Experiencing the Joy of Iowa-Grown Flowers

Lindsay Millard
Lindsay’s Flower Patch
Orange City , IA
My name is Lindsay, and I'm the owner of Lindsay's Flower Patch, a u-pick flower farm, located south of Orange City. I love sharing the beauty of flowers and of Iowa with all ages. I just completed my first season of selling flowers and have dreams of expanding my business in a variety of ways.
I set out to start my business as a way to connect myself, my family, and people in northwest Iowa with nature. I love watching the joy that flowers bring to people of all ages. One of my favorite things is watching people come to my farm, walk the flower fields, and create their own unique bouquet. I've always been a lover of all things Iowa, and especially the unique tourist destinations we have in our state. My husband and I love exploring backroads and hidden gems around Iowa. I want to add a unique experience to our corner of the state - to be a place where people come to soak in the beauty of Iowa. A recent customer commented, "This place makes me happy."

More than 80% of flowers sold in the US are grown overseas. This fact alone is staggering. There is a growing local flowers movement around the country, and I want to be part of that. The flowers I grow are the flowers of yesteryear. They are those that I remember in my great grandparent's garden. Visitors are continually amazed at their uniqueness and beauty. There are so many of my flowers that people have never seen or even heard of before.

I am one of only a handful of flower farms in Northwest Iowa, and the only one that allows visitors to pick flowers themselves. I have found a unique niche in the market. This summer, I sold flowers via u-pick, at the Orange City Farmer's Market, bouquet subscriptions, and special orders. I hosted a variety of special events as well and designed and grew flowers for a wedding. I had visitors from a radius of 40 miles. I hope to expand that radius next year through more marketing and possibly selling at bigger/additional farmer's markets. I advertised mainly through Facebook ads this year. To keep my startup costs lower, I started all of the annuals I grew from seed.

An area that I would like to expand into is spring bulbs. Given my proximity to Orange City and its Tulip Festival held every year, I feel as though there is a great opportunity to sell tulips and allow visitors into my fields. There are currently no fields of tulips for people to view and pick from. This would be another unique niche in the market.
As mentioned in my business model, I love sharing Iowa-grown flowers with others. In order to continue to grow unique flowers, I need to start these types of flowers from seed. Currently, I'm limited in my seed-starting space and by the growing season. I would love to purchase a greenhouse to be able to start more seeds. This would in turn, allow me to expand my fields and the variety of flowers that I offer. A greenhouse would also allow me to extend the locally-grown flower season. I could offer a wider variety of flowers through more months of the year. I would also use the award money to finish installing a commercial grade cooler that I purchased last winter. I'm running out of cooler space, and end up losing product in the field because I'm unable to properly store it for market.

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