Episode 413: Meet Misty VanderWeele of Alaska’s All Dahlia’d Up, plus our State Focus: New Jersey
August 7th, 2019
Today, we’re visiting Palmer, Alaska, and spending time in conversation with Misty VanderWeele of All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm.
Misty isn’t your typical Alaska grower because you won’t find a single peony in her fields. She claims she’ll “never say never,” but for now, there are so many other flowers, including, of course, dahlias, that Misty loves growing on her highly diversified flower farm.
I first met Misty in person when she attended the inaugural Slow Flowers Summit held in Seattle in 2017. She is a force of nature — high energy, inquisitive, intelligent and passionate about sharing her story. It was hard to miss her, sitting in the front row during the lectures, interacting by sharing positive feedback with our speakers and making meaningful connections with fellow Summit attendees.
As soon as I met Misty and heard pieces of her personal journey, I added her to my mental list of future podcast guests. We almost had a chance to record an episode this past February when Misty returned to Seattle to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I was working for the show that week, and while we had coffee together, there wasn’t enough time to grab a recording. Soon, we agreed. Soon.
Well, soon was this past week and Misty graciously agreed to jump on Skype with me to talk about all things Alaska flower farming. It is at the peak of her flower farming season and I seriously wonder how many hours of sleep Misty is getting in each 24-hour period. Probably only as few hours of darkness up there in the land of the endless summer sunshine.
Sleep-deprived or not, this is a fabulous conversation and you’ll learn volumes. Here’s a little more about Misty, excerpted from her web site:
“I am a born and raised Alaska Chick with a flower addiction for sure. I’m proud to grow award winning seasonal blooms for market, weddings, flower CSA and our seasonal farm stand and flower shop.
“From July through the first frost our gardens are bursting with color and flower magic. We grow vibrant Dahlias, fragrant long stem Sweetpeas, Sunflowers and more.
“All though not entirely a one-woman-show I run farm management, floral design, marketing, and field operations. I consider the flower farm my baby. That being said I couldn’t do what I do without the loving strong support from my husband, Glen, daughter Jenna and the best in-laws a girl could ever ask for.
“I started growing our award winning flowers 5 years ago in remembrance of my son. When he was in kindergarten he brought home to me a potted dahlia plant not yet blooming for Mothers Day. But when I learned dahlias grow from tubers you can divide for more and more every year my interest was piqued.
You see, Luke had Duchenne (Due-Shenn) Muscular Dystrophy, an incurable muscle wasting 100% fatal disease. We were told Luke would be lucky to graduate high school. Which he did in 2010. However my entire world came crashing in when he suddenly passed at age 21. I was left not only devastated but not really knowing what to do with myself. My daily life as I’d known it changed in an instant! The grief at times was unbearable. Then I remembered all those tubers! Flowers started healing my shattered heart.”
Find and follow Misty VanderWeele at these social places:
All Dahlia’d Up on Facebook
All Dahlia’d Up on Instagram
Order Misty’s Book — Flower Power: Poetic resonance of meaning, connection & healing flower magic for living a Full Bloom Life
Shop for Misty’s Dahlia Pendants
Now, let’s visit New Jersey as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series.
Please meet Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler, based in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Bethany and her husband Dan Vohringer grow cut flowers on 10 acres, serving wedding and event florists, DIY wedding clients, and customers at four farmers’ markets.
I recently interviewed Bethany for a Johnny’s Seeds’ newsletter article, called “Your Seed Chronicles: Planning & Planting for an Abundant & Frequent Floral Harvest” — Read the article here — it has great info from Bethany and four other Slow Flowers member growers.
Follow The Flower Peddler at these social places:
The Flower Peddler on Facebook
The Flower Peddler on Instagram
As a footnote to today’s episode, I have to give a shout out to fellow podcaster Anahit Hakobyan of Viva La Flora Live Podcast.
An AIFD and EMC designer and host of the new podcast about the art and business of flowers, Anahit recently invited me to join her in a conversation all about the Slow Flowers Movement. It’s fun being on the other side of the mic, and as always, I’m delighted to have any chance to share the Slow Flowers story, mission and vision with a new floral audience. Thanks so much, Anahit!
As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.
Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.
NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.
Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 503,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.
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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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.
A Palace of Cedar; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
Lovely by Tryad
In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com