Fresh-cut, locally grown flowers at Iron Meadows Flower Farm

Jessica Eisenmann, owner of Iron Meadows Flower Farm and a vendor at the Champaign Farmers Market, tells about her farm.

"We focus on the importance of fresh-cut, locally grown flowers. Over 80% of the U.S. cut flowers we find in grocery stores, wedding bouquets, and florist arrangements; are imported (mainly from Colombia). Back in the 1970s, all cut flowers were grown in the U.S. There is no industry standard when it comes to the number of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that can be applied.

At Iron Meadows, we try to use only OMRI-certified organic products to deter aphids, caterpillars, and other pests that munch on the leaves and eat the flowers. Plus, we really try to promote beneficial insects such as ladybugs and green lacewings (both species eat aphids) without destroying the flowers. In addition, harsh chemicals can kill the bees we need to pollinate our crops.

We only deliver flowers locally (less than 100 miles) from our farm in Buckley. I made a promise to myself to never sell a flower that is more than 2 days old. Most of the time our flowers are harvested the day you buy them.

People should know that local flowers mean seasonal flowers. You won’t find peonies in July, sunflowers in May, or tulips in September. Everything we grow blooms in its natural season. This means our offerings are constantly changing. Last week we have anemones, after this weekend’s heat, the anemones have gone dormant and the snapdragon have taken off!

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