Where and How to Sell Cut Flowers from Your Farm
When I tell someone that I am a flower farmer and I have four acres of flowers, they get starry-eyed. It is a beautiful, dreamy, and peaceful life with a whole lot of sweat, tears, dirt, and hard work thrown in. And it can be difficult to know where and how you should sell flowers from your farm.
One of the first comments I almost always get is, "I would love to see your farm." We live on a busy county road and just a couple minutes’ drive from the city limits. Our customers can drive by and see the flowers and us working in the fields. As our operation has grown in the past 11 years, so has the excitement for our locally grown flowers. Our customers began to ask where else they can get our flowers other than at the Saturday morning market. We also found that one of our markets was not performing how we would like, so we thought about allowing our customers to buy from the farm. I wasn't sure if people would drive out to our farm to pick up, but they did!
Each community of customers is different, but there are several key locations that we’ve found work well for selling the cut flowers from our farm.
1. Farm Stand
Displaying your flowers is an essential part of marketing. Think of what is most visually appealing and how you can maximize the space. When we were brainstorming about what we wanted our farm stand to look like, there were a few things that we needed:
Shade from the hot sun
Portability so we could move it and also take it places for other events
My dad said that he had an old livestock trailer that he no longer used and he was willing to convert it into a flower cart. It was in pretty bad shape. He removed all the siding and roof to the bare bones. He decided to remove one of the wheel axels because if there were two axles, then the trailer needed special electric breaks and the vehicle that was towing it would also need a specific set of brakes. With one axle it was not required. He rebuilt the trailer enclosure and roof. The sides of the trailer fold down to make a display area, and we made a collapsible awning for shade. He crafted a beautiful barn door with a locking latch on the back, and we secured a locking toolbox to the outside for incoming payments.
The excitement for the flower cart was amazing! I would post a story or photo to social media telling our customers what was on the cart, and they would share and tag their friends and spouses who drove past our farm on the way to or from work. The flower cart soon surpassed our secondary market. We were able to sell flowers with minimal operating costs. It was awesome! We stocked the cart a couple of times during the day. Our primary choices on the flower cart were sunflower bunches, mixed bouquets, and gladiolus bunches.
2. Christmas Market
At Christmas time, we attended the Christmas event at our main market. We dressed up the cart with cute lights, hung our fresh wreaths on the trailer walls, and displayed our wintergreen table arrangements on the fold-out shelves. Our customers commented that our stand looked like it belonged in a Hallmark movie.
3. Farm Stand Market
We also sell our bouquets at other local farm stand markets. These markets are stocked with produce that the owners grow, and they bring in other local products to round out their offerings. Flowers are an impulse buy, so both of these markets have our bouquets very visible and near the cash register. We make sure that these bouquets are full of bright and cheery colours that will catch the customer's eye. No monotone or pastel schemes here—those flowers go for our wedding work. Market bouquets need to contain sunny yellow sunflowers, a bold pink lily stem, bright red zinnia, vibrant orange celosia, and vivid purple lisianthus. We love using basil as a filler in these bouquets—when the customers move the flowers around to choose the bouquet they want, a beautiful fragrance fills the air.
We have either provided a stand to hold our buckets or used one that the market offered. One market has an antique farm wagon that holds 6–8 pails, and they added a chalkboard to it so the prices can be displayed.
4. Local Shops
We also sell our bouquets at a local espresso bar. They are an early season location as well as one of our subscription pick-up locations. My wonderful dad built a rotating bucket tree. Like a coat tree, it’s skinny and upright, but it has rings that will hold buckets. The espresso bar is thrilled to have increased traffic, and the customers are excited to be able to stop in for a latte and flowers. It's a win-win. We get the espresso pucks to go into our compost, and I love their lattes!
5. Farmers’ Market
Our farmer's market is one that has a lot of history. We’re lucky enough to have 100-year-old pavilions and buildings for shelter. The market tables are refurbished but made in the original design. We can display about 20 buckets of flowers at a time on the long, narrow tables. They face the middle customer walkway, which is lined on both sides with vendors. We've learned that if your actual table space is limited, you have to get creative. We turn over a bulb crate and cover it with a nice fabric or burlap to create another level, and we bring along some wooden blocks that go on the table to make a riser. We find that multi-leveled displays are attractive and enticing for the customer.