Episode 536: A Slow Flowers Reunion with Robin Hollow Farm’s Polly & Mike Hutchison and a tour of Robin Hollow Flowers, their new retail space
December 15th, 2021
Our episodes this month have included a series of studio tours with holiday decor demonstrations — and today you’ll be treated to another inspiring visit. I’m delighted to welcome Polly and Mike Hutchison, owners of Robin Hollow Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.
I first met Polly and Mike in 2012 when the annual Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers conference was held in Tacoma, close to me. I had donated a feature article to the auction for the ASCFG Foundation and Polly was one of the successful bidders. The following year in August 2013, I was on the east coast and invited myself to visit Robin Hollow Farm. I had literally just started the Slow Flowers Podcast the month before, and proposed that the three of us record a conversation for an episode. Polly and Mike were gracious hosts, as I not only stayed with them at Robin Hollow Farm, they also toured me around as they harvested and delivered flowers. It was a pivotal visit for me — and really influenced my understanding of what was possible for a viable enterprise based on local flower agriculture.
You can listen to that conversation in Part 2 of Episode 104 (Polly and Mike’s segment starts at 15:45). You’ll want to go back and listen to our earlier conversation, which will bring Polly and Mike’s inspiring story into further focus.
In what feels like a “where are they now?” segment, I connected virtually with Polly and Mike last week to celebrate their new retail venture. Robin Hollow Flowers is located in Providence, about 25 minutes away from the farm, but much closer to their subscribers and to their farmers’ markets.
I asked them to give us a tour of Robin Hollow Flowers and discuss the evolution of their business. As a holiday bonus, Polly shares her design skills as she creates a signature wild and colorful holiday wreath — you’ll be sure to pick up some tips on a wide range of topics, from managing growth to building infrastructure to seeking funding from the USDA.
As Florist-Farmers, Robin Hollow Farm produces the majority of the flowers used in their designs. Robin Hollow Farm grows a wide range of gorgeous flowers in their fields and greenhouses, as well as a few special herbs and plants.
The studio at Robin Hollow Farm provides full-service floral design for all types of weddings and events. Known for using their flowers and sourcing domestic flowers when needed, Robin Hollow’s specialty is to listen carefully and create gorgeous arrangements that reflect the vision of their clients. “Our point of view is to focus on the flowers themselves, with an opulent, fresh style, whether the event is modern or romantic, large or small. We specialize in unusual and botanical design,” Polly says.
You can find and follow Robin Hollow Farm at these social places:
Robin Hollow Farm on Facebook
Robin Hollow Farm on Instagram
Slow Flowers Summit 2022 – Early Bird Ticket Prices Expire Soon!
There’s just two more weeks to take advantage of the early-bird pricing for attending the Slow Flowers Summit — our fifth gathering, which takes place June 26-28, 2022.
You can find all the details at slowflowerssummit.com, and if you act now and register before the end of December, you’ll receive the lowest price ever — $749. Registration to the 3-day event includes breakfasts, lunches, refreshments and an opening day welcome cocktail party reception.
Here’s what a few of our past attendees shared about the Slow Flowers Summit:
The Slow Flowers Summit is such a well curated, unique experience filled with such meaningful and important conversations, ideas and connections. I plan to continue to attend each year!
I would definitely recommend attending the Slow Flower Summit, and joining the Slow Flower Society. The content is unbeatable and presentations amazing and inspirational…..always some practical take-away!
The 2021 Slow Flowers Summit was pure fuel for the creative mind—so encouraging to pursue more sustainable business practices, collaboration, and floral experimentation. the summit is a treasure trove and will continue to boost my work throughout the year.
Those are just a few of the wonderful raves we received for this past year’s event — and our 2022 venues and programming will be equally rave-worthy. We’d love you to join us! You can add the exclusive farm to table culinary experience of dinner at Blue Hill Restaurant to your Summit registration for an additional savings. You can find all the details at Slow Flowers Summit (www.slowflowerssummit.com) and we will share the links in today’s show notes.
Thank you to our Sponsors
This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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.
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. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.
Thank you to 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.
Thank you to Rooted Farmers. 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.
Thank you to 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.
Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 795,000 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.
If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at SlowFlowersSociety.com and consider making a donation to sustain 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 Show & Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. 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. You can learn more about Andrew’s work at soundbodymovement.com.
Betty Dear (Piano Feature); Horizon Liner; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
In The Field