Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Design Class full!

Holiday designt class on 12/4 is now full!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Design Class with Sarah Worden Natural Design on Saturday 12/4 at UConn Torrington

Maggie at First Bloom Farm is teaming up with Sarah Worden again for the holidays for a local growing and design class at the UConn branch in Torrington, CT Saturday, 12/4, 10am-12pm...Come and learn about local flowers and design a holiday arrangement. Maggie will talk about flowers and post-harvest handling. Sarah will teach design and hands-on arranging. Together, we will emphasize the use and importance of locally and sustianable grown cut flowers! Contact UConn Master Gardener's program for more information. Space is limited!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Late fall color: buds and stems for the holidays

Late fall color in the field is beginning on curly willow and 'white' willow stems, both turning shades of red, orange and yellow with leaf drop. Bright red buds of some pussy willow varieties are the perfect holiday red for December arrangements. Red willow buds and stems are now available through the fall and winter for sale.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Waiting for willows

This time of year is anything but a let down from summer. Happy to see the frost and fall, I've always enjoyed the beauty and transition that is fall. I once heard is said that people are attracted to spaces and places where there is a transition in landscape, and new perspective on viewing change from old to new, now to next. Well, here we are now, October, surrounded by the glory of fall foliage.

The fields are transitioning too, out of the summer site in Simsbury, my focus now shifts back to the woody crops in Northfield. Posted are willow pics from the field this time of year. In a few weeks after leaf drop, the stem and bud color on some cultivars will intensify, revealing the cold weather beauty of next.

Diggin' Dahlias!

The 'summer' season is officially over in the CFS field! Light frost descended on the field a little over a week ago, taking down with it the tender stems of remaining annuals.

Last job of the season is diggin' the Dahlias tubers for winter storage...until next year CFS field!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Finely Feathered Arrangements

What to do when the season slows down, and there is time to "play"? Make arrangements! Typically, my market prep is as follows: count, bunch and store. Last Friday afternoon I decided on a change of pace....I slowed down enough to enjoy the field, flowers and "played" a bit. The arrangements' finishing touches were the addition of pheasant feathers- hunted by a local Northfield friend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm in Love! with (False) Queen Anne's Lace 'Black Knight'

It's official: I'm in love, head-over-heels, & have completely fallen for one of my 'trial' cut flowers: (False) Queen Anne's lace 'Black Knight'. It was so beautiful today that, when I arrived at the delivery location, I almost couldn't part with it!

In addition to the cut flowers listed on the wholesale availability list in quantity, I've trialed other cut flowers in smaller numbers. Some have worked out well, and made it for sale like the special Salvia, and unusual Sunflowers. Others have preformed well in the field but need tweaking in timing or handling like: annual Monarda, herbal basils, Crespedia, Cerinthe, and finally the D. 'Black Knight' (I'll have to plant more and earlier!) and learn...Nearing the end of the summer season, I have been hurriedly making notes about this year's crops, planning for the next, and asking for feed-back and wish-lists from florist and designers alike. In short, if you have an opinion on a crop I'd love to hear it, good or bad. Seriously. Or, if you are looking to fill a wholesale wish list, I'd love to hear from you too!

Several months ago, I received very good advice from a florist who has been in business for many years...She said (I'm paraphrasing) that to be successful in business you have to be a good listener...well, I'm all ears!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Holding onto Summer with the September Harvest

September brings a change in the air... nights are cooler, shadows are longer, and late summer crops are ready to harvest. In the field sunflowers don't grow quite as tall before they begin to flower in shorter days, and Anne's CFS painted corn has been picked and dried.

At market, dried flowers hung in the CFS barn might make you think of fall, but to me, they are just a way to hold on the beauty of summer a little longer....enjoy the late summer pictures from field and barn!

The Metal "Rainbow": the High Tunnel is Framed!

Very exciting news for the Community Farm of Simsbury and First Bloom Farm (by extension!): last Friday, a new high tunnel frame went up at CFS ! To paraphrase Anne, the CFS farmer, "when it went up, I thought it was like a rainbow".... I couldn't agree more, Anne. What does this mean for us farmers? Season Extension! High tunnels are essentially tall unheated greenhouses that allow warmer temperatures in early spring and late fall- perfect for growing at the extremes of our New England seasons. In the high tunnel, farmers have the benefit of planting directly into the ground in an environment higher than outdoor temperatures!

Flower growers use high tunnels for crops such as larkspur, sweet William, lisianthus and spring flowering bulbs. Break out the fall catalogues!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simsbury: Flower CSA 2011, anyone?

