Quail Hill Farm | Meet Your Farmer | Sarah Bush

July 17, 2017

Sarah Bush

Quail Hill Farm

Quail Hill Farm Flower Production Manager

Greetings fellow lovers of fields and forests, food and flowers: it is a joy to return to Quail Hill Farm for another season, as the flower production manager! Farming is a second career for me, one that I embraced after working in my home state of Tennessee as a floral designer and event planner. It has taken me on a wonderful journey across the country and back, making new friends and learning how to farm in various climates.

In 2011 I left Tennessee for the Alaskan tundra to grow food for a backcountry lodge. After three seasons of gardening under the long arc of the sub-arctic Summer sun, wilderness hiking, and getting my fill of wild blueberries and mosquito bites, I moved to California to attend the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. While there I met CASFS alum and Quail Hill Farm manager Layton Guenther and a handful of former QHF apprentices. Their stories of working and learning on the East End beckoned me back East. I had a magical 2016 season coaxing abundant crops from the velvety loam with my friends, singing and hoeing, learning to operate tractors, meeting the community and exploring this area’s unique ecosystems and waterways.


Flower arranging at Quail Hill Farm

My coworker Kat and I also had fun working with the flower crops. While she worked with local florists to create wholesale accounts, I streamlined the mixed bouquets for market and local establishments, and we provided floral designs for on-farm events. Scott and Layton are flower lovers as well; Layton always has a posy or two tucked into their hat, and Scott sneaks rows of cosmos, sunflowers and calendula in among the vegetable crops wherever he can. In creating the flower manager position for 2017 they saw the potential for flower sales to help bolster the financial bottom line for a vegetable operation. I welcomed the opportunity to nurture plants and work in a land-based teaching environment while coming full circle to my roots in design.

I love sharing the beauty and benefits of locally grown, organic flowers with my community. They are important elements in farming and in human culture, providing habitat for the predatory insects that protect our food crops from pests, and food for the honey bees who pollinate our vegetables. Flowers have long played a role in human ritual and ceremony. They express our love and our condolences, commemorate celebrations, and brighten our everyday living spaces.

Unfortunately most of the blooms sold in the United States are imported from farms in South America with deplorable labor practices and habitat destruction. As with my food farming endeavors, I am proud to provide an alternative to corporate, industrial agriculture.

This year at Quail Hill Farm we have expanded our flower production both in diversity and acreage. Members can harvest a more diverse selection of blooms from Birch Hill and the Valley.

Both members and non-members alike are also welcome to purchase hand-tied bouquets designed by our flower team, or a pre-harvested bulk bucket to arrange throughout their homes as they choose.

The selection is Farmers’ Choice, with ten stems each of five to seven varieties, for $45. Please consider using local blossoms for your summer gatherings, gift-giving or home beautification, and feel free to come visit me in the flower fields!

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