Establishing Your Sales Channels As A Flower Farmer

If you're interested in becoming a flower farmer, you need to determine your sales channels. Here are some of the more popular outlets for cut flowers.

by Austin Graf
PHOTO: vermontalm/Adobe Stock

The flower farming movement has been generating more and more momentum. And with that momentum, more farmers, market gardeners and entrepreneurs are opening up their flower farms for business. With so many new flower farmers entering the market, it can feel tough to establish yourself among the competition.

Flower farms are setting themselves apart with branding and marketing. But perhaps the most critical distinction a flower farmer can make is their choice in sales channels. Not all flower farmers target the same markets for their business, and here are just a few of the most popular and successful sales niches in the flower farming industry.

Cut Flower U-Pick

Flower farms across the country are opening their doors to guests. Agritourism is nothing new, but cut-flower u picks are becoming an increasingly popular choice. Some farms choose to focus on single varieties, such as mass plantings of tulips or sunflowers. Other farms are taking a more comprehensive approach and planting large varieties of flowers, allowing guests to pick and design their own flower bouquets.

Many of these farms also charge photographers for photo sessions and will often host special events and workshops  on the farm. These flower farm u-picks can greatly increase profits while also decreasing labor costs, as the end customer is also cutting the  flowers themselves.

Farmers Market

This is the traditional small-farmers sales outlet, but farmers markets can be excellent places to build a customer base for your flowers. Consider growing more spring crops and entering the farmers market earlier in the season, when there is less competition from other cut flower farmers.

A combination of mixed bouquets, a few arrangements and some single stem (buy by the stem) options would make a nice display and offer your customers variety.

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Flower CSA

Flowers CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture, are increasing in popularity with customers enjoying the “earthy” and “wildflower” aesthetic touch that fresh cut flowers bring to their homes. CSAs are basically selling a subscription service from the farm.

Supporters buy in at the beginning of the season with a lump sum payment. Then they receive a weekly, biweekly or sometimes monthly bouquet of flowers. These can be wonderful sales channels for flower farms as they provide investment capital at the beginning of the season.

CSAs do have some drawbacks and can lock you into fulfilling large volumes of bouquets weekly all season. While that may sound great, being paid for all of these bouquets upfront can cause some cashflow issues throughout the season.

Florist Sales

Florist sales can be an excellent sales channel for a flower farmer. Florists can take large volumes of flowers all at once, and they do not require designing time or bouquet creation. You simply harvest, process, and send the flowers to the florist. Retail florists often will take regular weekly orders, and event florists may have standing orders as well as large volume special request orders.

Florist sales may seem most intimidating to begin with but can offer some very stable cash flow for beginning flower farmers. Florists often enjoy the quality and seasonality of local flowers, and typically they are enthusiastic to find a stable local supplier. With that said, wholesale orders require larger volumes of production and therefore can be a challenge for beginner growers.

Overall, there are countless innovative and unique sales channels that can turn your cutting garden into a flower farm business. Sometimes focusing on one primary sales channel or multiple complimentary sales channels can be beneficial to flower farming. But whatever you choose, be sure to consider your competitors and current market demand.

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