New York Flower Farm Products 

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The New York Flower Farm will specialize in growing organic high-value cut flowers and woody ornamentals, 100% native to the United States, and sold to directly from the farm to visits and for weddings, or sold remotely to event planners, designers, wedding and event venues, restaurants and institutions. We'll sell flowers during the summer and woody ornamentals during the winter and more specifically, for the holiday season. 

On top of these speciality products, The New York Flower Farm will offer pick-your-own options to visitors. Our largest crop will be blueberries from a pre-existing 5 acre blueberries field. Over time there will also be raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, chokeberries, concord grapes, paw paws, persimmons and a small orchard of apples, plums, cherries, peaches, pears and apricots for guests to choose from. 

To learn more about our cut flowers, woody ornamentals and the market sourrounding them, scroll down or click buttons below to skip a section.

 

Cut Flowers

In our first season we will focus on growing Helianthus anaulas (the common sunflower) in huge swaths of 40 acres or more. Incrementally we will then diversify, starting with "proven winners", other native plants whose flowers are highly desired and used widely in the industry. These include: Liatris spicata (Prairie Blazingstar, cultivar 'Callilepsis') Solidago canadensis (Goldenrod, cultivar 'Golden Baby') and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed). 

The University of Wyoming Extension publication indicated specialty cut flowers were some of the most profitable crops growers can produce, with yields as high as $25,000 or $30,000 per acre,

 

Flower details and value

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Sunflowers / helianthus species
 

Helianthus anaulas, the common sunflower, have endless cultivars, many of which will make great cut flowers. They're annuals (hence the Latin name) so require crop rotation and replanting every year. Sunflowers can be a great pick-your-own option on the farm, sold wholesale or retail in bouquets. They can also be grown (like the image to the left) in masses for commercial oil pressing or to make bird seed. If you grew this many sunflowers for cut flowers, you'd have to cut them down before they fully flower, which would prevent the spectacular display. Even if a large field is grown for oil, it can generate spectacle capital. Money can be generated from visitation, photoshoots and weddings and is an organic add for the business.

Sunflowers should be planted when there is no more risk of frost in spring, and then incrementally every week until mid-summer, as to have continuous flowering plants till the first frost. Non-branching, single stem, single flower verities are the top choice flower for growers because they have long stems and require less time to mature and flower from seed. Growing them close together will help the plants create longer, sturdier stems that are more manageable in terms of dynamiter for bouquets. 

There are many native perennial sunflowers that we will experiment with. These are multi-stemmed and produce dozens of small flowers. Once established they come back every year with no care and are highly beneficial to pollinators and birds like finches. 

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Harvest time: mid summer to late fall 

Target Market: on site customers, retail to restaurants, floral designers, event planners and wholesalers as cut flowers or for oil production.  

Value: wholesale $1.50-$2.00 a stem. Retail $3.00-$4,00 a stem. 3 stems for $8.00-$10.00 and a dozen at $36.00-$45.00

 

Prairie Blazingstar / Liatris spicata

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Prairie Blazing Star (A.K.A. Liatris) is unique for its use as a cut flower and is relatively new but widely spread. We often use it in our landscaping jobs and find that it is very poplar as a native plant for pollinators. What is most striking about it is its color and form, bright purple and wand like. It is a great edition to any bouquet.  

The number one used cultivar 'Callilepsis' has more consistent flower forms with longer stems. Liatris produces little tubers or corms which they can cultivated from. Corms are planted approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the soil line. Spacing recommendations vary, but typically eight 8 to 10 cm corms are planted per square foot.  

Inflorescences should be harvested when approximately 1 inch of the upper flowers have opened. If they are to be held or shipped long inflorescences, one-quarter inch of the upper flowers should be fine.  

According to the most commonly used U.S. grading system, superior grade Liatris have a stem length of 26 to 30 inches, fancy grade A stem lengths are 22 to 25 inches, and utility grade have short stems of 18 to 21 inches. 

Like the sunflower Liatris have many verities which over time we will experiment with and introduce to the market. Rocky Mountain Liatris as you can see to the left, are a favorite for Monarch Butterflies).  

Harvest time: mid summer 

Target Market: on site customers, retail to restaurants, floral designers, event planner and wholesale as cut flower.

