Debra Prinzing

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Episode 653: Piedmont Wholesale Flowers – celebrating its 8th season and a new facility with flower farmer Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and market manager Julia Carpico

Wednesday, March 13th, 2024
Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm (left) and Julia Carpico of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers (right)
Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm, Piedmont Wholesale Flowers,
president ermitus (left) and Julia Carpico, Market Manager (right)

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Piedmont Wholesale Flowers’ tagline is: farmer-founded, farmer-directed, farmer-grown. Today, you’ll hear an update as this Slow Flower member cooperative celebrates the start of Season Eight with Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and market manager Julia Carpico.

Increasingly, Slow Flowers is enjoying the addition of flower collectives and cooperatives joining as members – a reflection of the decade-plus work we’ve been doing to advocate for a local and seasonal floral marketplace. This benefits everyone – from grower to florist and I’ve personally witnessed those relationships flourish and enhance our thriving community.

Piedmont Wholesale Flowers logo and members
Piedmont Wholesale Flowers’ logo and some of its farmer-members

Today, we’re checking in with the Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, a hub in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area, as I catch up with Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm, long-time Slow Flowers member, and with Julia Carpico, the PWF market manager. My relationship with many of the growers and florists involved in PWF dates to September 2016, when I was invited to attend a flower farmer potluck and teach a creative writing workshop there. What an inspiring visit! I was there for a few days, and during the visit, I recorded a podcast episode with Stephanie Hall – you can listen here.

Later that fall I connected with Kelly Morrison of Color Fields Farm, another Raleigh area grower, and she told me about the origins of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers. That cooperative, one of the first to open after the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market landed on the map in 2011, is entering into its 8th season. Listen to my interview 2017 with Kelly on the start of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers.

Piedmont Wholesale Flowers' new market space in downtown Durham
Piedmont Wholesale Flowers’ new market space in downtown Durham

But a lot of good things have changed, and that’s what today’s conversation is all about. Piedmont Wholesale Flowers has moved into a new, larger market space and has added two more market days for a total of 3 market days per week. With 14 member farms, this is a solid, well-run flower hub and I’m thrilled that we’ll all learn more today.

Flowers fill the Piedmont Wholesale Market on Opening Day March 12, 2024
Flowers fill the Piedmont Wholesale Market on Opening Day March 12, 2024

Find and follow Piedmont Wholesale Flowers on Instagram and Facebook.


Rooted Farmers-Slow Flowers Society promo code for 2024

You may have heard Stephanie mention that PWF has recently moved to the Rooted Farmers platform. Rooted Farmers is sponsor of this podcast and longtime supporter of Slow Flowers. In fact, Slow Flowers members who want to sell through the Rooted Farmers’ platform enjoy a special discount. It’s a great opportunity! If you’re a Slow Flowers member, you can join Rooted Farmers using the code: SF2024. This code will work for $75 off for first-time members on either the Essentials or Pro plan for farms.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, and a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program. Learn more at

Thank you to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at

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

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I’m so glad you joined us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than one million 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

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. Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!

Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Rafter
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

Episode 273: A Tale of Two Floristas in Raleigh, North Carolina: meet Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers (left) and Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm (right)

Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers (left) and Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm (right)

Before I introduce today’s two guests, I have to share a lovely note that I received this past week from Slow Flowers Canada member and loyal podcast listener, Jessica McEwen at Periwinkle Flowers in Toronto. She wrote:

Jessica McEwan of Periwinkle Flowers in Toronto

Jessica McEwan of Periwinkle Flowers in Toronto

I just had to send you a quick note – I have just finished reading the blog post about the newest podcast episode on Michael from Summer Dreams Farm.  I try to look at the post first, because I actually listen to the interviews while driving out to our local flower growers co-operative just outside Toronto twice weekly and like to have their images in my head to match the voices that I hear.

Thank you for sharing these wonderful people with us, and to address what you say towards the end of your blog post- never doubt that what you do is important! Sharing people’s stories, asking the questions and letting us peek behind the curtain of social media is a true gift from you to all of us in this crazy flower world.

You make me feel a part of a much larger network of people who care about the things that I do: That flowers be bought from growers who love what they do, at a fair price, and be valued at all steps along the way. And, that small business owners and creative entrepreneurs who, let’s face it, are definitely NOT in it for the money, (but) are in it because we can’t help but be consumed by the amazing world of flowers and the joy that they bring to the world, are also valued.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Debra- you truly make my world a brighter and happier place, Jessica.

