3.14.17

Daughter Hannah has traded in her hoe for a snow shovel.  She will begin work at Modern Farmer magazine next week.  I appreciate all that Hannah has done to make Little Bluestem Farm a reality.  We will miss her wisdom, her hard work and her way with words.  

Today we are snowbound in a hotel in Hudson, New York.  As I sit here looking out the window and watching the level of snow approach the predicted 30 inches, my thoughts are filled with possibilities for the flower season ahead.

In the most recent edition of Brain Pickings, Maria Poplova quotes Herman Hesse, who wrote, 

[There are] many other small joys, perhaps the especially delightful one of smelling a flower or a piece of fruit, of listening to one’s own or others’ voices, of hearkening to the prattle of children. And a tune being hummed or whistled in the distance, and a thousand other tiny things from which one can weave a bright necklace of little pleasures for one’s life…

My advice to the person suffering from lack of time and from apathy is this: Seek out each day as many as possible of the small joys, and thriftily save up the larger, more demanding pleasures for holidays and appropriate hours. It is the small joys first of all that are granted us for recreation, for daily relief and disburdenment, not the great ones.

As I read this, it occurred to me that perhaps one of the things we should cultivate at Little Bluestem Farm is “a bright necklace of little pleasures…”  We would like to invite folks to come to the farm to smell flowers,listen to themselves and others, hum, whistle and find joy.  

We had such an enthusiastic response to our open house in the fall, that we have decided to plan events and invite folks to the farm throughout the growing season. 

We will host several events during the summer when you can come out and pick your own flowers for a class on arranging and then enjoy relaxing on our porch.  We will post more information about dates and cost in the coming weeks.

In addition to fields of flowers, we have a spacious porch, and walking trails.  We would love to host retreats, meetings and other small gatherings.  Please be in touch if you have any interest in scheduling an event or if you have other ideas for ways in which we could welcome you into the grace and joy of Little Bluestem Farm.

 

2.20.17

     The email advertised a “Wedding Floral Design Workshop” led by Jim DelPrince, PhD., AIFD, PFCI at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center.  We had talked about expanding our skills and services here at Little Bluestem Farm to include weddings, and we had even had some inquiries, but I had dismissed the possibility until this opportunity appeared on the screen in front of me.  

     After consulting with the family, I took a chance and signed up. Then in late January, Michael and I made our way to the Coast — he, looking forward to a short vacation and I with some trepidation about being a “grower” in the midst of “designers.”  

     My anxiety heightened when Dr. DelPrince began the class by setting the bar high when he said, “Wedding flowers must be on time, and they must be perfect.”  I thought to myself, “I know about “on time” — but “perfect” I am not so sure about.” As a priest, I also know a little about how “on time” and “perfect” can be moving targets when it come to brides and weddings.  The class lasted for two days, and every moment offered new information to learn and opportunities to try new skills.  

     As the class unfolded, I realized that Dr. DelPrince was teaching us through helpful demonstrations, wonderful stories and skillful instruction, exactly how to achieve “on time” and “perfect.”  Of course, shaping those instructions into reality will take a lot of continued education and practice.

     We are currently participating in an online class focused on growing flowers for weddings. The class offers valuable and practical information about planning, growing and post-harvest tending of flowers for weddings and other special events.

     We are excited to be exploring new horizons, expanding our services and growing our skills so that we can offer the joy of our locally grown cut flowers in new venues.  We invite you to be a part of our adventure by sending photos of your favorite wedding flowers and by spreading the word that we will work hard to offer wedding flowers that are locally grown, affordable and of course “on time and perfect.” 

- Beth

2.11.17

Happy Birthday, Little Bluestem Farm!

Every place I’ve lived I have had a garden — sometimes the soil was rich and sometimes it was rocky…sometimes my efforts were welcome and sometimes I had to sneak a few seeds in the ground…but I’ve always managed to have a few flowers or vegetable to tend and to give away.

Our family bought the property we now call Little Bluestem Farm in December four years ago.  There was an old house nestled among towering oaks on the site and a garden that had the benefit of decades of fallen leaves.    

We made the decision that the house was too far gone to be renovated, so we began to dismantle it to use the material on a new house — a dogtrot house very similar to the old one.  And, as soon as the temperatures began to warm, I headed to the garden.  The first year, I reclaimed about half of the garden, and the second year, the entire garden was filled with vegetables and zinnias.

