Flower Power: Visiting Golden Russet and Understory Farm

Zinnias at Understory Farm

We set out on a (very sunny) August morning to visit with two of our farms to see how the flowers are growing, introduce some of our staff to local farming, and take a tour of the fields! We try to visit each farm we work with personally to slow down, take time to make connections with our farmers, and to show our staff where our produce and flowers come from.

Our first stop was at family-owned Golden Russet Farm on a beautiful and very warm morning. Judy and Will have been stewarding the soil and producing delicious veggies and “Golden Russet” garlic since the 80s, and they are happy to be working with their daughter Pauline. The family also grows many beautiful flowers, including several types of sunflowers (that tower over us all), gorgeous rusty amaranth, many types of zinnias, delicate snapdragons, and even fragrant purple basil, to combine into rustic and elegant bouquets. We were surprised to learn that in spring they grow thousands of bedding plants, and in fall if they are lucky they make small batch cider from their apple trees. We have bought their perfect veggies for many years, and look forward to more amazing bouquets with every new season.

Pauline with some of the sunflowers at Golden Russet Farm
Garlic hangs from the ceiling to dry
Camron from our Produce Department points out the Golden Amaranth
Buckets of flowers waiting to be made into bouquets

From there we went to visit new friends and operating family Jessie, Gregory, and Sawyer in Sudbury, VT. At Understory Farm they grow some things we’ve never seen before, like dark purple shiso (that still hasn’t flowered!), tricky to grow eucalyptus (a fashionable must-have) and tiny gomphrena, which look like spiky clover flower pom poms. They especially love large dahlias, whose petals are very attractive to pests, and since they don’t use any chemicals at all, they grow these just in a greenhouse to protect them as best they can. The tour ended on Gregory and Jessie’s porch, where we were treated to a round of ice cold water infused with plants and herbs like chocolate mint and hyssop.

 

Our Produce Category Manager Ashley tours the flower fields with Jessie from Understory Farm
Gomphrena in an array of colors, used for fresh and dried flower bouquets
One of the many dahlias being grown in the green house at Understory Farm
Flowers hang to dry in a green house
Ice cold water infused with edible plants and herbs

Not only are we lucky enough to work directly with so many local family farms to bring food and flowers to our communities, we’re also able to bring members of our staff out to visit these farms. Thanks again to Pauline at Golden Russet Farm, and Gregory and Jessie of Understory Farm for taking time out of their days to show us around.