Episode 461: Oregon’s Pollinate Flowers on growing, design and creating community, with owners John Peterson, Jeremi Carroll and Zach Goff
July 8th, 2020
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John Peterson, Jeremi Carroll and Zach Goff welcomed me to Pollinate’s gardens in Dundee, which is in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, about 40 miles southwest of Portland.
I wore my mask and enjoyed following them along the paths and through the beds and borders of their overly abundant, integrated garden where flowers and food thrive in community. When it came time to record our conversation, we sat safely apart from each other under a tree in the garden, with chairs arranged around a table where I placed the digital recorder. Nothing beats recording a podcast episode in the garden!
The path to flowers began for John and Jeremi in 2009 when they lived in the Portland suburbs and planted a beautiful garden in the backyard of a rental house.
As the story is told on Pollinate’s web site, it quickly became clear by the juxtaposition between their vibrant garden and the Astroturf on the property’s front lawn, that their intentions had overgrown the available gardening space. The fence surrounding that tiny suburban yard was a physical limitation; yet, Jeremi and John discovered they had cultivated an obsessive love of nature’s abundance and diverse beauty. They set their sights on a new property and developed a plan to take a broken piece of land that they could “re-wild” into a bio-diverse habitat for flora and fauna alike.
In the summer of 2012, armed with textbook theories and a single dull shovel, the men moved to 2.5 acres in Dundee, and they began to turn that dream into reality.
Over the past several years, they focused on building permanent, no-till beds surrounded with lush perennial plantings, which together develop habitat where life thrives. Their efforts have created a regenerative ecosystem; a healthy environment for plants, animals, insects and microbes as Pollinate grows beautiful varieties of luscious, nutrient-dense produce and vibrant cut flowers that customers feel good about shoving their faces in to take a sniff.
As John and Jeremi began to focus more on flowers than edible plants alone, their business got a boost when a third partner joined them in 2017. This is the third growing season that Zach Goff has been part of Pollinate. Like Jeremi and John, he has a background in culinary and hospitality, and he brings marketing, branding and photography skills to the team.
There is a lot of change happening for Pollinate right now, including the June opening of a new retail shop in Newburg, Oregon, an adjacent town that’s known as the gateway to Oregon’s wine country. Pollinate shares its flower shop with a fellow grower, Little Lavender Farm, owned by their neighbor Pam Baker. I stopped by to check out the charming shop after we recorded this episode.
Things are moving so quickly that now the men are working on a new ecommerce web site to support the retail shop. They expect to launch that platform later this summer, so you’ll want to find and follow Pollinate’s social places to catch the announcement when the new site goes live.
Here’s how you can find and follow Pollinate:
Pollinate & Little Lavender Farm’s Retail Shop is located at: 108 S. College St., Suite C, Newberg, Oregon 97132. Open Wed – Sat, 2-6 (Wed until 8)
Follow Pollinate on Instagram
Follow Pollinate on Facebook
I’m on a big high, after a full week of activities celebrating American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th, our sixth year coming together as a community to elevate domestic flowers in the minds of consumers and professional florists alike.
Thank you to everyone who posted floral images and your own beautiful tributes across social media — we’ve been watching the impact over time as the #americanflowersweek hashtag has garnered more than 15 million social media impressions since we launched in 2015.
You can find our 2020 recap articles at americanflowersweek.com. In a few weeks, we will announce our call for submissions for the 2021 botanical couture collection — now is the time to jump on this opportunity while your fields and studios are bursting with floral ingredients!
Later this week, 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, July 10th, you are invited to join the 2nd monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on Zoom. Click here to find the details to join us!
Thank you to our Sponsors
This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms. It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.
And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.
Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.
Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 622,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.
As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.
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