Debra Prinzing

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Episode 495: A farmer-florist creates a boutique business on a small island. Meet Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
Lindsey Cummins
Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm on Lopez Island, Washington — showing off her first early spring bouquet of the year!

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.

Lopez Island
The restful view I enjoyed from my workcation spot on Lopez Island.

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.

Lindsey, with her son Ira, at Dancing Flower Farm

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.

The Vase shelf
Lindsey has a potting and prep bench built onto the back of a vintage 1950s bus

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! 

greenhouse at dancing flower farm
The new greenhouse at Dancing Flower Farm

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

This podcast is brought to you by, 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

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

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

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

On a Lopez Island hike with my friends’ sweet dog, “Rocky.”

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

Music Credits:

The Basket; Turning On the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Millennials who Grow Flowers — Meet Gretel & Steve Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm (Episode 126)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I took this photo of Steve and Gretel Adams in August 2012. They're amazing - and I'm so happy to share their conversation with you today!

I took this photo of Steve and Gretel Adams in August 2012. They’re amazing – and I’m so happy to share their conversation with you today! (c) Debra Prinzing 


In the workshop . . .

In the workshop . . . (c) Debra Prinzing

Gretel and Steve Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio, are young flower farmers whose creativity and determination to earn a living from their land is truly inspiring.

This young couple didn’t grow up in the agricultural world; so naturally, they consider themselves serendipitous farmers. A food-farming apprenticeship sparked Steve’s passion for farming. And Gretel was blessed to inherit a 10-acre lot outside Columbus that her father bought in the 1980s.

My friend Rich Pomerantz, a fellow member of the Garden Writers Association, has taken some beautiful photographs of Gretel and Steve for his series about Young Farmers. Enjoy his post here.

As children, they both loved to be outside playing in the dirt and connecting with nature. As young adults, Steve and Gretel’s farming skills continue to flourish with their involvement in the U.S. cut flower industry. They are trying to live life as sustainably as possible using organic practices, composting to make soil amendments, and heating their house with wood, growing their own food and making natural soaps, among other things. 

Gretel, touring me through the growing fields.

Gretel, touring me through the growing fields. (c) Debra Prinzing

Sunny Meadow Flower Farm is filled with fields of beautiful flowers and four greenhouse structures help Steve and Gretel extend the growing season in Ohio.  

This farm-based business is established on a 10-acre parcel just inside the Columbus city limits. 

They recently told me about the way their acreage is used:  

“This coming season, our field space will include about 4 acres in production — plus 1 acre for our perennial and greenhouse space, making for a total of 5 acres.  The remainder of the tillable land will be rotated with cover crop to maintain soil health.”

Sunny Meadows’ flowers are sold at three seasonal farmers’ markets in Columbus and through Whole Foods stores in the region. Gretel is also a talented floral designer and the farm has added wedding floral design services, which is one of the most successful sources of income for the farm. 

Please enjoy our conversation – I know you will be impressed with Gretel and Steve, and you’ll find their passion contagious.

In the podcast, we discussed the upcoming Cut Flower Growers’ School, a program of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers that is scheduled for March 3-4, 2014 in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Steve and Gretel will be teaching a workshop called: “What to Grow and Why,” addressing how to choose which perennials to grow & which annual varieties are the best producers? 

And thanks to Sunny Meadows Flower Farm for providing these wonderful images that you can enjoy here:

A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm wedding, with bride Pilar and groom Matt - and their beautiful seasonal & local Ohio-grown flowers

A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm wedding, with bride Pilar and groom Matt – and their beautiful seasonal & local Ohio-grown flowers


A gorgeous boutonniere for another local wedding - with bride Genevieve & groom Todd.

A gorgeous boutonniere using Sunny Meadows’ awesome lisianthus — for another local wedding – with bride Genevieve & groom Todd. 


On the farm . . .

On the farm . . . 


Gretel (right) and friend  - showing off their floral crowns.

Gretel (right) and friend – showing off their floral crowns. 


A sense of the beauty of this farm - as seen in one section planted with Mexican sage.

A sense of the beauty of this farm – as seen in one section planted with salvia. 


What an organized place - rows of field-grown flowers and well-appointed greenhouses.

What an organized place – rows of field-grown flowers and well-appointed greenhouses.


A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm bouquet

A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm bouquet


Be still, my heart~ A beautiful bouquet by Gretel, using flowers she and Steve grow.

Be still, my heart~ A beautiful bouquet by Gretel, using flowers she and Steve grew.


Grown & designed by Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm

Grown & designed by Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.


Another lovely bridal bouquet from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.


A sublime color palette for a gorgeous bouquet.

A sublime color palette for a gorgeous bouquet last July.

I’m so pleased to have been able to introduce you to Gretel and Steve. On their web site, they write:

“Our mission is to educate the public about the quality and vase life of local flowers. Although you can get flowers for dirt cheap flown in from the Equator, the workers there do not have the same rights and protections and there are fewer restrictions on chemical use. So who knows what you are really buying? As a farm specializing in all naturally-grown fresh cut flowers, we are trying to show people just how important supporting your local flower farm really is.”

Follow SUNNY MEADOWS FLOWER FARM on Facebook here

To add your name to the Sunny Meadows Flower Farm, email Gretel & Steve at:

Because of your support as a listener, listeners have downloaded this podcast nearly 6,000 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

 The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at