LaOtto, Ind. (WANE) – The slow start to planting season has had an impact on a local flower farm, but this impact may surprise you.
Susan and Tom Bandor, the owners of Black Creek Ridge Flower Farm, are beginning another season of flower farming. As one of northern Indiana’s only working flower farms, the couple has made a living out of growing and selling their own flowers. The flower farm was born out of a trip to the Fort Wayne Farmers Market where Susan and Tom made a great profit from the flowers they sold.
The flower farm is a part of a movement to grow flowers locally and organically. Importing flowers mean the flowers are transported on cargo ships for around one week, have been grown using chemicals to keep them alive longer, and are distributed to wholesalers and florists before the public is able to buy them. By growing the flowers locally, their product is of higher quality and is better for the environment.
The couple bought a fifth generation farm in Noble County and have since transformed the property into the flower farm and added an event center called the Madison Rose Event Center. This allows them to host events all throughout the year, including graduation parties, weddings, funerals, corporate parties, and more. The business is located about 15 minutes to the north of Fort Wayne. The couple has repurposed a lot of the material from the original farm. Their flowers are sold to the public, wholesalers, florists, and used for events.
The property has a flower studio, a greenhouse, and a walk in flower cooler. This cooler keeps the flowers fresh without the use of chemicals. The couple begins the season in March by planting their baby flowers in the greenhouse. Tulips and daffodils are the first to bloom in April into May. Then the couple transfers the baby flowers into the field by hand, beginning around May 10th. The perennials and annuals will gradually bloom through June, July, and August. The property will then remain in full growth through the fall before the growing season ends. For winter events, the couple does import some flowers.
The cold weather this spring has actually been a benefit compared to last year. The tulips and daffodils bloomed quickly last year, then it turned cold and snowed. The couple had to build caterpillar tents over the flowers, in order to prevent the heavy snow in late April from breaking the stems of the flowers last year. They had to store as much they could in the cooler for a longer period of time as well.
They both stressed how atypical this year has been, as normally some growth has happened so far. However, they are grateful it has stayed colder and a warm spell has not been followed by a cold spell, like last year.
The couple has been a little late though in planting all of the baby flowers in the greenhouse this year, due to a family tragedy and the weather. They just finished the planting a few weeks ago, thanks to help from the community.
Overall, the business has not been impacted as much by the pandemic and other issues because the flower farm creates opportunities for family photos, couple photos, and the event center has made people excited. They are unique, small, intimate, and in the quiet country. This business model has proven very effective; the couple strives to maintain a 1850s farm homestead environment for visitors.
Susan and Tom say the price of flowers depends on the type and occasion, but most go for between $5 and $250. If you are interested in learning more and planning a visit or event, visit their website here.