Posts Tagged “#mayeshtakeover”

Interview: Sarah Pappas of Fresh Cut Detroit

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

This week, we had our first ever farm Instagram takeover with the lovely Sarah Pappas of Fresh Cut Detroit. Sarah took us on a two-day flower adventure, telling the story of her Detroit based farm, introducing us to her crew, and sharing her philosophy on sustainable farming practices. Sometimes it can be easy to forget all of the blood, sweat, tears and love that go into each beautiful flower you see in our buckets, so we can’t thank Sarah enough for using our platform to share her knowledge and spread some flower love (and during American Flowers month, nonetheless!)

 

Though we learned a ton during the takeover, we still had more questions, so continue reading to get to know even more about Sarah & Fresh Cut Detroit!

 


 

Hi Sarah! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions so our followers can get to know a little more about your farm after this week’s takeover! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how Fresh Cut Detroit came to be?

Hi Mayesh, thanks for letting me take over your IG feed! I’m Sarah Pappas, the farmer & founder of Fresh Cut Detroit, a flower farm in the city of Detroit. I’ve been doing farming & gardening work in some shape or form for over ten years. I’m a hardworking, fun loving, compassionate, ambitious farmer. I value a give-and-take relationship with my land, my crops, and my crew.

I’ve had a lucky, interesting life that’s given me a world of experiences in farming & gardening, education & empowerment, community living & loving. Fresh Cut Detroit Flower Farm is the product of these experiences plus the vibrant, pulsing moment of time & space that is the city of Detroit’s urban agriculture movement. I wouldn’t trade this space & time for any other in the world.

 

Tell us a little bit about your operation – where are you located and how big is your farm? A little virtual tour!

Fresh Cut is ¼ acre on a corner at the edge of the historic residential neighborhood of Woodbridge. We’re a couple miles northwest of downtown Detroit, a short walk from the campus of Wayne State University. You can see our hoophouse from a block away, and as you approach you start to see the bright colors of the annuals in the west beds. Our farm dog Ruti will bark at you as you walk along the fence, under the big elm tree that keeps our house cool, and to the east beds where our earliest self-seeded annuals & biennials are planted. The east beds cozy up to a wild woodlot area where we forage crops like motherwort, dame’s rocket, and wild sweet peas.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Do you have a team helping you out at Fresh Cut Detroit?

I have a lot of people helping at the farm, thank goddess. This year, on our crew we have an assistant manager, a design/delivery person, 2 farm crew members, and 2 youth crew members. Detroit has a historic, thriving Urban Agriculture community and my skilled labor is hired from this pool of local people. My crew members have completed agricultural training programs through Earthworks Urban Farm, Detroit Black Community Food Security Farm, and Keep Growing Detroit, and volunteered at the Student Organic Farm at MSU.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

While growing flowers and owning a small farm sounds like a fairy tale job to many, I’m sure not everyday is as glamorous as it appears! It’s hard work, but probably very rewarding as well. What gets you out of bed every morning and inspires you to keep going everyday?

You’re right, it’s absolutely not glamorous every minute, but a cute apron and big earrings can do a lot for this farmer’s outlook on the world.

Early in the morning, I love the special feeling of reviewing the field before a harvest. I feel proud of the beautiful array in front of me that I’ve helped bring into the world. What inspires me to keep going is my crew and my community. I’ve created something that other people care about, and that gets them paid and builds on their skills & interests. It’s a demanding, but such a compelling and rewarding life to be a flower farmer & small business owner.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

How many flower varieties are you growing at any given moment?

About 200 varieties are growing at any given moment on the farm… we like to keep it diverse! We’re playing more and more each season with complimentary co-plantings to maximize our bed space – millet & sunflower, peony & centaurea, motherwort & monarda.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Here’s a toughie, but you knew it was coming! What is your favorite flower to grow? How about to design with, if different?

I’ve been a true blue #1 fan of snapdragons since I was a little kid. I remember my grandma showing me how they open their mouths to ROAR when you pinch the blossoms… plus, they’re great for planting multiple successions to keep them blooming all season long. They’re my favorite to grow, in that they’re totally indispensable.

As for my favorite flower for designing, since I make so many bouquets in-hand, having a good branchy base to start with is paramount. These days, having a nice strong Salvia ‘Cardonna’ to start with helps a bouquet come together quickly.

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

Tell us a little bit about your weekly bouquet service… it seems like a great way for you to get to flex your creative design muscles and get to play with all of your gorgeous blooms!

The weekly customers are the heart & soul of the business. Their support through 20 weeks of bouquet subscriptions gave us the foundation to establish a weekly harvest, design, & sales cycle even when we were starting out. Some have been with me for years, and their flower knowledge & design eye is off the charts. From each week’s harvest, we play, and each bouquet gets a flavor of its own – hot mamas, big sprawling clouds of grasses, cool delicate posies… It’s so fun!

 

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

Fresh Cut Detroit Mayesh Instagram Takeover

 

When we interviewed Michael over at Summer Dreams Farm, he told us a little bit about the flower farming scene in Michigan. It really seems to be a great community with lots of local growers popping up! Can you tell us a little more about what’s going on in the world of flowers in Michigan?

Absolutely. The Michigan Cut Flower Growers Coop has just begun, and it’s already cooking. The market runs every Wednesday morning out of Passionflower Sue’s studio in Ann Arbor. Cut flowers are a powerful, lucrative agricultural product and I’d love to see them continue to grow in prominence in the state of Michigan’s agricultural profile. In the near future, I see even more growth in partnerships between rural & urban growers.

