Debra Prinzing

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Episode 547: “Small Farm, Big Dreams” with Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

I believe that springtime brings out the creativity in all of us and even though we’re still nearly a month from the start of Spring, our thoughts are turning to another bountiful season of growing and design.

That sentiment was abundantly clear last month at the 2022 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival here in Seattle. Last week, I introduced you to two Oregon farmer-florists, Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., and Beth Syphers of Crowley House Farm.  Today, I have another inspiring Slow Flowers conversation to share, also recorded at the flower show.

Adam and Jennifer O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, authors of the new book, “Small Farm, Big Dreams”

Adam and Jennifer O‘Neal, flower farmers and designers who own PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, were here to speak and teach at the flower show. We sat down for a conversation on the final day of the five-day event, after a whirlwind 24 hours in which they competed head-to-head in a container design competition (listen closely to learn who won the prize ribbon), lectured on the main stage on the topic: “Big Flower Dreams: Flower Farming Tips for the Backyard Cutting Garden”; and demonstrated “DIY Market Bouquets: Easy Tips From the Pros.”

Join our fun, flower-filled conversation, recorded in the lobby of the Washington Convention Center — apologies for the background noise. Meet Jennifer and Adam, or shall I say, re-meet them as they’re past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast

Small Farm, Big Dreams book jacket artwork

You’ll learn more about all of the exciting 2022 flower growing news and events taking place this coming season at PepperHarrow Farm, including the forthcoming publication of Small Farm, Big Dreams: Turn Your Flower-Growing Passion into a Successful Floral Enterprise — out in April.

Thank you so much for joining us today. We’ve added the replay video of today’s interview at the top of t his post, which is followed by bonus video from Jenn and Adam’s DIY Market Bouquet presentation.
You might learn a thing or two! And of course, you can pre-order Small Farm, Big Dreams at this link.

Find and follow PepperHarrow Farm at these social places:

PepperHarrow on Instagram and Facebook
PepperHarrow on YouTube and Pinterest

News of the Week

header Slow Flowers Newsletter

We just dropped the March 2022 Slow Flowers newsletter and if you missed it, you can find the link here. Highlights include the debut of our beautiful new 2022 American Flowers Week branding illustration and free social media badges; as well as details about our March 11, 2022 Member Meet-Up introducing the author and many of the creatives featured in the pages of Black Flora; plus a new Sustainable Sympathy Flowers survey you’ll want to complete because it will inform future content for our members. We’ve compiled all the floral news that’s important to know and I hope you find it useful.

Take our Sustainable Sympathy Flowers Survey

Sustainable sympathy by Lori Poliski of Flori LLC

Above: Lori Poliski of Flori designed a sheaf bouquet, which she describes as a frequent choice for farewell flowers in the UK, symbolizing a sheaf of wheat. (c) Missy Palacol Photography  

Two Slow Flowers Society members in the Seattle, Washington, area, Lori Poliski of Flori and Tammy Myers of First and Bloom, are taking the lead to collect your input about sustainable sympathy/funeral/celebration of life/farewell flowers in the industry. 

They have prepared a short survey for Slow Flowers Members.  If you participate, you are eligible for a drawing to win a gift of the Oshun pouch and a block of Agrawool by Sideau.  Both mechanics are 100% compostable alternatives to floral foam. 

The survey results will be shared by Lori and Tammy in a Slow Flowers Podcast episode in April 2022. THANK You in advance for sharing your insights and experiences!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by, 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.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

Thank you to our lead sponsor, returning for 2022, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $10 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at

Thank you to Details Flowers Software, a platform specifically designed to help florists and designers do more and earn more. With an elegant and easy-to-use system–Details is here to improve profitability, productivity, and organization for floral businesses of all shapes and sizes. Grow your bottom line through professional proposals and confident pricing with Details’ all-in-one platform. All friends of the Slow Flowers Podcast will receive a 7-day free trial of Details Flowers Software. Learn more at

Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at

Thank-you goes to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot system.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at   

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 821,000 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 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.

Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. 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.  Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. 

