As many of you fellow farmers and small business owners know, each year we have new developments and some just need to be shared! In 2014 we started to sell our cut flowers through the Midwest Distribution Center for Whole Foods Midwest Region. They shipped our flowers to 6 states from June through October! We had to build a new cooler. We chose a CoolBot and it works great. We turn it on Monday afternoon and off on Wednesday morning and it costs a few bucks a week. It is a great storage room in the winter! We also built a new high tunnel specifically for dahlias. With the incredible insect pressure on these summer beauties, I just got tired of pouring chemicals on them and continue to watch the Japanese beetles and Northern Corn Root Worm beetles chew them to shreds. Michael, my husband, often comments that we should just put a screen dome over the whole property and that is exactly what I did with the new dahlia house. We put insect screen on the end walls and sides with openings so small that even aphids cannot get through! It worked like a charm and we grew the most beautiful dahlias yet! The only problem is that I have more than one designer that has told me she wants ALL of my dahlias!
And probably the newest development is that we are no longer Certified Organic. At the beginning of 2014 I made the decision to discontinue growing the large amounts of starter plants and concentrate on cut flowers and succulents, we also expanded our growing at our Gratiot location. When we mix our flowers from the various locations they can no longer be certified so I had stopped selling the flowers as Certified Organic for a few years. It is a hard decision and I still wonder if it is the right one. I will not however change my growing practices. I am committed to improving the land I that I am so fortunate to farm, and I would never want to compromise its vigor nor endanger the pollinators, workers, and animals, with harmful chemicals and inputs.