Cut flower growers’ conference set for March

businessFive years ago, the U.S. Census of Agriculture estimated that the number of Virginia cut flower producers had jumped from 117 in 2007 to 227 in 2012.

Even more producers have entered the field since then, raising flowers for the floral bouquet market.

The 2019 Cut Flower Growers Conference on March 13 and 14 at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center will offer newcomers and experienced growers a chance to learn more about cut flower opportunities.

Raising flowers has many advantages for small-scale producers, according to Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach program. They’re a high-value crop that can be raised on a small footprint, requiring only a few people to raise them. And if growers use a high tunnel or a greenhouse they can sell their products year-round.

“Around here in Southside Virginia, flowers are like vegetables. People like what they know and grew up with,” noted Amy Carwile, co-owner of Archlynn Farms in Charlotte County. She and her husband grow fruits and vegetables, and in 2018 she added cut flowers to the mix. “I like to grow pretty flowers, ones you can take home, put on a kitchen table or share with your friends,” Carwile said.

Jessica Hall, master grower and designer for Harmony Harvest Farm LLC in Augusta County, said farm-fresh flowers are a “great way to marry agriculture with the niche market of cut flowers.” She and her mother, Chris Auville, started their cut flower business in 2013. They sell their flowers nationwide and to the Whole Foods Market chain.

Details about the 2019 Cut Flower Growers Conference are available at

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