One might think it’s impossible for supermarket shoppers to find truly “local” flowers during all four seasons of the year, especially in the Windy City. But those who frequent several Whole Foods Market floral departments in Chicago have Jeanie McKewan, of Brightflower Farm, to thank for a high-quality selection of Illinois-grown blooms and bunches – among other botanical options even in colder months.
In its 13th growing season, Brightflower Farm is located in Stockton, Ill., about 135 miles west of Chicago. As co-founder of Brightflower Farm, McKewan provides uncommon cut flowers to her grocery customers, as well as to a select group of Chicago wedding and event designers. Over the years, this engaging flower entrepreneur has produced edible crops and ornamentals for the landscape. But she is at her best when swimming in a rainbow of waist-high annuals and perennials that line her fields and fill her greenhouses.
“Annually, we grow and sell more than 150,000 stems of flowers, including peonies and Dahlias, mixed bouquets and consumer bunches, as well as ornamental grasses and woody stems,” she says. Much of that abundance is destined for Brightflower’s primary markets in Chicago and cities in Wisconsin.