dream. And so far lots of work and love have gone into the farming the land. We have planted many bare root roses (which I am most excited about), planted many hundreds of bulbs, some peonies and other perennials and I am also trying my hand at overwintering some hardy annuals. This winter I have been hard at work ordering more roses and clematis (I think roses and clematis are the perfect match!) along with many seed packs and other farm materials. I want the farm to be as sustainable as possible so coming up with an integrated pest management plan was also really important to me. In addition to all this, I have about a thousand spreadsheets going right now and I am just trying to be as organized as possible before the spring.
Roses really are my passion and I am beyond excited that I will have the opportunity to grow and share such amazing beauty with people. Many of the roses I will be growing are english garden roses that are not widely available on the wholesale market and are very hard to source locally. The rose industry in Canada is on the decline and there are very few Canadian rose growers left due to the low prices of imports. I hope that my little farm, along with the growing number of cut flower farms in the country, can slowly change the way the Canadian flower system is, just how many food growers are slowly changing the Canadian food system, as more people are buying locally sourced food and supporting Canadian farmers.
Like many farmers, I am now just waiting for spring to come and anxiously hoping that my first year as a full time farmer goes well. I know it will be full of long days, surprises and I am sure a few lessons along the way but with the support of everyone beside me, I hope most of all it will be a success.