Despite the cold February, Amanda Miller of the Chesapeake Gold Farm in North East Cecil County, Maryland, is already in high spirits.
“I’m a little different,” she said. Additionally, our tall tunnels are not heated. It has a solar panel that powers a fan (Fan) that forces air between two layers of plastic, creating a bubble of insulation that keeps the inside warm. ”
Miller’s cut flower varieties include ranunculus, eustoma, snapdragons, and foxgloves.
“They’re fine in our zone. They’re not tropical, but they do need protection in the winter.”
In addition, she also produces early rows of both peach and yellow sunflowers in her greenhouse.
The inside of the greenhouse is made of soil arranged neatly on a small hill, and mushroom compost is spread over it.
“It’s old alfalfa soil and very fertile, so you don’t have to work with the soil too much. But our soil is a kind of heavier clay, so we add compost to make a good bed for planting.” I did,” Miller said.
Her goal is to start selling her cut flower business early so that customers can buy flowers such as ranunculus and tulips for Easter. Then the early spring flowers are in full bloom for her Mother’s Day.
In addition to the 30-by-96-foot greenhouse, Miller has an additional 1.5 acres of plants outside.
Miller said she started cutting flowers in 2020 for her own wedding.
“I’ve always grown vegetables in the large garden on the farm, but when I started growing flowers for my own wedding, I was hooked,” she said.
In addition to her cut flower business, Miller is the marketing manager for the family’s cheese, yogurt, butter and meat business (all sold under the Chesapeake Gold Farms label).
“I quit my full-time job to become a farm marketing manager, and I love it. I needed a creative outlet and the flowers gave me that,” she said.
After growing all the flowers for her own wedding in 2020, Miller decided to venture into the cut flower business.
“My first year wasn’t great, and word of mouth increased with local friends and farm customers,” she said. So it really took me some time to research and educate myself about this new business.I took a few classes, joined a professional cut flower growers association and got into big business planning mode. We then launched in earnest in 2022.”
Miller started selling at two local farmers markets, arranging bridal party flowers, bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres and wedding wreaths. She also taught flower classes and more on the farm.
“Weddings are a lot of fun, but they can also be a little stressful because I’m a type A and I want everything to be really perfect for my bride,” she said. “I’m going to emphasize it a bit, but it’s gorgeous together.”
At farmers markets, Miller sells flowers in two different sized wrapped bouquets.
“Farmer’s markets are great for word of mouth business. When I sell someone a bouquet, they often come back when they need flowers for other special occasions. Bespoke bouquets for bridal showers and I created a sympathy bouquet based on those pre-orders.
Miller doesn’t employ employees, so he does most of the work himself. But last year, she was able to take advantage of an intern at a local high school’s technical program.
“It was great. The students I did the internship with were studying horticulture at university and were very interested in learning business. Having them for a few months definitely helped.” rice field.”
Miller does all the marketing for Chesapeake Gold Farm’s business, so adding the cut flowers she offers was a no-brainer.
“Our outreach is for the entire Chesapeake Gold Farms customer base,” she said. “People can see everything we offer in one place: dairy, frozen beef, flowers. (both internally and externally) to reach out to customers. It has been very successful and a lot of fun.”
Miller’s latest venture is what she calls “Flower Happy Hour,” which takes place every Wednesday from May to September from 5-7pm. Guests bring their own vases and choose from “stembars” (flowers pre-cut in buckets) to create a bouquet.
“They’re priced per stem, so people can make the bouquet as simple or as fancy as they want,” Millers said. I am paying between
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I enjoy doing it.”