SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt, two dynamic flower farmers and owners of Chicago’s Field and Florist (Episode 148)
July 2nd, 2014
Before introducing you to this week’s guests, I want to share some of the highlights that have recently come my way, thanks to friends and members of the Slowflowers.com site.
These incidents may seem small, but when gathered together, they encourage me that the message of this podcast and the usefulness of Slowflowers.com are increasingly important.
First, we recently added “Floral Workshops & Classes” as a listing category. Maryann Nardo, owner of 7 Petals Floral Design in San Rafael, California, just let me know she booked her first student through a Slowflowers.com customer who was searching for floral design classes. That’s awesome news!
Second, Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, a recent guest of this podcast, shared news that a floral designer in her Bellingham, Washington, area – someone who’s taken a workshop of mine — found Triple Wren on the Slowflowers.com site and has since subscribed to the farm’s flower CSA for the rest of this summer. Sarah wrote: “I thought you might like to know both that it helped our farm and that she is super inspired to continue in what you taught her.”
And finally, Kate Richards of the Farmhouse 38 blog, sent this awesome piece of news.
“One of my guests at my blogger dinner this weekend is getting married in Rhode Island in September. She’s incredibly ecologically minded, and had opted to not do any flowers at the wedding because she is pretty much ‘over’ the current floral industry. Between my recent blog post about the Slow Flowers movement and my blogger dinner featuring all local, CA-grown flowers (and food), my friend had her eyes opened to the idea of slow flowers (she called it ‘life-changing’, lol). She hadn’t even considered that there could be a proximate flower farm where she could get local, responsibly raised flowers. So she went on slowflowers.com and sure enough, she discovered Robin Hollow Farm, not too far from where she’s getting married—and they are officially doing her wedding flowers now! Huzzah!!!”
These stories are simply fantastic – just what I had hoped for when I created Slowflowers.com. If you want to make my day, I’d love to hear how this movement, this podcast and the online directory is helping you as a flower farmer, retailer or florist.
It’s no surprise to learn that today’s guests are also part of the Slowflowers.com directory. Pictured above, Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt of Field & Florist, are based in the Chicago area. A few weeks ago, I was able to visit their idyllic growing grounds in Barrington, IL, about 30 minutes northwest of the city. After touring the fields to see what flowers are emerging from those lovely long rows, we sat down for a fun interview.
I first met Heidi when she attended the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ conference that was held in Tacoma during the fall of 2012.
We ended up sharing a car ride back to Seattle from a farm dinner in Skagit Valley, along with several other awesome young farmer-florists. For me, it was a memorable 90 minutes: ideas and energy bounced around the inside of my Subaru. Each person had something vital to share and we were all eager to learn about how our fellow passengers were developing their own floral businesses – from Seattle to Chicago to Columbus, Ohio — similar things are happening to connect local flowers with eager floral customers.
In the two subsequent years, Heidi and I have stayed in touch and corresponded about her business. She’s a model farmer-florist who has done so many exciting things to educate and inspire her customer base — from holding fun “work parties” on the farm that gets city folks out to the country and leaves a little dirt under their nails; to producing pop-up shops at hip Chicago venues, to designing beautiful seasonal wedding flowers for many happy couples.
Heidi is no longer a solo farmer and in this interview you will meet her new business partner Molly Kobelt. The two women have known one another for a couple years, through Dose Market – an innovative Chicago hub for all things local. Molly worked for Dose Market handling promotions and marketing; Heidi brought her flowers to sell. They recognized in each other a kindred spirit in their philosophy that being passionate about one’s work is important. Earlier this year, they joined forces when Molly came onboard as a partner in Field and Florist.
Check out “A Taste of a Floral Arrangement,” an awesome video produced by Rabbit Hole Magazine at Kinmont Restaurant in Chicago with Field and Florist. In the “small world” category of our intersecting lives, my son Ben works at this restaurant – and he originally shared the clip with me before he knew Heidi and I were friends. That connection makes me very happy.
Field and Florist grows and harvests a wide array of beautiful blooms from April to October – that’s about the maximum amount of time you can source locally in Chicago’s climate. In the winter months, Field and Florist sources from certified sustainable sources within the U.S.
I hope you enjoy hearing from these two talented farmer-florists, as we talk about all the successes and challenges of their venture.
Thank you for joining today’s conversation with Heidi and Molly.
Here are links to sign up for the Field and Florist newsletter
Consider subscribing to their floral CSA – they’re taking orders for September right now.
Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 15,000 times.
Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.