2024 Regional Conferences

Scaling Up Your Cut Flower Operation

Educational Sessions and Tour of Clara Joyce Flowers

AUGUST 27-28

Given the wide geographic stretch of the ASCFG North and Central Region, we are offering two Regional Conferences. We’re thrilled to share that one of this event will be hosted by Drew Groezinger of Clara Joyce Flowers in Stockton, Illinois, and that all educational offerings are built around the theme of, “Scaling Up Your Cut Flower Operation.” Attendees will enjoy a farm tour, educational sessions and workshops, and dedicated time to network with other farmers.

Space is limited. Don’t wait to register!

Maximum number of attendees: 160

Please note, Regional Conferences will not be recorded.


DAY ONE: August 27 – Educational Sessions

Clara Joyce Flowers
13493 E. Blair Hill Road, Stockton, Illinois

About Drew Groezinger and Clara Joyce Flowers

Drew Groezinger owns and manages Clara Joyce Flowers, which grows specialty cut flowers and dahlias for wholesale cut flower production as well as for tuber sales to other farmers, gardeners, and dahlia lovers nationwide. The farm’s cut flowers and foliage are sold to local wedding and event designers in the Chicago and Madison areas, shipped nation wide, and are used in their own wedding and event designs.

 

 

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

Drew Groezinger
Clara Joyce Flowers
Amanda Cook
ASCFG North and Central Regional Director
Steven Crone
ASCFG Executive Director

Continental breakfast and lunch included.

8:30 – 9:20 a.m.

Profitability for Cut Flower Farmers

Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm and Floral Design

B-Side Farm and Floral Design is an Oregon flower farm and education hub started by Lennie Larkin. B-Side Flower Farm grows unique flowers and designs wild, artful bouquets and hosts floral workshops and farm dinners. Lennie also works with new farmers on their business skills and in this session, she will provide an overview of how to evaluate a cut flower operation for profitability. Attendees will leave with new ideas and strategies to apply to their own farms.

About Lennie Larkin

Lennie Larkin started B-Side Farm and Floral Design after falling head over heels for flowers. She came to farming and flowers from a background in adult education. Naturally, B-Side Farm has quickly become an educational farm where Lennie not only grows and designs with flowers, but teaches others how she’s doing what she’s doing. B-Side Farm workshops are designed to meet every student where they’re at and encourage them to dive a little deeper into the world of flowers – whether in the garden or design studio. The B-Side Blog is a growing resource for both of these arenas.

Lennie recently launched Flower Farming For Profit, an online educational portal for cut flower farmers and gardeners. There Lennie offers three main types of workshops: Live in-person workshops and retreats, live online courses (Zoom, with benefits), and live on-demand courses (lifetime access, purchase and watch anytime). While she’s taught on all subjects farming, flowers, floral design and weddings, she specializes in topics of efficiency and profitability (sustainability for the farmer!), sales strategy, bookkeeping, and business planning for the flower farmer. While everyone all loves flowers, the goal is to empower students to love the other sides of the business as well. In 2024, Lennie published Flower Farming for Profit, a distillation of her knowledge and expertise on these matters.

 

 

10:30 – 11:20 a.m.

Enterprise Budget for Cut Flower Farmers

Steve & Gretel Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm

The enterprise budget analysis process is an essential process for a fiscally healthy business and in this session, farmers will learn how to keep crop sales and expense records, receive an overview of the step-by-step enterprise budget analysis process, and techniques for improving cut flower profitability.

About Steve and Gretel Adams

Sunny Meadows Flower Farm was established in 2006 by Steve and Gretel Adams. They both found a deep passion for farming and a strong drive to make their business the best it can be. Being first generation farmers, finding mentors to learn from has become an important part of how they’ve built Sunny Meadows. Once the farm began growing, Steve and Gretel immediately fell in love with spreading the joy of flowers. Starting by selling straight bunches of flowers (mainly sunflowers and zinnias), they soon started making bouquets, and that’s when the obsession with flower artistry really began. They realized they could create a botanical adventure by using what’s seasonally in bloom, making the weekly bouquets ever-changing. Sunny Meadows has multiple sales outlets, and focus as a business on both production and specialty crops.

 

 

10:30 – 11:20 a.m. 

Star Valley: How One Flower Farm Grew over the Decades

Phil Mueller of Star Valley Flowers

Join Phil Mueller as he shares the origin story and journey of the renowned Star Valley Flowers throughout the decades.