 

Supporting local growers and educating people about what you have to offer is so important, and these days it seems like awareness is really spreading! Tell us a little bit about your experience and/or involvement with the American flower farming community.

My path to the American flower farming community ran its way through diverse organic vegetable production farms.  These farms are run out of passion, love, and a commitment to cultivating beauty & diversity that serves the innate strength & interdependent web of which we are a part.

 

Mayesh Instagram Takeover Fresh Cut Detroit

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions about your farm! One final question – is there any advice you would go back and tell yourself when you first started Fresh Cut Detroit, or that you would give to farmers just starting out?

Always value your time! Pay yourself. If you’re in  a business or farming arrangement where you’re being paid less than ideal, identify how you’re building equity & savings for your future self to cash in on when you’re ready to move forward. Invest in yourself through professional development, and take care of your body with good health, sleep, nutrition, and relaxation.

 

Professional photos by Emily Berger

 

 


 

 

To see the rest of the takeover images, head on over to our Instagram, and be sure to follow @freshcutdetroit as well to keep up with Sarah and the farm!

Interview: Bloom Babes

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Last week, the two Southern California best friends that make up Bloom Babes took over our Instagram feed! They filled it with bright, tropical blooms and beachy, laid back vibes. It was pretty awesome, and if you didn’t catch any of it you can check it out here.

Now that we’ve seen their gorgeous work, let’s get to know the dynamic duo a little bit better! Emily took some time to answer a few questions about their business and what the Bloom Babes are all about. (above photo: @reamazonas)

 

So to start out, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves, and how you found yourselves in the flower business! 

I was going to college and Angie was working as a waitress, both of us not super stoked on our paths that were being laid out, I think we both knew there would be a better option for us. I grew up in a family with strong floral and artistic ties, so being a florist was always in the back of my mind; Angie grew up spending most of her free time in nature and also had an innately keen eye for design. With both of us having a main goal of surfing every morning, a conventional job was kind of out of the picture. So to piece these details together, we both ended up getting jobs at flower shops, from there we had several friends ask us to do their wedding flowers (free of cost), we happily agreed and we LOVED the work. Bloom Babes was born when we left the flower shops in 2014 and has just continued to grow from there!

 

Working with your best friend sounds totally awesome, but must come with its own set of challenges. What is your favorite part about working with your bestie, and what things do you have to work on to keep a good balance between being friends & business partners?

Working together is exactly like what I imagine a marriage to be like. We love each other enough to work through our differences; we have had to learn how each of us communicate so to create a better working environment. We are able to share our highest highs and our lowest lows, something that truly we are only able to understand together. I love having a support in difficult situations, I love having someone take over a bouquet that I am struggling with, I really can’t imagine doing this job alone– as we all know it is MUCH more difficult than anyone would give a florist credit for. Props to the ladies who are doing it by themselves!! We make sure to spend time as friends too to keep the work balance flow : we surf together and travel together often 🙂

 

How would you describe The Bloom Babe’s style?

Ever evolving!! We like to be perfectly balanced in an unbalanced way, and we love playing with different styles!! We have been known to do the more modern tropical look, the bright fiesta look and lots of fun florals. But in our hearts we actually love plants as decor, and we love the old European garden style!! 

 

Top photo: @meganwelker  | Bottom photo: @heatherkincaidphoto

 

You seem to be inspired a lot by the ocean and nature – how do you think those elements show up in your work?

Maybe more in an abstract way; Angie and I have been personally affected by the combination of our two great loves (surfing and florals), in that the lessons we learn from both play off each other and have allowed us to grow in our skills. Failure is mandatory for growth in surfing and failure is mandatory for growth in floral design. Learning how to cope with our mistakes, and keep progressing despite the seemingly slow improvements is something that we have to learn in both realms, so the two skills don’t seem so different when compared on this level. In terms of combining the two passions on a more physical level, we can say that our floral design vibe is much more relaxed and free flowing– probably due to all of the salt water in our system 🙂

 

Photos: @kara.donovan

 

What trends do you see happening in flowers right now?

I know that the bigger the better has been on a high as of recently, however I think the trends will begin to taper down in size and style. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more minimalistic florals with smaller bouquets. Lot’s of white and very muted colors!

 

Photo: @elysewhall

 

Let’s talk tools – favorite florist tool, and favorite app you use in your business, be it social media or business organization? Instagram counts, but if there’s anything else you’re utilizing, we’d love to hear about it!

Favorite tool? Well how can I mention anything other than my trusty clippers? I don’t leave my house without them, I carry them in my purse and keep a pair in my car, because you never know what you might come across while driving down the street!! Our favorite business organization has been Honeybook; they keep everything organized and without them we would have no idea what to do!! We use Instagram as our main outreach to our community, I can’t believe how instrumental it has been for a “blooming” business.

 

What is your favorite or most memorable event or shoot you have been apart of?

Neither of us really expected Bloom Babes to be the business that it is today. The opportunities that have been presented to us have been crazy in very unexpected ways and we are so grateful and so stoked to have this life. I feel like we are in the right place at the right time with our business, and I couldn’t feel more empowered by it. Specifically partnering with Billabong last year has been the highlight of our awesome surprises, probably because we got to experience a direct connection between our two passions.

 

 

What is one piece of advice you’d like to go back and tell yourselves during your first year collaborating and designing together?

Honestly, I can’t imagine having it any other way than it was! I think we learned everything so organically and made all the mistakes when we needed to (and are continuing in this growth pattern) and thats how and why we have grown into the business that we are today! I don’t think I would tell ourselves anything, I am more than happy to have had to figure this out on our own.

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