Music Credits:

Lissa; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

Episode 265: Flowers in the Heartland with Adam and Jenn O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Jennifer and Adam O'Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

10846393_742697935817032_6622126312058960580_nI recently spent two days with farmer-florists Adam and Jennifer O’Neal at PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, where I combined a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine with the chance to interview them for this podcast — how lucky for me, right?!

If you have any curiosity about where PepperHarrow Farm is located, think about that romantic novel and the 1995 movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Maybe I’m dating myself, but it was a classic. The story and film are set in Winterset, Iowa.

It is a beautiful place to live and farm . . . and PepperHarrow Farm is everything you’d want in a homestead, with a charming farmhouse, a working farm with several useful outbuildings, access to “town” and the greater Des Moines urban core, which means it’s easy for PepperHarrow to supply a critical mass of flower customers within a 50 mile radius and to hold wedding consultations and teach workshops at their bucolic destination.

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal are local, hard-working green thumbs who cultivate fresh flowers and veggies on their 20-acre farm nestled among those covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County.

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

Adam is originally from south Louisiana and spent his childhood days playing in his backyard, the swamps of a nature reserve. That early exposure to the outdoors grew into a love for being outside. One day he read an article about permaculture and the rest is history.

Jennifer O'Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Jennifer O’Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Iowa native Jennifer is a long time gardener who also inherited her Grandmother’s love of flowers. She grew up spending long summer days on her grandparent’s farm and in their garden. Her grandmother also spent every summer instilling floral design in Jennifer, doing flower arrangements with her for the local county fair. Jennifer now gets to bring her grandma to her farm to see the flower legacy continue and often delivers floral arrangements for her grandma to enjoy.

Flowers for the Market

Flowers for the Market

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

PepperHarrow's signature style -- lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

PepperHarrow’s signature style — lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Quinlan O'Neal, whose "welcome" you hear on today's podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

Quinlan O’Neal, whose “welcome” you hear on today’s podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

The O’Neals are committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve and enhance the land. Their efforts to minimize the environmental impact and plan for self-sufficiency make their small farm a diverse and educational experience.

Jennifer and Adam

Jennifer and Adam

Follow these links to find Jennifer and Adam at these social places:

PepperHarrow Farm on Facebook

Jennifer on Instagram

Adam on Instagram


There’s a lot to flower your soul and spirit, not to mention your creativity, in several forthcoming design opportunities, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these events!!

Detroit Flower Week, October 11-15: Along with numerous members of the Slow Flowers Community, I’ll be joining Lisa Waud of The Flower House and pot & box at the inspiring floral convergence of design, art, farming and storytelling. Read more about Detroit Flower Week here.
Follow this link to grab your tickets!

The Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, October 17-18 at Russian River Flower School in Sonoma County California. Spaces are still available for this excellent program. Debra Prinzing will teach “floral storytelling” and partner with Dundee Butcher to use local flowers in our expanded design process that includes each student creating a video short for her or his own use. Details and registration link here. Click here to listen to a Q&A with Debra and Dundee as they discuss the workshop.

Flowerstock, hosted by Holly Chapple, a Slow Flowers member based in Virginia. She’s a designer, educator, founder of Chapel Designers, past guest of this podcast and also a flower farmer with her husband Evan on a new project called Hope Flower Farm.

Flowerstock includes two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, a marketplace of vendors, flower playtime, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping! Slow Flowers is pleased to sponsor this special gathering of our flower friends. We’re also thrilled that Holly and participants of Flower Stock will design and produce one of our Floral Style Fashion images for American Flowers Week 2017!  Find Flowerstock Details and registration link here.


On October 16th, will sponsor and co-host the amazing Field to Vase Dinner coming up at Sunset Magazine’s beautiful new trial and demonstration gardens in wine country. I hope to see you there! The event florals will be designed by Slow Flowers member Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo and Homestead Design Collective. Reserve your dinner ticket here!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 121,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit

More sponsor thanks goes to 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

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing 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. Visit them at

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at

And finally, thanks to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at

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 and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at