Star Valley Flowers started out small on two acres in 1986. Owner, John Zehrer, had always had a love for horticulture and the early crops, including sunflowers, zinnias, ageratum and amaranthus, were sold at farmers’ markets. This provided John with a base income that enabled him to branch out and try more unusual plants. He added willow varieties, hydrangeas, lilacs, bittersweet, peonies and more. Then in the late 1990s, John convinced longtime friend Phil Mueller to move from Puget Sound in the Northwest to join him again on the farm. Star Valley Flowers quickly gained a reputation as a source for hard-to-find and novelty items.

Today, with 165 acres in production and with Chicago as the primary transportation hub, they ship products as far west as Honolulu and as far east as Boston. They are the largest entirely field-grown cut flower producer in the Midwest – with no greenhouses, minimized fossil fuel use, and stringent soil conservation practices for the region’s hilly terrain. Star Valley’s customer base includes floral wholesalers, retail grocers, garden centers, floral designers, landscapers, and event planners. Well over 150 acres of the farm are planted with deciduous shrubs such as spirea, lilacs, hydrangeas, snowball and cranberry viburnums, numerous willows, twig dogwood, Ilex verticillata, mock orange, ninebark, forsythia, and our ever-popular bittersweet. 

About Phil Mueller

Phil Mueller is the Sales and Marketing Director of Star Valley Flowers. With 165 acres in production and with Chicago as the primary transportation hub, Star Valley Flowers ships products as far west as Honolulu and as far east as Boston. They are the largest entirely field-grown cut flower producer in the Midwest – with no greenhouses, minimized fossil fuel use, and stringent soil conservation practices for the surrounding hilly terrain. Star Valley’s customer base includes floral wholesalers, retail grocers, garden centers, floral designers, landscapers, and event planners.

 

 

Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Lunch 

Lunch is included with your registration.

1:10 – 2:00 p.m.

H2A Programs for Flower Farmers

Steve & Gretel Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm

Steve and Gretel Adams will discuss their long standing experience with the H-2A temporary seasonal non-immigrant visa program. The discussion will address criteria to qualify for the program, discuss on-going compliance requirements, and go over the benefits and liabilities of the program.

About Steve and Gretel Adams

Sunny Meadows Flower Farm was established in 2006 by Steve and Gretel Adams. They both found a deep passion for farming and a strong drive to make their business the best it can be. Being first generation farmers, finding mentors to learn from has become an important part of how they’ve built Sunny Meadows. Once the farm began growing, Steve and Gretel immediately fell in love with spreading the joy of flowers. Starting by selling straight bunches of flowers (mainly sunflowers and zinnias), they soon started making bouquets, and that’s when the obsession with flower artistry really began. They realized they could create a botanical adventure by using what’s seasonally in bloom, making the weekly bouquets ever-changing. Sunny Meadows has multiple sales outlets, and focus as a business on both production and specialty crops.

 

 

 

2:10 – 3:00 p.m.

Developing Systems for Farm Employees

Joe Schmitt of Fair Field Flowers

In this session, Joe Schmitt describes the development of his farm systems for training employees. Most of his current systems, especially after downsizing in 2006 because of an ill-timed triple bypass, were designed for Joe to work solo but could be applicable to both a single super-employee or a small crew. Prior to 2006, he had a crew of 3-4 high school students working both in the field weeding, cutting, and, later, on bouquet assembly. Attendees will receive practical advice and recommendations on developing their own systems.

About Joe Schmitt

Joe Schmitt is a 3rd generation grower whose grandparents left the Rhine Valley in 1906 to work in the first carnation greenhouse range in the U.S. They later had greenhouses of their own in Bayport, Long Island, at the time the heart of the largest flower growing region in the country, serving the New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington wholesale markets and beyond.

Joe’s parents, early converts to organic farming methods in the Fifties, relocated to Delaware where the family had five acres of field production, serving the same East Coast markets with annual cuts, focusing heavily on Celosia. Joe ended up in Wisconsin, gravitated to the CSA scene there, and spent 20 years growing several acres of flowers from 80,000 home grown plugs, and marketed through CSA shares, too many unavoidable weddings, and primarily by bucket runs to fifty or so retail shops. Retired since 2017, he now does any damn thing he wants, focused largely on growing veggies and flowers. And no weddings.

3:10 – 4:00 p.m.

Beyond Peonies – Other Perennials You Should Grow

Dave Dowling of BallHort Color Link

Everyone knows they should be growing peonies, but what other perennials should you grow? There are many other options besides peonies that make great cut flowers. Learn about some old time favorites, and some others that may have you asking: “Really, that’s a cut flower?”

