Flower Farming: Not for the Faint of Heart!

Flower Farming: Not for the Faint of Heart!

Organically grown flowers are a beautiful, tactile, scented experience like no other within the universe of fresh-cut flowers. While this much is true, it is a common misconception that an organic farm must therefore be awash in beauty: wide-brimmed hats, flowing dresses, and nothing but lovely flowers as far as the eye can see. The reality is quite different. Much to the dismay of some of our biggest fans, none of our farms are open to the public. This is not because we’re unfriendly, but because we are a working farm and not a garden. The ground is uneven and heavy equipment roams the fields. We farm on multiple parcels and are rarely in one place long enough to receive guests. Most importantly, our Certified Organic and Good Agricultural Practices certifications do not allow for non-employees to step on the land. Farming is messy, chaotic, often totally exhausting, and always rewarding. Our prize is filling the coolers of your local flower shops, family-run grocery stores, and community owned co-ops with the beauty of the season. It’s all worthwhile when we see our flowers coloring the produce benches at our Valley’s growers markets, and gracing the altars and tables of so many local weddings and events. It might come as a surprise to some that a productive flower farm often looks deprived of flowers – after all, they must be picked! Too often, a row of flowers that starts off robustly dwindles at its far reaches due to thirsty rodents chewing their way through the drip tapes. Hitchhiker burrs will stick to your socks, pants, and sleeves. A herd of...
A reason to celebrate!

A reason to celebrate!

At Le Mera Gardens, we don’t believe it is necessary to wait for a special occasion to surround yourself with beautiful flowers. Thankfully, the benefits of staying connected to the soil and seasons through locally grown flowers is gaining momentum in the Rogue Valley and nationwide, and we’re happy to be a part of the movement. Just as the slow food movement has brought environmental and economic awareness to eating, the slow flower movement highlights the importance of enjoying fresh-cut blooms with the same seasonal rotation. Rather than expecting roses from your florist year-round, why not stay connected to the changes in the seasons by enjoying what the sun and soil produce close to home throughout the year? Mid-April fireworks (Ranunculus) in the greenhouse American Flowers Week was created as a celebration of local flowers. The event runs from June 28th until July 4th and provides yet another reason to celebrate our independence as a nation. Locally grown American flowers are the perfect way to celebrate the great diversity of our country. Nationwide, flower farms just like ours are gearing up for this week to help promote the importance of locally grown flowers as opposed to blooms flown in from thousands of miles away. Debra Prinzing, founder of the slow flower movement, reiterates that, “We should be celebrating American-grown flowers during all 52 weeks of the year – but by choosing to devote one full week to an awareness campaign, I believe we can heighten the attention on this cause – both in the media and in the public.” As early proponents of farming flowers and keeping it local, we...
April Showers Bring…

April Showers Bring…

May Flowers!   The springtime sun has awakened an array of vibrant blooms here at Le Mera Gardens. The heavy winter rains have given us a jumpstart on what is proving to be a busy spring season and our crew is already in full-swing. This year is our flower farm’s 25th season growing certified organic florist-grade fresh flowers for the broad community we serve in Southern Oregon and Northern California. As early proponents of the Buy Local movement, we are particularly grateful to see a growing trend and enthusiasm across the nation for seasonal, farm-direct flowers sold in bulk for DIY weddings and special events.   When you choose locally farmed, seasonal flowers, you get blooms at their freshest and most fragrant – the full embodiment of the flower as nature intended. One of the many advantages of supporting local farms over national retailers or online services for your special day is the assurance that your flowers are grown – not flown.   Local flowers are certain to leave a lasting impression on your senses; they also have an enduring impact on the earth. With 80 percent of cut flowers sold in the U.S. imported from South America, Ethiopia, Kenya, Holland, New Zealand and even farther abroad, local flowers are a sensible and sustainable choice. As the carbon footprint of imported cut-flowers accumulates through extensive transportation, refrigeration and preservation, the scent and vibrancy diminishes.   Take for instance the quintessential rose – when compared to their long-stemmed counterparts flown thousands of miles from Ecuador year-round, our seasonal Garden Roses are worth the wait! Once you experience them, you’ll never...
Farewell to the 2016 Growing Season

