KDA celebrates Kentucky’s growing flower industry
Kentucky Grown Cut Flower Month celebrated in July
FRANKFORT (July 6, 2023) – Fresh flowers can brighten up any summer day by bringing a little bit of the outside in. This month, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Horticulture Council (KHC) are celebrating that fact with the fourth annual Kentucky Grown Cut Flower Month.
“Kentucky grown flowers add to the beauty that is our great state,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Bringing Kentucky-grown flowers inside your home, your business, or adding it to your summer wedding celebrates what Kentucky’s farmer-florists provide for consumers. Stop by your local farmers’ market or visit a local flower farm to find the best Kentucky has to offer.”
This event is the fourth 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 more. To celebrate the special beauty these farmer-florists produce, each day in July, the Kentucky Horticulture Council is featuring cut flower growers across KHC’s social media channels, primarily on a dedicated Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kygrowncutflowerpromo.
“July is a great month to shine the spotlight on Kentucky’s cut flower industry! Growers throughout the state are very creative in how they their bright magnificent blooms to consumers,” said Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County horticulture extension agent. “You simply can’t go wrong with fresh locally grown flowers!”
“Cut flower production can be profitable for small to large scale Kentucky farms,” said Cindy Finneseth, KHC executive director. “Consumer demand for locally grown products is high in both urban and rural areas. Our flower farms are growing a range of exceptional quality products to meet that demand.”
Most – about 80 percent – of cut flowers are imported for U.S. markets from countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, and the Netherlands, yet Kentucky farm conditions are well-suited for high-quality commercial production. 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 in just the last year. The market value for Kentucky’s cut flower operations is now almost $700,000 annually.
“In the three short years July has been recognized as Kentucky Cut Flower Month, we have seen incredible growth and support for locally grown flowers,” said Alexis Sheffield, Boyle County horticulture extension agent. “Growing cuts has been a great way to introduce new, young people to farming and we have seen established farms begin to diversify their operations for both increased profits and ecosystem benefits. There are a growing number of florists who have started purchasing local blooms and cooperatives formed to support both the farmers and the florists. I am eager to see what another three years will do for this growing industry!”
Want to connect with a local farmer-florist? KHC and local UK Horticulture Agents have partnered with the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification (CCD) to make a map available that displays many operations across Kentucky, with details about where to find products (https://uk-horticulture.github.io/KY-Cut-Flowers/). The map doesn’t include every operation in Kentucky, so keep your eyes open - there may be flower farm very close to you.
“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.
To follow the cut flower month promotional activities, visit Facebook (@KYHortCouncil), Instagram (@KYHorticulture) or Twitter (@KYHorticulture).