a very ‘slow’ valentines day…

As hard as it is to resist the urge to organize a 2nd annual pop up featuring unspeakably gorgeous locally-grown flowers for Valentines Day, buying directly from the local farmers who are working hard to produce gorgeous blooms just in time for February 14th, this year Molly Oliver Flowers will be forgoing the February flower frenzy to channel energy into some other exciting directions and mainly get our asses in gear for a dynamic year. The big news is I’ve just moved into a new studio in South Slope, Brooklyn! In between home improvement DIY projects for the sweet new spot, I’m gearing up for our first weddings of the season, Open Houses at some awesome Brooklyn venues like Brooklyn Winery and 501 Union, plus the usual marketing, bookkeeping, dreaming and scheming.

Instead of hawking local Anemone and Ranunculus this February, in the coming days we’ll be posting tips on our Facebook feed to direct you and your sweeties towards locally-grown flowers in NYC and beyond. To kick off our pre-Valentines Day slow flowers advocacy, here’s a great piece that helped raise awareness about making a conscious choice on Valentines Day 2015, by Sarah McColl: Thank you Sarah! http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/02/12/sustainable-valentines-day-flowers.

A pic from last year’s Valentines Day pop-up at Erica Weiner Jewelry:
VDAY sneak peak

In other wintry news, I’ve been chipping away at my 2016 flower crop planĀ  — I manage a 1-acre urban farm called The Youth Farm where we grow 3,000 sq. ft. of cut flowers, the city’s largest urban cut flower plot — and crazy but true, seeding this year’s Foxglove, Delphinium, Snapdragons, and Sweet William begins next week. Lucky for these beauties, they’ll have a cozy home up in The Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop greenhouses until nighttime lows hit the 50s this spring. At that point, they’ll head to The Youth Farm and continue their incubation in our unheated hoop house. Seed orders were placed in December and boxes from Johnnys Seeds, Fedco, Gloeckner, Geo, and other companies have piled up in the hall much like a snow drift against my apartment door. Applications are nearly all in for the Urban Farm Training Program I lead, and the anticipation of launching into another year of teaching and building more community through farming and flowers is a sparkly shimmer on the horizon.

But. For now, I’ll enjoy my tea and crop planning by my non-working fireplace. That uber-hectic time of working 7-day weeks, farm-wedding-farm-wedding, is thankfully and necessarily not quite here yet. Between the steady, quiet, indoor office work of farm planning, supply ordering, apprentice hiring, business planning, meeting clients and booking weddings and events, I’m feeling full of gratitude for the very decent bits of living and stillness winter affords. I’m milking these months for the opportunities to drink coffee in bed for a full 10 minutes at 7am, to catch a movie at BAM, to meet a good friend for a pedicure, try a new recipe from an actual cookbook while wearing cozy fleece slippers, read a great novel (instead of emails) on the train, to get to a yoga class with my favorite teacher – or just not just around and stay in. Hope you’re all savoring and enjoying the hibernation months as much as I am…whether it’s slow food, slow flowers, or slow business… I am embracing all aspects of SLOW this February.

In fact, on Feb. 14th, my man and I will bitter-sweetly head to Brucie for their farewell Valentines Day dinner/funeral (sob). Of all the little red-door’d restaurants, red (or hot pink) – lipped, spandex one-sy-clad chef/owners, and DIY-red wallpapered kitchens, Brucie (and owner Zahra Tangorra) had my heart. Not only did they serve the best damn food in Brooklyn — when I asked Zahra, a complete stranger, back in 2011 if she’d buy locally grown flowers from me (my inuagural season at the farm), she without hesitation said YES!. Can’t wait to see what that brilliant, vivacious, and extremely lovely lady does next…follow her now @_highfivegirl_ .

XOX
Molly

 

looking back, looking forward…

Molly Oliver Flowers had an exciting and rewarding fourth year. Thank you so much for being a part of it! As a small business, run by two working urban farmers, our company received more interest than ever before and we really reveled in the process of designing with locally grown blooms, sourcing always from our favorite local farmers, and watching their own spirits rise to see such increased interest in their products. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see a hardworking farmer see their work valued. We also connected with several new local flower farmers who began delivering to Brooklyn – yay! Thank you, Tiny Hearts Farm and Butternut Gardens!

We’re setting our sites on a bigger and better 2016, and hope to grow and improve a LOT.

As you may know, I’ve been managing a 1-acre urban farm, the Youth Farm, since 2011. I’ll be working less at The Youth Farm next year, stepping into more of an advisory/support role, and continuing to train new farmers through our Urban Farm Training Program. This farming season has been so rewarding – farming and teaching others gives me a high that’s tough to match. It’s really pure joy to see others sow their first seeds and watch them sprout; to hammer out some transplanting math or build a compost pile. Growing farmers gives me hope for our future.

However, being a farmer in the city requires ingenuity and I’ve been able to make it by designing flowers for weddings. I grew up with an insanely creative mother, an artist and volunteer florist for our church. I inherited from her a love of design and of composition, of reveling in textures and colors and shapes, and so the floral design becomes a natural outlet for that creative urge.

In order to strengthen Molly Oliver Flowers, I need to hone some more design skills. I’ve been farming for 10 years, designing for four. And it’s time to dig in deep and GROW. A big, yet exciting change! Part of growing and getting the word out about what we do, is launching a new website we’ve been working on that will share more about who we are, and what our philosophy is. So stay tuned, and thanks for bearing with our old website:)!

Cheers!

Introducing our New Logo!

MOF_612x237_RGB_black_on_white

Introducing….. our NEW LOGO!! This has been a labor of love for us. Choosing an image we connect to – and even a font, proved to be more of a process than we imagined. Featuring a whole plant as something beautiful felt natural and important; as farmers, Red Clover is an important winter cover crop responsible for housing nitrogen-fixing Rhizobia on its roots, a boon for soil health. Ultimately we opted for Molly’s handwriting paired with a drawing of red clover by Molly’s mom, Mary. Our friend and graphic designer (and lovely part-time Greenmarket flower seller) You Young Kim rendered our work into a logo combined with the classic serif font Adobe Carlson Pro. Thank you Mary Culver for your dedication and drawing skills, @Howard Hebel for scanning the drawings, @Barbara Sullivan for your initial critique, and many friends who helped steer us towards the final product with your input.

Proud florists for our farmer friends at the National Young Farmers Coalition: Winter Supper Event!

NYFC
We’ll be bringing the best of the local blooms for the National Young Farmers Coalition’s benefit at the Wythe Hotel tomorrow night! As farmers ourselves, we are so happy to support the amazing NYFC, which is working hard to push policies in Washington that help support young farmers: to create tax incentives for agricultural land owners, to increase access to land, and a campaign for student loan forgiveness for beginning farmers. #farmingispublicservice