About Dave Dowling

Dave Dowling owned a cut flower farm in Montgomery County, MD for 20 years.  With field, high tunnel, and greenhouse production, Farmhouse Flowers & Plants produced cut flowers year-round. Most of the flowers raised were sold at farmers markets, including two year-round markets in the Washington, DC area.   Flowers were also sold direct to retail florists and Whole Foods Markets. Working with two other farms, a marketing coop, Capital Flower Growers, LLC, was formed in 2013. 

Early in 2014, Dave closed his cut flower business and began working for Ednie Flower Bulb, which became a division of Fred C Gloeckner & Co. in 2016.   Gloeckner was acquired by Ball Seed in late 2020. Dave now keeps busy as part of the Ball ColorLink Sales Team and working behind the scenes with the Ball Seed Cut Flower Department.  His duties at Ball also include being an advisor to cut flower growers across North America with small to medium sized farms.  Dave has an online class produced by The Gardeners Workshop that teaches cut flower growers about Perennial, Bulb, and Woody cut flower crops.

Dave served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers from 2002 through 2004 and served as Conference chair for the 2005 Lancaster Conference.  Dave served as President from 2006 to 2009, and again from 2016 to 2018.  He was the ASCFG Industry Liaison from 2014-2015.  In 2009 the ASCFG named their scholarship the Dave Dowling Scholarship. Dave received the ASCFG Outstanding Service Award in 2018 in recognition of his many years of service to the organization.

 

 

4:10 – 5:00 p.m.

Growing Through Uncomfortable Situations: A Panel Discussion

Drew Groezinger of Clara Joyce Flowers

Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens

Krynn Knepfel of Bloomchick Flower Company

This panel discussion will feature 3 cut flower growers who have had the opportunity to learn and grow through incredibly physically and mentally challenging situations in their growing careers. Be prepared to hear some not-so-rosy situations and stories, learn what not to do, how to rebound from a hard loss, and to come away with a new perspective on how to move forward in life.

About Drew Groezinger

Drew Groezinger owns and manages Clara Joyce Flowers, which grows specialty cut flowers and dahlias for wholesale cut flower production as well as for tuber sales to other farmers, gardeners, and dahlia lovers nationwide. The farm’s cut flowers and foliage are sold to local wedding and event designers in the Chicago and Madison areas, shipped nation wide, and are used in their own wedding and event designs.

 

 

About Krynn Knepfel

Krynn Knepfel is the owner of Bloomchick Flower Company, a seasonally oriented floral business. She has a passion for tulips, unique speciality blooms, and beautiful naturally inspired event design. Krynn is a mad advocate for learning by doing and for all things tulip!

 

 

About Maegan Williams

Maegan Williams has a way with plants that is truly inspiring. Having grown up in and managed Gilsum Gardens in Gilsum New Hampshire, she has learned and honed her skills and abilities to propagate, grow and deliver gorgeous floral product in an area with a very short growing season. Her experience within the horticulture world knows few bounds!

 

 


DAY TWO: AUGUST 28

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Welcome. Overview of schedule, tours, and workshop rotations.

Drew Groezinger
Clara Joyce Flowers
Amanda Cook
ASCFG North and Central Regional Director

Lunch is included with registration.

Rotations at 9:15 – 10:30 a.m., 10:45 – Noon, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m., and 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. 

Tour of Clara Joyce Flowers

Drew Groezinger & Team of Clara Joyce Flowers

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour Clara Joyce Flowers, which grows specialty cut flowers and dahlias for wholesale cut flower production as well as for tuber sales to other farmers, gardeners, and dahlia lovers nationwide. The farm’s cut flowers and foliage are sold to local wedding and event designers in the Chicago and Madison areas, shipped nation wide, and are used in their own wedding and event designs.

About Drew Groezinger

Drew Groezinger owns and manages Clara Joyce Flowers, which grows specialty cut flowers and dahlias for wholesale cut flower production as well as for tuber sales to other farmers, gardeners, and dahlia lovers nationwide. The farm’s cut flowers and foliage are sold to local wedding and event designers in the Chicago and Madison areas, shipped nation wide, and are used in their own wedding and event designs.

 

 

Rotations at 9:15 – 10:30 a.m., 10:45 – Noon, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m., and 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. 

Goal Setting with Project Management Principles

Rebecca Marrall, ASCFG Education Director

Amanda Cook, North & Central Regional Director

Project management is a process by which individuals identify a goal they need to accomplish and map out the corresponding sequence, timeline, and variables involved in the process. In this participatory workshop, attendees will learn about the basics of project management and then will apply this knowledge to a personal project on their own farms. Worksheets and materials will be provided — just bring your project ideas!

