KDA celebrates Kentucky’s growing flower industry
Kentucky Grown Cut Flower Month celebrated in July
FRANKFORT (July 8, 2022) - Fresh flowers can brighten up any summer day by bringing a little bit of the outside, inside. This month, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Horticulture Council (KHC) celebrate the third annual Kentucky Grown Cut Flower Month.
“Flowers grown in Kentucky offer just a piece of what makes Kentucky beautiful,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Bringing that beauty inside your home, your business, or adding fresh cut flowers as the centerpiece to your summer events celebrates what Kentucky’s farmer-florists provide for consumers. You can find a variety of summer flowers at your local farmers’ markets or by visiting a local flower farm.”
This is the third annual Kentucky Grown Cut Flower Month co-hosted by KHC and University of Kentucky Horticulture Extension Agents. Each day features snippets on how Kentucky’s farmer-florists make their products available to customer through farmers markets, on-farm sales, pop-up shops, CSA deliveries, and other initiatives. During July, the Kentucky Horticulture Council features the special beauty of cut flowers and growers across KHC’s social media channels.
“I’m glad that we have designated July as the month for celebrating specialty cut flower production in Kentucky and spotlighting growers producing these magnificent blooms” said Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County horticulture extension agent. “Kentucky cut flower growers offer a wide variety of unique plant material from fresh to dried in the form of buds, flowers, stems, colorful budding branches, seed heads, and stalks throughout the different growing seasons. There is always room on your table to have fresh, locally grown flowers!”
“Selling through local retail and wholesale markets can be profitable for small to large scale Kentucky cut flower growers,” said Cindy Finneseth, KHC executive director. “We continue to see high demand for locally-grown products in both urban and rural areas and our flower farms are growing high quality, diverse products to meet that demand.”
Although about 80 percent of cut flowers are imported for U.S. markets from countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, and the Netherlands, Kentucky farm conditions are well-suited for high-quality commercial production of cut flowers. The commonwealth is home to more than 125 commercial cut flower operations. The number of farmer-florists continues to increase each year, with a 20 percent increase since last year. The current market value for Kentucky’s cut flower operations is nearly $700,000 annually.
“It has been great to see the growth that cut flowers have had in the recent years among Kentucky’s horticulture industry. No longer are we seeing just a few zinnias at a farmer’s market booth, but an increase in commercial farms, solely dedicated to producing cut flowers and making a living doing it,” said Alexis Sheffield, Boyle County horticulture extension agent. “Kentucky is home to some large-scale farms that exemplify the diversity of agriculture across the state.”
Consumers can purchase and enjoy Kentucky grown flowers almost all year long. The KHC and local UK Horticulture Agents have partnered with the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification (CCD) to help consumers find Kentucky farmer-florists. This map displays many operations across Kentucky, with details about where to find products (https://uk-horticulture.github.io/KY-Cut-Flowers/).
“We invite all Kentuckians to explore the many local cut flower growers in their area to see what services they offer and to find ways to purchase locally-grown floral products when celebrating future events, programs, graduation, parties, and weddings,” Hildabrand said.