JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — People from all over New England are flocking to Johnston to see a unique but brief blast of beauty at a family-owned tulip farm.
This is the fourth year Wicked Tulips Flower Farm has opened for business, showing off rows upon rows of colorful tulips for customers to pick.
Customers began arriving at 9 a.m. Monday, which was opening day for the farm. Employees rushed to have the entrances, parking areas and cashier stands ready for what they predict will be the start of a busy season.
“We planted about 600,000 tulips here. This is on about five acres,” Co-owner of Wicked Tulips Kerriann Koeman said. “This is the first time we’ve had so many tulips in bloom on opening day.”
Koeman said currently, 60% of the tulip crops, in a variety of colors and styles, are in bloom.
“Like a hundred plus versions of them,” Koeman explained. “Some of them look like roses. Some of them are multi-colored. Some of them have pointy flowers. Some of them don’t.”
Caren Steinberg from Randolph described the thousands of tulips as vibrant and gorgeous.
“The most beautiful reds and the most bright yellows. Purples that are fabulous,” Steinberg said.
This is the 9th season of cultivating tulip fields for Koeman and her husband, Jeroen. Previously, they grew tulips in Virginia. But Kerriann, a Massachusetts native, wanted to be closer to home.
The farm began when Jeroen, a native of the Netherlands, brought Keriann to Holland to see the tulip fields there. Kerriann was amazed she could pick as many tulips as she wished, and wanted to bring that joy to the United States.
Originally, the couple sold only bulbs but soon after evolved into growing vast fields of tulips.
At Wicked Tulips, customers can pick their own flowers. But unfortunately, the tulip season is short and usually only lasts two weeks.
“It all depends on the weather. If it gets hotter, we’re going to close sooner. If it’s colder, the flowers will last longer, they’re fresher,” Kerriann said.
Keriann estimates that 2,500 people a day tiptoe through their tulip fields, which is about 35,000 tulip pickers in the two-week season.
The price for admission is $15 during the weekdays, $17 on the weekends and those prices include 10 tulips, with any additional stems costing $1 a piece. Kids ages 4 to 17 are $3 each, but that does not include tulips. Kids under the age of 3 are free.
For many, it’s not just about picking tulips, Kerriann said. It’s a way to spend some time outside and soak up the sun and beauty surrounding them. She said almost everyone who visits the tulip fields will snap a few pictures while enjoying the vast array of colors stretching for miles.
“I just thought that I’d pick something cheerful that feels like spring,” Phyllis from Worcester said.
Anyone who wants to visit the Wicked Tulip Flower Farm has to buy the tickets ahead of time online. But Kerriann warns that tickets sell fast, saying the first weekend, May 4-5, is already sold out.
“This is a little bit of Holland and happiness that we brought here,” Kerriann said with a smile.