WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — For many florists, Mother’s Day is the biggest sales day of the year, but the flowers take a lot of work to grow and keep alive.
During the past two years of the pandemic, people found a new love for locally grown flowers, including from livestock and cut flower operation called Weatherlow Farms in Westport.
“We raise about 350 varieties or so of flowers,” said Phoebe Poole, flower manager.
Poole said flowers only started to blossom just a few weeks ago in April, but the planning started an entire year ago.
“Even before there were all the supply chain issues, for instance, these ranunculus or even the tulips, the kind of the rule of thumb is when we first start harvesting a certain type of flower, we should be ordering that bulb or seed for the following year,” she explained.
When the pandemic was at its peak in the spring of 2020, flowers were in full bloom but events they were supposed to be featured in were canceled.
“We had to really do a complete 180 and design new sales channels, developing sort of bouquet subscriptions, selling bulbs, which we had never done before, some potted stuff,” Owner Ryan Wagner said.
He said the joy customers have found in fresh-cut flowers has remained through the pandemic.
“We’ve been trying to ramp up with our labor team, with our workforce, and have had good success doing it,” he said. “I mean it’s certainly been full of challenges, and I think all small businesses have felt that, but luckily we’ve been able to assemble a pretty good team and we’ve been able to increase our growing area.”
Wagner said what makes their farm unique is also a challenge — their flower business is largely chemical-free.
Poole notes they have had to raise their prices a bit due to the rise in the price of supplies and maintenance of their farm.
Wholesale florists have been planning for weeks with the farm to get what they need in time for Mother’s Day and for the busy wedding season this summer and fall.