Debra Prinzing

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Rooster Ridge and its two generations of women flower farmers in Aptos, California (Episode 205)

August 5th, 2015

Nancy Abramson (left) and her daugher/partner Haley Wall.

Nancy Abramson (left) and her daugher/partner Haley Wall.

The charming rooster of Rooster Ridge. If you look closely, you'll see Nancy's signature on this original watercolor.

The charming rooster of Rooster Ridge. If you look closely, you’ll see Nancy’s signature on this original watercolor.

Last month we visited Santa Cruz, California, to hear from Christof Berneau of the UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

On that same trip I met up with mom & daughter flower farmers Nancy Abramson and Haley Wall of Rooster Ridge Farm, a USDA Certified Organic and California Certified Organic farm located in nearby Aptos.

I briefly met Nancy and Haley in 2012 when they attended the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference in Tacoma, where I had been invited to speak about The 50 Mile Bouquet. I remember their unbridled enthusiasm and at the time I recall thinking what a great “story” they would be.

I gazed upon this lovely scene while recording our podcast interview. It was taken from the deck of Nancy and Curt Abramson's home in Aptos, California

I gazed upon this lovely scene while recording our podcast interview. It was taken from the deck of Nancy and Curt Abramson’s home in Aptos, California

Haley's impromptu bouquet that features just-picked cultivars and items foraged from Rooster Ridge.

Haley’s impromptu bouquet that features just-picked cultivars and items foraged from Rooster Ridge.

Fast-forward to 2015 and we reconnected through Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., a recent podcast guest. Teresa hosted a Slow Flowers/Slow Coast gathering in the Santa Cruz area when I was there in March and Nancy and Haley attended.

They reminded me that I had an open invitation to visit them at Rooster Ridge.

That visit took place in June. Nancy and Haley welcomed me and led a wonderful walking tour of the grounds, which includes orchards, a vineyard, cutting gardens and production fields.

We enjoyed some delicious refreshments on the deck of the family home. And then we recorded this podcast.

This is a bountiful 20-acre place where flowers, herbs and fruit flourish. The farm is a labor of love for Nancy, and now, for Haley, who is also providing floral design services for brides and other local clients. You can find Rooster Ridge’s harvest at Aptos area farmers’ markets and pop-up flower stands in the community.

Landscape, wild places, and formal planting rows are all here in this beautiful place.

Landscape, wild places, and formal planting rows are all here in this beautiful place.

Haley staffs a Rooster Ridge pop-up stand in the community.

Haley staffs a Rooster Ridge pop-up stand in the community.

A Haley-designed floral arrangement using Rooster Ridge-grown organic flowers

A Haley-designed floral arrangement using Rooster Ridge-grown organic flowers

From cut flowers to citrus and avocados to an abundance of herbs, Rooster Ridge is deeply connected to its region. Florists, supermarkets, and farmers market customers are delighted with the quirky, uncommon ingredients gathered into the mixed bouquets.

Our podcast interview asks Nancy and Haley to share how they grow, market and design, and how they develop new market opportunities.

Thanks for joining me today as we toured an organic California cut flower farm where sustainable practices and growing profitable crops are guiding principles.

As Nancy so aptly said,

“Being a farmer is a lifestyle choice. “

The 2014 flower farm wedding of Haley and Bobby Wood.

The 2014 flower farm wedding of Haley and Bobby Wood.

Another adorable wedding photo with Haley's homegrown and designed bouquet - straight from her own farm.

Another adorable wedding photo with Haley’s homegrown and designed bouquet – straight from her own farm.

I’m so glad she and her family has found a way to make a living from their land, and to share their beautiful flowers with their community, offering seasonal and local alternatives to imported stems.

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast nearly 59,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

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