Last year, the staff of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau began working with and getting to know local farmer, Melrose Haas.
Melrose is not a tobacco farmer or cash crop farmer...she grows flowers in the Brogden Community on Melrose's Farm, 4 miles east of Smithfield (near Ava's birthplace). In a very short time, Melrose has realized a dream to grow the flowers she loves and see the joy of many residents, brides and visitors from around the state that want to utilize locally grown products.
We love all things local in Johnston County...from strawberries in the spring, flowers all summer, blueberry picking, and a fall season full of sweet potatoes or pumpkins. Farming is our heritage and more and more visitors are discovering why we love our land, the simple joys and sometime heartaches of farming and the bountiful fruits of our labors.
Melrose, like so many of our agri-tourism friends in the county, summed up our corporate philosophy so simply we wanted to share it:
"Many thanks for embracing my passion for the farm, and supporting my efforts. I am busy, tired, and excited all in the same moment, which is a bit much even for me. I'm just thrilled to have ya'll on my team. Makes me smile...so much thanks for all you do."
Below are the news bits from Melrose's newsletter...so we thought we would share what's happening on the farm with our online community. Don't miss the opportunity to meet the wonderful farmers and local food product companies here in Johnston County. This is the first blog in a series so you can meet the farmer's we love in Johnston County!
Melrose’s Farm: Bucket Club Subscription
During 2011, my first season, I offered a bucket club subscription to a few businesses, and personal friends of the farm. It was a way to get my flowers out in the public, and get valuable feedback. From the favorable reports of 2011, I am expanding my bucket club subscriptions for 2012.
Here are the details: I will deliver to your office or home (within 10 miles of farm, or on flower route schedule) a bucket of fresh cut flowers approximately every two weeks during the months of June-October. The price range of the flowers will be $22-$40 depending on varieties, and quantities. It will be plenty for a huge arrangement or several small bouquets. You supply the vases, and I will put the arrangement together, or deliver and leave them in your bucket for you to arrange. I have found that many customers enjoy placing the flowers in their new home. And that businesses like for me to arrange for them. Of course, you can add or make adjustments, depending on availability, and calling/emailing me ahead of time. And of course you can come out to the farm, and buy direct. It is best to call me to make sure I am at the farm. I am often out making deliveries, or selling to local florists. I am hoping to have 20 bucket club subscriptions for the 2012 season, and appreciate all the positive encouragement I received during 2011. I think the best comments from 2011 included: “long lasting flowers, so fresh and fragrant, thanks for showing the farm in operation.”
-If you pre-pay for the season, I will add “extra” flowers, and the fee is $280 for the season. This should be 2 deliveries per month, for 5 months, at an average of $28 per bucket of flowers.
-You can pay bi-weekly or monthly, from the invoice left on previous delivery.
Farm News 2012:
WOW! What an exciting start for 2012. With the warm winter, and the additional flowers I have added this season, I am eagerly awaiting a generous offering of flowers this year. I have added snap dragons, dahlias, new hydrangeas, more tuberose, tons of lilies, plus others. I have been cutting a few stems of larkspur, and dianthus, and peonies. Every day, I see more showing signs of blooms. Soon, we will have glads, dahlias, lilies, and more lilies, and lots of sunflowers. We plant a bed of sunflowers every week. We have 6 beds already started.
- I am selling to most of our local florists, and appreciate customers asking for my flowers with their florists. Word of mouth advertising has been the best source of growth at the farm.
- The farm is open, and I am away at times making deliveries, and sales. This year I am officially opening the farm on Thursdays (beginning June) from 4pm till dark. This is an opportunity to come out and buy direct from the farm. Please bring your bucket to transport your flowers, or I can wrap them for you. And you can always call or email me ahead of time, and pick up your flowers any day of the week.
- I have several weddings already booked, and like the DIY bride. I am a better grower, than designer, and I like to work with designers, and local florists.
Flowers In June:
I am having Shane Smith from The Vine and Branch in Four Oaks out to the farm for a flower arranging event. You are invited to bring out your favorite vase(s), pick your flowers (value $20, or add on and make it bigger) out of the cooler and/or fields, and work with Shane to make an arrangement to take home. The price is $25 and up, depending on the size of the vase. It is an evening of fun at the farm. Date is set for June 12, 2012, from 6pm till everyone is full of flowers, information, and education. There is a limited number if slots for people to come, so call me to confirm your reservation for this event.
Summer Solstice Event
June 20th, 2012 5pm till dark. This is an annual event here at the farm. Come out, take a walk around, enjoy a cool beverage, and bring all your friends. This is for anyone interested in seeing a flower farm in operation, and for anyone who loves flowers.
Evening with Tuberose
In July, we will have an Evening with Tuberose. The date is set for 7/17/2012, a Tuesday evening. They are the most fragrant at dusk, and can be intoxicating. I will leave a bed of these flowers for us to enjoy the blooms, and you can take some home, to share with those you love, or bring them with you. Price not set yet.
We have been busy getting ready, and planting, and weeding, and working on a new field. Thanks for the support. Please share this with flower lovers.
Melrose Edwards Haas
3299 Brogden Road
Smithfield, NC 27577