Farm turns love of flowers into blooming local business

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another installment in a series of columns to run weekly highlighting the area’s agricultural community.

BOONVILLE — Hi! My name is Nicole Pitt, and I am the founder of Flower Hill Farm.

This is my third season growing and selling fresh cut flowers on our 20-acre property.

Wait? Farming flowers? What’s that about?

Well, I grow dozens of specialty cut flowers in farm fashion. This is not gardening or landscaping, I produce stems in high production to provide local flowers from field to vase. I also offer our stems to local florists as well as straight to our customers.

I have a Weekly Bouquet CSA Membership (sold out for 2021) where our members get fresh flowers weekly! There is a farm pickup and a Rome delivery option. Perhaps my favorite way to sell the flowers is at our Bouquet Bars here at the farm.

Later in the season when the flowers are abundant, I open our wrap-around porch and invite customers to build their own bouquets and pay by the stem. It’s an amazing way to interact with fellow flower lovers! I am a first generation farmer, but I’ve loved to grow flowers and vegetables since I was a child, inspired heavily by my grandfather, Gabriel Ciotti of Rome. In my former role as a local television news reporter/anchor at WKTV, I told stories from dozens of farms around central New York.

It is my mission here at Flower Hill Farm to educate our customers on the importance of buying local. I think we’ve all heard and understand why local food is important, but people might not think about where their flowers are coming from. As of today, up to 80% of cut flowers sold in the United States are flown in from other countries. This was not the case just a few short decades ago. Right now there is a trend to bring the floral industry back to our soil.

My local flowers are free of chemicals, last longer and leave a smaller footprint on the ecosystem. You can follow along with the progress of the farm on social media. We have an active YouTube channel with 25,000 subscribers from around the world, building a pretty special flower friend community. Join us!

We are also a licensed nursery and have vegetable seedlings available through May, including the coveted San Marzano tomatoes. When not hosting a special event the farm doubles as our private residence and is closed to the public.

— For comments on this series, e-mail Sentinel photojournalist John Clifford at jclifford@RNYmedia.com.

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