I love every part of gardening — but through the years, I have found that what sends me out into the cold or the heat and makes me work just a little harder is the possibility of sharing produce with others.  When I discovered the local flower movement, the idea of a flower farm became irresistible.    

On our drive home from west Texas a year ago this month, the reality of a family flower farm germinated and began to grow.  We talked about everything from the name of the farm to which days we would deliver CSA orders…it is a long drive from Alpine, Texas to Carthage, Mississippi.   

As we drove along we happened upon a place called Wildseed Farms near Fredericksburg, Texas.  We stopped, bought a few seed packets, picked up a catalog, and went on our way.  As I began to peruse the catalog, I realized that it was the same company catalog I had found on my mother’s kitchen counter after she died 14 years ago.  Mother had written on the front page (only days earlier) “This catalog is for Beth.”  Realizing that connection between my mother and the flowers I hoped to grow transformed the idea of a flower farm into something much deeper for me than just startinga micro-business.  It began to feel then…and has continued to feel like a calling.

Our hope is that through our work at Little Bluestem Farm we can continue to send the joy we find growing and arranging our flowers into the lives of others.


- Beth

9.19.16

Dear Subscribers and Supporters of Little Bluestem Farm,

These last two weeks close out our first season and what a summer it’s been! To all of our subscribers and business hosts, a huge thank you for your support. Thank you for coming to the farmers’ market and Fondren’s First Thursday, for subscribing to the CSA, for picking up your flowers and cleaning out your buckets. We have loved getting to know you and seeing your smiles when you get your flowers. We’ve said this a lot this season, but we really couldn't have done this without all of you. 

To show our appreciation, we would like to invite you and your friends and family to an open house on the farm on Sunday, October 23rd from 3-6. We’re going to have delicious food and plenty of time to explore the farm and visit around the fire. Most of our house is porch, so please dress comfortably for whatever weather we might be having that day. Just a heads up, if you have a pet allergy or a child who is afraid of animals, we have four dogs. This is also a great opportunity for you to return any clean, empty containers leftover from the CSA! We’ll continue to post more details about the event to Facebook, Instagram, and our fancy new website. Keep an eye out. 

If you're interested in continuing your subscription next season, the sign-up form will be online by Nov. 1st. We will continue to be in touch throughout the off-season. In the meantime, please feel free to email us with any feedback on how you think we’re doing so far. We would love to hear about what has worked this summer as well as areas where you think we can improve. 

Thanks again for everything you’ve given us these past few months. We look forward to seeing you again soon! 

Cheers,

The Little Bluestem Farm Family

 

7.12.16

Dear friends,

 

Sorry we’re a little late with the newsletter this week. It’s been a busy few days at our house, canning tomatoes for marinara, salsa, and tomato jam. The hard work pays off though in a few months when we can have summer tomatoes in winter spaghetti dinners. Do you have any favorite summer fruits and vegetables you preserve? Share your ideas on our Facebook or Instagram! 

 

We hope everyone is still loving their flowers! Thanks to everyone for being so adaptable with changing pick-up locations and our Fourth of July shuffle.

 

Over the holiday, we took a family road trip to Atlanta where we discovered the Krog Street Market. Located in a restored warehouse, the market features locally sourced products including bath and beauty products, handcrafts, and foods such as meat, produce, and ice cream. Of course our favorite stall was the flower shop, French Market Flowers. Find them onInstagram french_market_flowers and you’ll see why we love them so. Their staff is super friendly and we were totally inspired by their approach to flowers… and life; a beautifully lettered sentiment written on a chalkboard behind the counter reads: 

 

We believe that locally grown flowers are amazing and heartbreakingly beautiful, especially those we grow ourselves. We love to embrace nature’s simple glory and design our flowers as if they were growing in the field and condensed into the perfect bouquet. 

 

Bravo, French Market Flowers! Our thoughts exactly. 

 

Seeing this thriving community of local producers and consumers, we were reminded of why we got into this business in the first place. Our farm is founded on the principles that shopping small and buying local is essential to the health of our economies, but also of our communities. We value getting to see your smiling faces each week at CSA pick-ups and at the farmer’s market. We are honored to be hosted by local businesses that, in turn, buy from local suppliers. Engaging in this matrix of social interactions and economic exchanges on a neighborhood level is one of the easiest ways to change the world. So, thank you all for taking part with us!

