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  • Gina Strathman

Newsletter: July 2020

"What a year, huh?": the way I'm starting most conversations these days, this newsletter being no exception. 2020 has thrown us all for multiple loops, though I'm grateful to be discovering many silver linings in it all. This Leonard Cohen quote keeps popping into my mind: "There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." We're still making things happen at Blue Leg Farms, imperfect as they may be, and are occasionally even adopting new and better ways of doing business because of the "cracks" in our foreseen plans for the year(s?). We've launched an online shop, fundraised for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Black Family Land Trust, quadrupled our farmer's markets since last year (more on our exciting fourth market addition below!), and are expanding our cut flower program.

Before I elaborate on flowers, I should introduce myself properly: I'm Gina. I own Papaver Flower Co., a floral design studio specializing in sustainable, garden-inspired design for weddings and events. Will is my partner (newly engaged!), so I've grown flowers in some capacity alongside his veggie operation forrrrr six years (?). I currently have a small flower field at Blue Leg Farms where I grow an assortment of interesting flowers and foliages for use in my design work. As you might imagine, events have been mostly cancelled or postponed for the entire year, thus, so has the majority of my typical work (the cracks!). Florists, as non-essential businesses, are scrambling to reinvent themselves in light (see that?) of the crashing market.

The lack of event work has allowed me to turn my focus to the flower field, which had previously been somewhat of a side project. I've switched gears and am mostly flower farming for Blue Leg Farms this year, while my design business sits on the sidelines but continues to carry it's few wonderful accounts that have weathered the storm and remained open. It's weird and messy, yes. Financial impact and state-of-the-world stress aside, I'm actually enjoying the ride. I'm realizing that sending mixed bouquets of our farm-grown product to farmer's markets and grocery stores really does something for my soul; knowing they'll find their way into someone's home to evoke joy, or be gifted as a token of love, at a purchase price that won't break the bank. It's opened my eyes to the possibility of growing the cut flower program at Blue Leg Farms to be a larger, more profitable part of the farm's wholesale business. This strange time has been a hard reset for so many of us with our big ol' trained capitalist mentalities, shining a harsh light on the discrepancy between our hearts and minds. And that's about where I'm at: scheming, dreaming, hustling, stumbling, not really sure of anything yet. Anyone else?

If you've started to see our mixed bouquets around and have brought one home: thank you! And thank you to the markets that have been stocking our Papaver Flower Co. X Blue Leg Farms bouquets: Miracle Plum, Community Market, and Other Avenues.

Currently, mixed bouquets might include a variety of the following:

  • Sunflowers

  • Marigolds

  • Cosmos

  • Orlaya

  • Scabiosa stellata

  • Amaranth

  • Mint

  • Celosia

  • Strawflower

  • Coreopsis

  • Zinnias

  • Definitely a few signature Papaver Flower Co. foraged grasses (some might call them "weeds")

On deck for mid-late Summer!:

  • Dahlias!

  • Rudbeckia!

  • Yarrow!

  • Oregano!

  • Bee balm!

  • Echinacea!

  • Sea Oats!

  • Chrysanthemums!

In other news, we'll be adding a fourth farmer's market to our weekly schedule: the Marin Farmer's Market on Sundays at the Civic Center! We're VERY excited to bring our A game to this market (the third largest farmer's market in California!). You'll find our flowers there, in addition to the full veggie bounty. Mark your calendars: Sunday July 26th will be our very first appearance at the market! We'll see you there, masked and physically distanced.

Thank you all, for being there to catch us when we leap in faith. That's farming in a nutshell, afterall. We wouldn't be here without you, and we are so grateful. Gina & The Blue Leg crew

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