On Thursday morning, workers at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough were all smiles as they worked with the current crop of hydrangeas, peonies, lilacs, and other heralds of springtime in Maine.
The farm, Maine’s largest producer of cut flowers, is enjoying a business rebound after drastic slowdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Just as spring promises new growth, co-owner Stacy Brenner said she is looking forward to an economic future as bright as her yellow double-tulips. “We feel a little bit back to normal,” said Brenner, who with her husband has owned and operated the popular local farm since 2006.
The farm started as a traditional food farm, Brenner said, offering vegetables, dairy, pork, and eggs, but the feedback she kept getting from her staff was that they wanted to work with flowers, so the farm went through a transition in 2016. Today, the farm offers more than 350 varieties of flowers, ranging from perennials like hydrangeas, lilacs, and peonies to bulbs like tulips, narcissus, and alium.
Brenner said the farm sells to individual customers for special events, such as weddings, but also to breweries, restaurants, flower shops, hotels, and other businesses. She said her business clients stretch from Kennebunk to Brunswick, but her staff travels all over New England for events.
But all that changed when the pandemic struck, shuttering restaurants and hotels and forcing people to cancel events like weddings. “The design of our business was such that the pandemic was a disaster,” she said. “We are witnessing the release of pent-up demand for travel resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of the return of consumer optimism for our industry,” the report’s authors wrote. “Recent Destination Analyst insights highlight that 81% of American travelers report strong excitement for their travel this year and 86.2% are in a ready-to-travel state-of-mind.”
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