Farewell to the 2016 Growing Season

“I must have flowers. Always, and always.” Claude Monet As the weather turns cold and our growing season comes to a close, we have more time for reflection on all that carries us through the hustle of the spring, summer and early fall. A large portion of our success is due to the support of the local business community. We are fortunate here in the Rogue Valley to have such hearty cooperation from so many loyal retailers, a vibrant farmers market clientele, area restaurants and businesses which understand the value of keeping local farms alive. These businesses are the backbone of our success and we are so grateful to be associated with such savvy, principled and mission-driven organizations: First and foremost, our local flower shop community:  Penny & Lulu Studio Florist, Heaven Scent Flowers, Rogue River Flower Shop, La Fleur Bouquet, Judy’s Florist & Gifts, BCazwell’s Floral Dezines, Susie’s Medford Flower Shop, Corrine’s Flowers & Gifts, Woolvies Florist, FlowerTyme on the Plaza, The Enchanted Florist and Eufloria Flowers. Grocery outlets and retailers that have added in-season, fresh flowers to their diversified offerings:  Ashland Food Cooperative, Ashland Shop n Kart, Cartwright Market, White’s Country Farm and Ashland’s Market of Choice. And all season long, from early spring through our beautiful fall, you’ll see our flowers at Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Markets, The Farm Store at Fry Family, Standing Stone Brewing Co., Bloomsbury Coffee House, The Winchester Inn and the Rogue Valley Country Club. Add to these our loyal, weekly customers the huge number of do-it-yourself wedding parties which we serve during our farming season and it can be said...
New This Season – Grower’s Choice Buckets!

New This Season – Grower’s Choice Buckets!

Le Mera Gardens has been growing organic, farm-fresh flowers in the Rogue Valley for over 24 years. You may have seen our bouquets at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market at the Fry Family Farm booth or at local retailers such as Shop n Kart, Market of Choice or the Ashland or Medford Food Co-ops over the years. Maybe you were already aware that local florists from White City and Central Point to Ashland rely on Le Mera Gardens for gorgeous bursts of local color throughout the growing season. What you may not realize is that the bulk of stems we pick every week are sold to individuals for DIY weddings and events. Each week, Joan meets with dozens of brides, wedding planners and event hosts to pick out gorgeous flowers to make their events extra special. In the photos below, you can see the extensive pick lists that are generated each week to fill wholesale orders. Coordinating the lists, the pickers, deliveries to florists and wholesale customers and the appointments with buyers require patience, attention to detail and a passion for local flower farming. Thank goodness we have Joan to hold it all together! New this season are Grower’s Choice Buckets. Sold in $50 increments, these buckets are created from any surplus remaining after orders are filled for the week. Perfect for unexpected houseguests, last minute dinner parties, or event planning snafus, bucket orders can be phoned in up until 3pm on Thursdays for pick up in Talent on Fridays. Although color preferences can often be accommodated, varieties are grower’s choice. Don’t forget the flowers! Call 541-857-8223...
How Long Will My Flowers Last?

How Long Will My Flowers Last?

July 2016 Here in southern Oregon, we are fortunate to have an abundance of fresh, local flowers from February through October. In Ashland, a small town no more than four miles from one end to the other, there are three locally owned flower shops! These are all well-established businesses serving this quaint little town and all three buy from Le Mera Gardens, weekly, all season long. How about that for local flower love? All we can say is, “Thank You!” to all of the flower fans of the Rogue Valley who know that local flowers are the freshest flowers. We’re also lucky to have champions in the local press like Sarah Lemon from the Mail Tribune who helps spread the word about the importance of supporting local farmers who grow what we put on our tables and in our vases. Check out her recent piece on Le Mera Gardens and the local Slow Flowers movement here. The summer solstice brought a show-stopping “strawberry” full moon and the heat returned just in time for the 4th of July. This year, we joined Slow Flowers in promoting American Flowers Week June 28th – July 4th to raise awareness in our Valley of the importance of buying locally grown flowers. Did you know that 80% of flowers sold in the United States are imported from abroad? They arrive from various points overseas landing in Miami, port of entry to the United States for imported flowers. These poor things sometimes travel as much as 5,000 miles before reaching your local supermarket or big- box retailer’s display case – that can mean weeks in...
Springtime on the Farm

Springtime on the Farm

Friday, April 29, 2016   It’s springtime on the farm and Le Mera Gardens is bustling with activity as we harvest, weed, nurture, cultivate and deliver fresh, local, organically grown flowers all over southern Oregon. The ample rain and abundant sunshine are making for a very, very busy start to the growing season. Thankfully we have a dedicated team supporting our efforts. Cheli and Laura have been with us for years and have become experts when it comes to harvesting for our wholesale clients.   Springtime is also a busy time for connecting with local community partners. This weekend Le Mera Gardens will represent at two important events. The Rogue Valley Country Club’s Premiere Bridal Showcase runs from 11am – 4pm on Sunday, May 1st. Planning a wedding or special event? Join us and see what the valley has to offer in making your big day extra special. Le Mera Gardens can also be found at the Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Fair Saturday from 9am – 5pm and Sunday from 10am – 4pm at the Jackson County Expo. Come say hello at the Fry Family Farm booth where we kick off the growing and planting seasons with literally 1,000s of plants for sale. This event is a great way to get inspiration for your garden and support our local growers.                        ...