 

One logistical note: the farm family has a commitment on Monday, August 1st, and will be unable to deliver subscriptions that day. As an alternative, we’re prepared to have Monday subscribers’ flowers ready on Saturday, July 30th. Please let us know, either in person or via email, if you would prefer to pick up your flowers at M-7 or the High St. Farmer’s Market, so we can have the proper arrangements at the appropriate location. We need to know by Monday, July 25th at the very latest; if you don’t let us know by then, you’ll miss out on your flowers that week and nobody wants that. 

 

Thanks for keeping in touch! Over the past few weeks we have delivered flowers to restaurants (you can find us on the tables at La Brioche in Fondren!), special events (like Livingston Market's new Second Sunday gathering), and other markets in the area. It wouldn’t be possible without your generous recommendation of our flowers to family and friends. We are so grateful.  

 

Have a wonder-filled week,

 

Little Bluestem Farm

6.26.16

Happy anniversary of the first month of your CSA! 

We’ve had a few inquiries in the last week about how to keep your flowers fresh for longer. So we did a little bit of Googling and wanted to share our research on the care and keeping of cut flowers. Thank you so much for wanting to take care of what we’ve worked so hard to bring to you. We love how much you love your poseys, bouquets, and buckets! 

The easiest way to keep your flowers fresh is to keep them somewhere cool and to change their water regularly, anywhere from every day to every 3 days. They love having fresh water! 

You can also include a DIY plant food as you’re changing out the water in your vase. The simplest way is to add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar to your water. Another option is to mix one part lemon-lime soda (i.e Sprite) with three parts water; these drinks have the proper proportions of sugar and acidity, so be sure not to use the diet version. A third option is, to a quart of water, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon bleach. 

To help your flowers absorb their food, you can trim their stems at an angle so they take in as much water as possible. Be sure that there are no leaves under the water line, as these can cloud the water and lead to mold. 

On a more logistical note, the Fourth of July holiday is coming up, and we need to hear from Monday subscribers about when you want to get your flowers. Our host businesses are taking the day off, and so are we. Would you rather receive your flowers this Friday (July 1) or next Friday, July 8 (so you would have flowers on Monday and Friday of the next week)?  Another option is to have your share for the week donated to the nursing home in Canton. Please let us know when you pick up your share tomorrow (or by Wednesday of this week). 

Extra special thanks to everyone who has posted and tagged us on social media and to everyone who has dutifully returned your buckets and jars! You all get gold stars in our book! 

Gratefully, 

Little Bluestem Farm 

6.13.16

Hi Folks,

 

 

Welcome to the second week of your flower CSA!

 

You might notice that your arrangements have some of the same flowers as last week, as well as some surprising new ones. This variability is just one of the many benefits of supporting local farmers; you get flowers that are not only seasonal, but also representative of the local ecosystems and environments that support them. Buying local also means that your flowers go straight from the farm into our cars and into your hands. No crossing oceans and continents to get to you.

 

Our delivery day starts at 4:15 in the morning because picking flowers before the sun comes up is the best way to have the freshest and longest-lasting bouquets. We hand-cut everything on our sixty-acre farm, selecting flowers and grasses that we’ve planted as well as some that grow native in the area. Over the past few years, we have encouraged wildflower and native grass growth in our pastures, which helps pollination and biodiversity as well as making for pretty flower arrangements.

 

When all the flowers and fillers have been gathered, we spread out on a big table on the front porch.  We fill buckets and jars with water and soon stems and discarded leaves litter the porch as we select the best of what we’ve picked to put in each bucket, bouquet, and posey. We have so much fun working with friends and family as we pick out our favorite color combinations, textures, and shapes. We hope you enjoy what we’ve made as much as we’ve enjoyed making them.

 

Thanks to everyone who posted images on social media and tagged @littlebluestemfarm. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook for upcoming offers and giveaways. We love hearing from you, so if you have any questions or comments about this week’s flowers, please let us know!

 

Gratefully,

The Little Bluestem Farm Family (Beth, Michael, Mary Margaret, and Hannah)