Value: wholesale $1.50-$2.00 a stem. Retail bumble of five $12. bundle of 10 $21

 

Other key cut flowers

 Goldenrod 

Goldenrod 

 Asters 

Asters 

 Coneflower

Coneflower

 Bee Balm 

Bee Balm 

 Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed

 Black Eyed Susan 

Black Eyed Susan 

 False Indigo

False Indigo

 Phlox

Phlox

 
 
 
 

 Woody Ornamentals 

 

 

Does money grows on trees,? It certainly does in the woody ornamentals industry. Woody ornamentals are shrubs and trees with aesthetic value used for decoration and for displays. What is so fantastic about this commodity, is it's complete sustainability. By producing biannually and for many many years, some woodies live longer than humans. It also has a reliably steady economy attached to it because the products produced go hand and hand with winter holidays. New York City has a huge appetite for them, buying and selling them all year round. Below are two proven winners Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and Winter Berry (Ilex verticillata) both with high demand and the ability to produce consistently for many years with minimal cost. They to are also native and are beneficial to the environment so you can't loose. 

Woody ornamentals: details and values

Pussy Willow / salix discolor

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Pussy willow blooms in March and April. It likes wet soil and full sun, both of which we can provide on our farm. It is easily cultivated for cuttings, by simply putting cutting in moist ground.

The plant produces its showiest catkins on every second years growth, so harvesting should be alternated. When catkins swell and bud scale drop in late winter, it is time to harvest. If picked at the proper stage the stem can last 12-15 days (but stems can make excellent dry flowers). Stems are usually cut long, at 33 inches or more.

For dried flowers, wait until catkins are fully emerged from bud scale before pollen begins to form. Remove from water and place in dry cool room. Buds are delicate and can easy fall off (consider safe containing for shipping and sales)

Harvest time: late winter / early spring. 

Target Market: Great for any display or decoration year round. Home owners and designer, high end. Prime holiday would Easter. 

Value: Wholesale 100 stems can range from $70-$150. Retail around $3 a stem, dozen $30. (more market research is needed, focus on NYC prices)

 

 

Winter Berry Ilex verticillata 

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Winter Berry will be a big crop for us, planted in wet sunny areas, ditches, trenches, and low fields. They need 1-3 males for every 10 females, and make sure to match male and female cultivars that bloom at the same time (some bloom early, some late - all flower early, to mid summer). Winterberry is medium to slow growing, but with good conditions who knows. It should take some time to get nice long stems so harvesting will probably need to be every 2-3 years per plant but we'll ask a winterberry farmer about their routine.

Winterberries should be harvested in early winter before they get damaged by too many frosts and eaten by birds. Their ideal for the holiday season. Stems should be treated like anything else in treated water but can be sold as dried ornamentals (berries will become prune-like and less attracting. You can always tell they're old when in this condition). 

Harvest time: late fall / early-mid winter

Target Market: Home owners and designers.

Value: wholesale $1,50 a stem (more or less), Set of three $10-$15. Dozen $40-$60 or more. 

 

 

More Woody Ornamental Options 

Pussy Willows and Winter Berries will be our main woody products because consumers know them well but there is a cornucopia of other species to choose from with equal or higher retail value. Investing in this diversity will not only make our farm more dynamic visually but protect us from the risk of one species not producing well in a given year. It also gives our customers more options and allows for a more efficient harvest rotation.  

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Prunus

Species in the prunus family can make great forced bloom stems. Orchard verities of plum. peach and apricot work well (sweet cherries don't seem to work well for force blooms but can be cut in spring). A great idea is getting stems from orchards that do prescribed pruning (worth exploring). Then in terms of native prunus this would need to be explored. Blossoms form usually on previous years growth so cuttings like the willow will be to performed biennially. 

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Most prunus can be harvest as tight buds, with very little color showing or when buds have swollen and show signs of flowering. Either way, cut and immediately place in water with flower preservative. Place these cutting in a cool *bright room. Stems harvested in mid-winter can take 2-3 weeks to flower. Stems harvested in late winter may take only 7-10 days to flower. Stems will last in vase for more than two weeks,  

Harvest time: mid and late winter

Target Market: High end interior designers, art directors, wedding planner, event planners, restaurants and wealthy home owners. 

Value: wholesale (probably not worth it) Retail 3 branches can easy go over a $100. 10 branches $300 + (this really depends on the market niche you tap into)

 

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SnowBerry / Symphoricarpos albus

Snowberry is a unique North American shrub with white fruit in fall, Its easy to grow and produces in its first year of growth, white snow like berries. These make great ornamentals and can be added to flower displays. 

Pick when fruit in plump. Stems should last in vase for around a week. 

Harvest time: fall

Target Market: an additive to bouquets. High end interior designers, art directors, wedding planner, event planners and restaurants. 

Value: retail only. Used as added value for bouquets and wreaths

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American bittersweet / Celastrus scandens

American Bittersweet is a sprawling view that can be grown like grapes. What is so desirable about this plant is the hard red fruit that slit out of yellow pods, As a vine it can easily be twisted around wreaths and added as a decorative element. 