Thank you, Jessica. I needed to hear that this week, and I appreciate you agreeing to let me share your note here.

You may recall my recent episode featuring Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina outside of Raleigh-Durham. I spent a few wonderful days in their community in September, which included a fun Slow Flowers Meet-Up on the Leiss farm and a hands-on Slow Flowers Creative Workshop at Maggie Smith’s Pine State Flowers in Durham. I met so many passionate and inspiring women and men on this trip, people who came together from four southern states, each of whom is changing the conversation around local flowers in their own markets.

twoupIt’s been an honor to share their stories with you. Now, I want to include two additional interviews I recorded on that trip. You’ll hear from a floral designer who grows flowers and a flower farmer who also designs, both of whom care deeply about disrupting the conventional floral industry model.

The first is Maggie Smith, who, as I mentioned earlier, served as host for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Maggie owns Pine State Flowers, a charming retail flower shop in Durham. Our second guest is Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm, one of the many farms that provides local botanicals to Pine State Flowers. I’ll first introduce Maggie; you’ll meet Stephanie in part two of this episode. A special thanks to Jonathan Leiss for  helping me facilitate both interviews.

Maggie Smith, at work inside Pine State Flowers, her old-new flower shop. (c) Samantha Leonetti photo

Maggie Smith, at work inside Pine State Flowers, her old-new flower shop. (c) Samantha Leonetti photo

Maggie's arrangement from our Slow Flowers Creative workshop this past September.

Maggie’s arrangement from our Slow Flowers Creative workshop this past September.

Maggie is an East Tennessee native who moved to Durham in 2009 to attend the Center for Documentary Studies. Being familiar with the local farming community, she knew plenty of flower farmers in the area but realized there were no florists sourcing 100% locally grown flowers.

The creation of Pine State Flowers came out of opportunity. She knew there was demand and interest for locally-grown flowers in her community at the same time that the historic Roll’s Florist building became available for lease.

Love the Carolina cotton in this wedding's personal flowers.

Love the Carolina cotton in this wedding’s personal flowers, by Pine State Flowers

So with only a good idea, a little savings, and no background in the floral industry, Maggie reopened Roll’s Florist as a flower shop and started a small flower farm on the adjacent land.

The main goals of Pine State Flowers are to support local flower farmers and nurture good land stewardship, connect consumers with locally grown flowers, and create a neighborhood space.

The 1930s building that was built to house Roll's Florist, is now home to Pine State Flowers

The 1930s building that was built to house Roll’s Florist, is now home to Pine State Flowers, complete with the original copper-framed bay window

This rotating display features local farms whose flowers are currently on offer.

This rotating display features local farms whose flowers are currently on offer.

Pine State Flowers only sources sustainably-produced flowers grown in America—no chemicals, no imports—and customers know their money stays in the local economy.

More than 95% of the flowers used at Pine State Flowers are grown in North Carolina. In fact, Maggie features 16 local flower farms on her web site. She doesn’t “hide” her sources; rather, she is 100% transparent about her sources – I applaud that practice.

Entering the historic Roll’s Florist shop, now called Pine State Flowers, is like stepping back in time.

As Maggie writes on the Pine State Flowers web site, the business is rooted in the history of one of the largest floral suppliers in the Southeast, and is now a small independent shop sourcing flowers locally.

sm_dsc00304This legacy symbolizes the American flower movement over the past 115 years. Having emigrated from Germany, Mr. Roll became a florist for the legendary Duke family, and later established his own business in 1899.

Inside the original flower shop, circa 1930s

Inside the original flower shop, circa 1930s

The original Roll’s Florist included 7 acres of botanical gardens, a flower nursery, and 5 glass greenhouses (the last one was torn down a few years ago). Maggie has saved and is preserving some elements and materials from the original flower shop, including light fixtures in the front room, the wooden walk-in cooler, the copper framed front window, rounded front door, and several receipt books dating back to 1920.

A Pine State Flowers wedding

A Pine State Flowers wedding

Pine State Flowers is North Carolina’s first exclusively local flower shop. Maggie believes that using local flowers strengthens the local economy, supports small farms using organic growing practices, and reduces waste. Pine State Flowers has received local recognition from Indy Best of the Triangle for 2015 and 2016.

A beautiful arrangement designed by Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers

A beautiful arrangement designed by Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers

Meet Maggie and follow her at these social places:

Pine State Flowers on Facebook

Pine State Flowers on Twitter

Pine State Flowers on Instagram