Episode 495: A farmer-florist creates a boutique business on a small island. Meet Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm
March 3rd, 2021
Last month, I was treated to a lovely *workcation* opportunity to join two friends at a home they rented to work remotely through the covid pandemic. They promised me my own bedroom and bathroom, a dining table with a view of sea, mountains and islands, an friendly golden retriever named Rocky (who seemed in constant need of a human beach-walking companion, lots of good conversation with adults and a dip in the hot tub each night. How could I refuse? I got my negative test and took a ferry to Lopez Island for four days.
And yes, it was a workcation, but I enjoyed lots of R&R at the same time. I also made a point of visiting today’s guest, Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm, the only Slow Flowers member on Lopez Island. I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit her homestead and learn more about how she and her young family are putting down roots while also growing flowers. It was especially gratifying to do something I used to do all the time, pre-covid: conduct in-person interviews of flower farmers and floral designers whenever and wherever I traveled. I will never again take that privilege for granted.
My fresh-air conversation with Lindsey, which you’ll hear today, was only the third in-person episode I’ve recorded in 12 months. Wow. We are living in a world of Zoom and FaceTime, and while I’m grateful for the technology, I have to say that sitting on a picnic bench, sipping tea, chatting with Lindsey and appreciating her first early-spring arrangement on the table, well, that was a treat. Even when the skies opened and we were pummeled with an unexpected hailstorm — hey, it was all part of the experience, which you’ll hear midway through our conversation.
Lindsey is the owner, grower and florist of Dancing Flower Farm, a micro specialty cut flower farm on Lopez Island in the Pacific Northwest.
She writes: I am deeply inspired by nature’s seasons. I grew up being outside all of the time helping my mom in her vegetable garden, playing in her herb garden and being encouraged to explore. Those early years definitely made an impact on how I live my life now and how my floral designs continue to develop. I recently came across notes my mom had helped me write outlining my first business adventure at 8 years old, growing flowers to sell to our neighbors in my little red wagon. I grew Cosmos, Sweet Peas and Zinnias that year. It only took me twenty years to realize that that was my calling in life, though cooking, baking and landscaping helped me get to where I am today and are skills I value greatly!
I start each design as a tiny seed, corm, bulb or tuber, caring and tending them using naturally organic practices till they produce beautiful blooms. I am passionate about designing with only seasonal flowers and foliage that I grow or forage. Growing flowers gives me a sense of purpose, adding beauty to the world and seeing how they bring joy to people makes me happy. I feel every step of the growing process helps me design naturally abundant arrangements, letting the flowers elegantly move to form romantic pieces, from bouquets to installations. No occasion is too small for local flowers!
As well as offering fresh flowers I grow everlasting flowers that dry beautifully for creating special lasting pieces: flower crowns, hair combs, wreaths and bridal flowers, keeping color around all season long naturally. If you have an event that is happening during the winter when fresh flowers are not available I encourage you to ask about local dried flower options!
Lindsey told me that she’s hoping to offer personal flower packages for Island elopements this season, as well as continuing to design for intimate wedding ceremonies. It was a lovely chat and I’m not sure when I’ll get to do that again — either take a ferry boat to an island OR visit a flower farmer or florist in person. I’m eagerly awaiting both of those special experiences.
Find and follow Dancing Flower Farm on Instagram
The BIG NEWS of this week is that over at BLOOM Imprint, our publishing branch of Slow Flowers, we have just opened up the online shop for pre-orders of Where We Bloom, the first book in our 2021 catalog! This book’s subtitle says it all: Intimate, Inventive, and Artistic Floral Spaces. You’re invited to join me and step inside the places where flowers come to life as Where We Bloom showcases the beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of 37 Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists, and growers. Each environment reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, organization, and functionality of your creative studio. Visit their spaces and read about their floral passions. I can’t wait to share this beautifully illustrated book with you — books will ship in April!
There are only two more days to grab your free ticket to attend Fleurvana’s Regeneration and Sustainability Summit, taking place online March 5-7. You’ll hear from more than 20 fabulous presenters and presentations, including the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book.
We have packed so much into our 40-minute mini-course and we’re especially excited to unveil our 28-page workbook that accompanies the session. This is a valuable tool to help anyone develop their concept and evaluate whether it’s a potential book. The free workbook is only available to Fleurvana registrants, so check it out.
And coming next week, you’re invited to join me for a very special webinar hosted by American Institute of Floral Designers and Slow Flowers Society on Tuesday, March 9th 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern. It’s an honor to moderate this presentation in collaboration with three of the AIFD regional presidents, including two who are Slow Flowers members. The topic is “From Farm to Florist,” and will discuss the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into every day designs and event work. I’m thrilled to say that four Slow Flowers members will join the discussion to share their stories and advice for florists. This event is free and open to the public.
Thank you to our Sponsors
And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.
This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms. It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.
For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:
Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at Syndicate Sales.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.
Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 697,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.
I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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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by Blue Dot Sessions
In The Field