I recently spent two days with farmer-florists Adam and Jennifer O’Neal at PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, where I combined a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine with the chance to interview them for this podcast — how lucky for me, right?!
If you have any curiosity about where PepperHarrow Farm is located, think about that romantic novel and the 1995 movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Maybe I’m dating myself, but it was a classic. The story and film are set in Winterset, Iowa.
It is a beautiful place to live and farm . . . and PepperHarrow Farm is everything you’d want in a homestead, with a charming farmhouse, a working farm with several useful outbuildings, access to “town” and the greater Des Moines urban core, which means it’s easy for PepperHarrow to supply a critical mass of flower customers within a 50 mile radius and to hold wedding consultations and teach workshops at their bucolic destination.
Jennifer and Adam O’Neal are local, hard-working green thumbs who cultivate fresh flowers and veggies on their 20-acre farm nestled among those covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County.
Adam is originally from south Louisiana and spent his childhood days playing in his backyard, the swamps of a nature reserve. That early exposure to the outdoors grew into a love for being outside. One day he read an article about permaculture and the rest is history.
Iowa native Jennifer is a long time gardener who also inherited her Grandmother’s love of flowers. She grew up spending long summer days on her grandparent’s farm and in their garden. Her grandmother also spent every summer instilling floral design in Jennifer, doing flower arrangements with her for the local county fair. Jennifer now gets to bring her grandma to her farm to see the flower legacy continue and often delivers floral arrangements for her grandma to enjoy.
The O’Neals are committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve and enhance the land. Their efforts to minimize the environmental impact and plan for self-sufficiency make their small farm a diverse and educational experience.
Follow these links to find Jennifer and Adam at these social places:
There’s a lot to flower your soul and spirit, not to mention your creativity, in several forthcoming design opportunities, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these events!!
Detroit Flower Week, October 11-15: Along with numerous members of the Slow Flowers Community, I’ll be joining Lisa Waud of The Flower House and pot & box at the inspiring floral convergence of design, art, farming and storytelling. Read more about Detroit Flower Week here.
Follow this link to grab your tickets!
The Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, October 17-18 at Russian River Flower School in Sonoma County California. Spaces are still available for this excellent program. Debra Prinzing will teach “floral storytelling” and partner with Dundee Butcher to use local flowers in our expanded design process that includes each student creating a video short for her or his own use. Details and registration link here. Click here to listen to a Q&A with Debra and Dundee as they discuss the workshop.
Flowerstock, hosted by Holly Chapple, a Slow Flowers member based in Virginia. She’s a designer, educator, founder of Chapel Designers, past guest of this podcast and also a flower farmer with her husband Evan on a new project called Hope Flower Farm.
Flowerstock includes two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, a marketplace of vendors, flower playtime, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping! Slow Flowers is pleased to sponsor this special gathering of our flower friends. We’re also thrilled that Holly and participants of Flower Stock will design and produce one of our Floral Style Fashion images for American Flowers Week 2017! Find Flowerstock Details and registration link here.
On October 16th, Slowflowers.com will sponsor and co-host the amazing Field to Vase Dinner coming up at Sunset Magazine’s beautiful new trial and demonstration gardens in wine country. I hope to see you there! The event florals will be designed by Slow Flowers member Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo and Homestead Design Collective. Reserve your dinner ticket here!
Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.
More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.
A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.
A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.
And finally, thanks to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.
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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.