Harvest time: fall

Target Market: an additive to bouquets. High end interior designers, art directors, wedding planner, event planners and restaurants. 

Value: retail only. Used as added value for bouquets and wreaths

 
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American Beauty Berry / Callicarpa americana

American Beauty Berry is wonderfully unique. In late summer if produces these amazing bright purple berries which can be used in all sorts of arrangements. I was surprised to see a large scale arrangement of these at the London Art Fair Frieze. What doesn't get picked as products will be left behind for birds which eat them as they migrate south for the winter. 

Harvest time: late summer, fall

Target Market: an additive to bouquets. High end interior designers, art directors, wedding planner, event planners and restaurants. 

Value: retail only. Used as added value for bouquets and wreaths

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Hydrengea  / Hydrangea arborescens

Hydrangeas are a garden favorite and make an excellent woody ornamental, either for displays or bouquets. We will grow our Hydrangeas along our woodland boarder where there is to much shade to grow other plants. 

Harvest time: summer

Target Market: an additive to bouquets. High end interior designers, art directors, wedding planner, event planners and restaurants. 

Value: retail only. Used as added value for bouquets and wreaths

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Market Research

 
 Cut Flower Industry 2002- 2015

Cut Flower Industry 2002- 2015

Cut Flowers: The wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers is $374 million for 2015, up 3 percent from 2014. California's value is $294 million, accounting for 78 percent of the total cut flower value in the 15 State program

Source: USDA

-The US flower and ornamental plant market was valued at wholesale by USDA at USD $4370 million in 2015, showing a 4% increase with respect to the previous year.

-An estimated 6000 producers of flowers and ornamental plants are in operation, of which about 2600 report annual sales over US $100,000 and presently concentrate in 15 states.

-California is the leading state followed by Florida (together they comprise 49% of the industry). Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio follow in importance. These 5 sates take up 69% of the total. 

Source: USAID

 

Flower Industry Statistics 

  • Value of the global floral trade industry $104,825,000,000
  • Annual U.S. spending on floral products $26,600,000,000
  • Total value of cut flower sales $7,500,000,000
  • Percent of flowers sold in the U.S. that are imported from other countries 80 %
  • Total number of florist establishments in the U.S. 16,182
  • Average annual sales per florist shop $322,331
  • Total number of people employed in the floral industry 83,208
  • Total number of wholesale florists in the U.S. 530
  • Total number of floriculture growers in the U.S.6, 948
  • Percent of flower purchases used for home decorations 36 %
  • Percent of all flowers grown for sale that are discarded before they are ever sold 45 %

Consumer Flower Buying Trends and Statistics

What is being purchased? 

  • Outdoor bedding / Garden plants 46 %
  • Fresh flowers 34 %
  • Flowering / Green houseplants 20 %

Who is making the purchase?

  • Women 79 %
  • Men 21 %

Who are the flowers being purchased for?

  • Self 63 %
  • Gift 37 %

What occasion are the flowers being purchased for? 

  • Christmas / Hanukkah 30 %
  • Mother’s Day 24 %
  • Valentine’s Day 20 %
  • Easter / Passover 13 %
  • Thanksgiving 6 %
  • Other 7 %

Source: Statistic Brain

 

Total Wholesale Value: The total wholesale value of floriculture crops sold by operations with $100,000 or more of sales in the 15 State program is $4.23 billion for 2015, up 3 percent from the revised 2014 total. These operations account for 97 percent of the total value of $4.37 billion in floriculture crops, but comprise only 44 percent of all producers. California accounts for 25 percent of the total wholesale value in the 15 State program. Florida ranks second with 24 percent; while Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas round out the top 5 each accounting for 9 percent, 5 percent, and 5 percent of the total, respectively. 

 https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub3580.pdf

https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub3580.pdf

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Woody Ornamentals 

- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture recently did a detailed study of the profit potential for just one woody species, willow, and concluded that smaller plots of 1/4 to 1 acre could produce a return of up to $56,000 per acre.

- Because demand for woody ornamentals is increasing, there is an opportunity for new growers to start producing woody stems on a small scale and cash in on that demand.

- Shipping woodies is expensive, and can often damage delicate buds and flowers, in addition to reducing vase life. That’s why florists and other woody users prefer to buy local to insure freshness and higher quality.

Source: Profitable Planet Digest 

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Holiday retail profits and production has been rising since 2000 and a large portion of the market its decorations which include woody ornemenatals. 

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The New York Flower Farm