First Bloom Farm is planning for the 2011 summer growing season (next year!) in Simsbury. As such, FBF is toying with the idea of offering a Flower CSA subscription for pickup at the Simsbury site on Wolcott Road. What would this mean for a CSA member? For a set price, you would have weekly beautiful fresh flowers in the summer & be supporting local agriculture!

Interested? Good! Let me know by sending an email to I'll keep you posted on planning, pricing and details!

Thank you for visiting with NOFA!

Thanks to all who visited the Community Farm of Simsbury, and the First Bloom Farm growing field. I enjoyed seeing new faces in the field. Some of you may join us next year- who knows!?! If anyone has flower questions that they didn't have answered (or thought of later!), please don't hestitate to contact me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

So, how's it growin'?

Finally, RAIN! A rainy day is a great chance to catch-up on inside work, and maybe take a few pics between raindrops. Here are a few *very* fresh pictures from the field of flowering, and yet-to-flower crops!

A chance meeting at Billings Forge Farmers' Market....

with photographer Lynn Damon led to some fantastic photos! Dare I say these may be even more beautiful than the real thing? Love the light in these pictures... To check out more visit Lynn at .........thanks, Lynn!

Keeping it Local with Sarah Worden Natural Design at Market

Sarah Worden Natural Design and First Bloom Farm teamed up to share a booth at the Litchfield Farmers' Market. Sarah spent a morning picking flowers at the farm in Simsbury, and arranged the flowers later that day. I brought my bunched cut flowers and met Sarah at Market...The result: a beautiful summer display! To see more of Sarah's work visit her at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sunflowers March into Flora & Fauna, Litchfield CT

This morning, FBF delivered beautiful summer sunflowers to Flora & Fauna in Litchfield. The flowers will be available today, and this evening for the Date Night event in the center of town! Stop in at Flora & Fauna for a great selection of gift and natural products for home & body, and much more!

Take a look at their blog at , also on ( cool!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Contact FBF for Availability Lists

Florists, event designers and wholesalers may contact me directly for an availability list. See for contact info.

Availability list are faxed, or e-mailed on a weekly basis by early Monday morning. Keep in mind that orders are on a "first come, first serve" basis. Availability may change quickly!

Visit the flower field with NOFA on Monday August 30th!

First Bloom Farm is one of the incubator farmer plots featured at the on-farm workshop on Monday night 5-8pm, August 30th. FBF field will be open for viewing. Also discussed will be growing practices and farming challenges.

Interested? To register (you must register!) contact the Ct NOFA office or see their website at and look for the "On-farm workshop: Incubator Farm Project".

Sustainable vs. Organic Flowers- what's the difference?

Okay. For those of you who wonder why some flowers may be called "organic" and other sustainably grown.... Here's the difference as I see it:

Organic. At the Simsbury site where all of the annual flowers are produced First Bloom Farm follows strict organic practices for production- this includes organic fertilizers, organic pesticides and field materials. This extends all the way to post-harvest practices (what happens between field cutting and customer), holding the plants in pure well water , or using OMRI* approved treatments. Flowers and herb fillers, started with "Organic" seed may then be called "organic". Here's the tricky part...not all productive cut flower varieties are available from an organic source. These varieties, cannot be labeled "organic" even though they were grown with the same "organic" practices. It would not be "legal" for me to label these items as "organic"... confused?...

Sustainable. I like this word. To understand it requires a sense of trust, perhaps a leap of faith and knowing your producer, me, Maggie at First Bloom Farm. "Sustainable" is the word FBF can attach to all of the other annuals grown at the Simsbury site. These crops were started from non-organic seed or tubers (in the case of Dahlias) and were grown using the same "organic" production practices. Sustainably grown. No one owns the word sustainable, you cannot be fined for using it improperly, and it encourages you ask, perhaps start a conversation with me, the farmer. Sustainable, I like it.

As I see it, my goal as a producer is to provide the highest possible quality product, choosing the best cut flower cultivars. I choose responsible field practices regardless of labels. If you want to know how I grow, ask. I love cut flowers and am happy to discuss them with anyone!

*What's OMRI? The national certifier for organic stuff... Visit

Farmers' Markets Schedule Summer 2010

For most of the season, FBF has been selling to florists, event designers and at the farmstand. Now FBF will be selling direct to the public at farmers' markets in central and western CT!

This Saturday 8/7/10, 10 am -1pm, First Bloom Farm will be sharing a table with Sarah Worden of Sarah Worden Natural design at the Litchfield farmers' market held on Woodruff St near the center of town. We will have fresh cut arrangements by Sarah Worden as well as simple bouquets.
Thursdays beginning 8/12/10, 11 am- 2 pm, FBF will be at the Billings Forge Farmers' Market on Broad Street in Hartford, CT. We will have bouquets, and loose flowers from the Simsbury Farm field! For directions visit

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Upside of a Rainstorm....

