Summer means many things: warm hikes, days spent on the water, and for many, weddings! Summer is a favorite time for couples to gather their friends and family and celebrate their marriage. The Adirondacks are an especially romantically scenic place for a summer wedding and there are many local vendors, venues, and artisans who help make Adirondack weddings truly special. In the historic and quaint town of Jay, Linda D'Arco is the owner of Little Farmhouse Flowers, purveyors of sumptuous, artfully designed flower arrangements. Much of Little Farmhouse Flowers' business is for weddings and events, adding a vibrant, naturally beautiful element to summer weddings. Linda's arrangements are adored throughout the Adirondacks and with the disruption of summer events due to the global pandemic, Linda and her team have been finding new, fun ways to share the bounty of Little Farmhouse Flowers with countless local residents looking for a bit of extra good cheer. I asked Linda to share a bit of her story with our readers.
For those who don't know your story, how did you end up in the Adirondacks?
Our family moved to the Adirondacks upon accepting roles here in education. My husband still works in a local school. I decided to turn my summer season hobby into a full time job and business. We found a sweet spot in Jay with a little farmhouse that was part of a former dairy farm. That is where I broke ground on my flower farming dream. And that is why my business is called Little Farmhouse Flowers.
Coronavirus sadly meant the cancellation of a number of weddings. How did you adapt to that, and were there any bright spots for you in this uncertain time?
This season has felt like a roller coaster for everyone, I think. The wedding and event industry took a particularly hard hit. Because our business has been focused on providing unique, curated floral work for events large and small with our own farm's sustainably grown flowers, we were faced with holding all of this perishable product coming out of the farm that would have otherwise been purchased by our event clients.
To cut our losses, we began offering weekly bouquet subscriptions in 6-week cycles. They have been a hit with our local communities. We are now producing around 100 bouquets every Wednesday that are available for pick up at our farm or delivery to residences all over the North Country. We also take our products to Nori's Village Market in Saranac Lake for resale.
Additionally, we joined a nationwide collaborative of flower farmers that enables us to ship our flowers overnight directly to customers all over the continental U.S at a manageable rate.
The silver lining to all the change this season has been learning these new ways to share our flowers. When the wedding and event work was our focus, we simply couldn't share as many flowers with our local supporters, and we've learned how much they appreciate the new access to our products. We have continued to grow our capacity here on the farm in order to offer more flowers locally, even when the event work returns.
What is the most gratifying aspect of your work?
The most gratifying part of my work is my role in finding and sharing 'wonder'. I love seeking out new and different kinds of flowers to grow here. I love working through the challenges of our sometimes unforgiving climate. I love pushing the boundaries and finding innovative, sustainable approaches to nurturing flowers. And most of all- I love seeing a customer's face light up when they've just been introduced to a new flower or plant.
What does it mean to be involved with such organizations as The Sustainable Floristry Network?
In late 2019, I was selected to serve as a founding Ambassador to The Sustainable Floristry Network. This organization, the first of its kind in the world, is led by some of the most prominent florists working to bring a heightened awareness to the environmental impact of what can be a very dirty industry. My co-ambassadors have designed everything from royal weddings to huge celebrity events. They are some of the most celebrated florists in the world. I still pinch myself thinking about my inclusion in this group. Together, we seek to provide scientific research and educational resources that will help others join in our crusade to provide sustainably-minded services to all floral customers. This role is particularly important to me because of my own commitment to sustainability and our attention to the role of our farm and business in the greater Adirondack Park.