The Wonderful World of Peonies--From Alaska

american growers floral education Aug 21, 2018

Following up from my recent Alaskan adventure, I wanted to share some information that I gleaned from my retreat on the farm of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska.

Beth and Kurt Van Sant own acres of peony fields that they have planted themselves. From clearing the land to preparing the ground with the nutrients it needed, they found themselves immersed in the world of growing peonies! Its harvest is only for three months out of the year, although the farming of them takes many more months of planning, babying the plants and taking care of the many tasks that will await them from July-September!

There is a crew that arrives in the summer to help them through harvesting so we can get these fantastic blooms to design with! Who knew that Alaska would provide the ultimate climate for these blooms to thrive during months of the year that no florist could procure these highly sought-after beauties? From around the world, people are clamoring for their blooms to get to wholesalers, grocers, floral designers. It's quite amazing.

While at the farm, our group was able to be a part of helping with harvesting, which included grading as well as recognizing when the peony bloom was at the perfect point of harvesting. They could start early in the morning and go through the fields getting blooms to process and get in the cold room, turn around after lunch and find a fresh crop of blooms ready to harvest again! 

Once harvested, they are brought into the pack house to look for any imperfections, grading, separating, and whisked away into the cooler to keep them at their peak performance before shipping. 

Early (and I mean early!) the next morning, Beth and her crew at the pack house, filling orders, packing the boxes and preparing them for a trip to FedEx or the airport.

And, voila! the next day it's to your studio. Yep, just like that! We can enjoy the sweetness of these fantastic blooms in our shop within days of cutting. You know you want to get some, right?

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