.....a Rainbow!
Just as I was about to drive off and throw in the towel this evening, something told me to wait out the driving rain, trapped in the truck with freshly harvested basil & sunflowers. When I emerged, I found beautiful sunlight, cooler air and a rainbow spanning the field. What could be better?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Now Available...

Sunflowers Procut Series: Red/Lemon bicolor, Bicolor, Peach and Orange.

Millet 'Highlander'

Basil 'Cinnamon' and 'Mrs. Burns' lemon'

Finally, Flowers!

This week the first organically grown flowers from the Simsbury site are being harvested out of the field. Soon to follow will be zinnia, grasses, dahlia and other assorted annuals.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Willow Field in May

The willow field in May looks so different from the harvest months just a short time ago! At this stage growing stems are visible, but floral buds are months away! The cold nights just a week or so ago damaged a few of the cultivars; their soft growing tips felt a hard May frost in the Litchfield Hills! If the tips do not fully recover, they will have to be removed to encourage new healthy growth of side shoots.

Here a few shots of the field, before last week's planting of additional species. Also included are the growing stems of the beautiful black pussy willow just short shoots now.

Plastic mulch for annual crops!

At the Community Farm of Simsbury (CFS) site First Bloom Farm (FBF) has incubator farmer neighbors! Here are few shots from early this week of plastic laying with my neighbors and the farm director on site. My neighbors are organic veggie growers who have a few crops in the field. Everything is new here- new equipment, new field, new tractor driver- new experiences!

Soon FBF's Dahlias and annual seed crops will be in the field- where they belong!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's new? More land! at the Community Farm of Simsbury

First Bloom Farm LLC will be taking on additional growing spacing at the Community Farm of Simsbury (CT). The site once the pasture area for a dairy farm, has now the dual purpose of farm-based education center and the incubator farmer project. FBF will be using the site for the production of annual crops (non-winter-hardy). More to come...!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Willow Sold Out for Spring 2010!

We are officially sold-out of all catkin producing "pussy willow" for this spring! Next year there will be an even bigger harvest with new varieties!

Now onto summer crops- flowers, foliage and grasses!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market, Litchfield, CT

Thanks to all those who visited the First Bloom Farm Stand at the Litchfield Farmers' Market yesterday. Braving the rain and taking home willow must be a sure sign of Spring!

Friday, March 5, 2010

CitySeed Farmers' Market- New Haven, CT

Come and visit FBF tomorrow, Saturday 3/6/10, from 10-1 at the CitySeed Farmers' Market in Wooster Square, New Haven ,CT. The sun will be shining! For directions visit:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Yes, they're locally grown in CT!

I've had several people ask me "where do your willows come from?".... The answer is the First Bloom Farm field in Northfield, CT ! Here I have pictures posted of harvest on 2/17 for market.

We harvest, grade and bunch these specialty willow stem-by-stem to bring you the best quality.

Delicate and Giant Willow Varieties Available

Delicate catkins (approximately 0.25 inches long) (top photo) are prolific and dense along slender tan stems with purple tips. Available stems range from 1.5 feet to 6 feet.

Huge catkins (maximum size 1 to 1.25 inches) (bottom photo) are produced along long straight stems are a dramatic way to welcome spring. Available stems range from 2 feet to 5+ feet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frozen Farmers' Market- New Hartford, CT

It's official, spring is coming!
Cold, wind, and ice weren't enough to keep hardy New Englanders away from the Frozen Farmers' Market last Sunday in New Hartford, CT. On the contrary, spirits were high and attendees were happy to see the classic sign of spring- pussy willows! Many bunches were carried away by happy customers from the market to vases in homes across the Northwest corner. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Modern & Beautiful Willows for Spring '10

These pics are of the beginning of forcing for the willows harvested about one week ago on 2/4/10. Included are a few shots showing the variety and variation between cultivars.
Please contact me for sales availability . All stems are at least 18 inches in length, some varieties may be cut longer if desired.

Photos numbered top to bottom:

photo 1. grey catkins (about 0.5 in long), on purple stems with waxy bloom.

photo 2. typically catkins are black in field with reddish-brown stems. Here, after forcing at room temperature catkins shown develop a blood-red color with black tips.

photo 3. A sampling of willow shows range of color and stems shape.

photo 4. not for the faint-of-heart with beautiful flatten, fused stems culminating with a modern twist.

photo 5. Another shot of the range in color and shape.

***Still to come- close-ups of the small delicate stems and the largest of the all, with huge silver-grey catkins still developing at forcing temps***