About Amanda Cook

Amanda Cook is the co-founder and co-owner of Cook’s Market, an eclectic farm in Baldwin City, Kansas. She grows on 3 acres and under 2 poly-covered hoop houses. With over a decade of cut flower farming experience, Cook’s Market currently focuses on selling to florists through a collective and to retail customers at a local farmers’ market. Amanda is the current North & Central ASCFG Regional Director.

 

 

About Rebecca Marrall

Rebecca M. Marrall is an education professional with over a decade of experience in online and face-to-face adult learning environments. With significant skills and experience in technical writing, information technology, user experience, project management, and adult education and instruction, she currently serves as the Education Director for the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

 

 

Rotations at 9:15 – 10:30 a.m., 10:45 – Noon, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m., and 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. 

Behind the Scenes at Clara Joyce Operations

Maegan Williams

Krynn Knepfel

Join Krynn and Maegan for a behind the scenes tour on how Clara Joyce Flowers organizes, sorts, manages, and plans their daily operations. During this tour attendees will see the office and organization staff working through their daily program, getting a first hand look at all the work that takes place in order to get flowers from the farm to the florists.

About Krynn Knepfel

Krynn Knepfel is the owner of Bloomchick Flower Company, a seasonally oriented floral business. She has a passion for tulips, unique speciality blooms, and beautiful naturally inspired event design. Krynn is a mad advocate for learning by doing and for all things tulip!

 

 

About Maegan Williams

Maegan Williams has a way with plants that is truly inspiring. Having grown up in and managed Gilsum Gardens in Gilsum New Hampshire, she has learned and honed her skills and abilities to propagate, grow and deliver gorgeous floral product in an area with a very short growing season. Her experience within the horticulture world knows few bounds!

 

 

Rotations at 9:15 – 10:30 a.m., 10:45 – Noon, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m., and 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. 

Speed Date the Pros!

During this session, attendees may ask the conference speakers additional and/or related questions about the presentations provided the day prior. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect further with our experts!

About Steve & Gretel Adams

Sunny Meadows Flower Farm was established in 2006 by Steve and Gretel Adams. They both found a deep passion for farming and a strong drive to make their business the best it can be. Being first generation farmers, finding mentors to learn from has become an important part of how they’ve built Sunny Meadows. Once the farm began growing, Steve and Gretel immediately fell in love with spreading the joy of flowers. Starting by selling straight bunches of flowers (mainly sunflowers and zinnias), they soon started making bouquets, and that’s when the obsession with flower artistry really began. They realized they could create a botanical adventure by using what’s seasonally in bloom, making the weekly bouquets ever-changing. Sunny Meadows has multiple sales outlets, and focus as a business on both production and specialty crops.

 

 

About Dave Dowling

Dave Dowling owned a cut flower farm in Montgomery County, MD for 20 years.  With field, high tunnel, and greenhouse production, Farmhouse Flowers & Plants produced cut flowers year-round. Most of the flowers raised were sold at farmers markets, including two year-round markets in the Washington, DC area.   Flowers were also sold direct to retail florists and Whole Foods Markets. Working with two other farms, a marketing coop, Capital Flower Growers, LLC, was formed in 2013. 

Early in 2014, Dave closed his cut flower business and began working for Ednie Flower Bulb, which became a division of Fred C Gloeckner & Co. in 2016.   Gloeckner was acquired by Ball Seed in late 2020. Dave now keeps busy as part of the Ball ColorLink Sales Team and working behind the scenes with the Ball Seed Cut Flower Department.  His duties at Ball also include being an advisor to cut flower growers across North America with small to medium sized farms.  Dave has an online class produced by The Gardeners Workshop that teaches cut flower growers about Perennial, Bulb, and Woody cut flower crops.

Dave served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers from 2002 through 2004 and served as Conference chair for the 2005 Lancaster Conference.  Dave served as President from 2006 to 2009, and again from 2016 to 2018.  He was the ASCFG Industry Liaison from 2014-2015.  In 2009 the ASCFG named their scholarship the Dave Dowling Scholarship. Dave received the ASCFG Outstanding Service Award in 2018 in recognition of his many years of service to the organization.

 

 

 

 

About Lennie Larkin

Lennie Larkin started B-Side Farm and Floral Design after falling head over heels for flowers. She came to farming and flowers from a background in adult education. Naturally, B-Side Farm has quickly become an educational farm where Lennie not only grows and designs with flowers, but teaches others how she’s doing what she’s doing. B-Side Farm workshops are designed to meet every student where they’re at and encourage them to dive a little deeper into the world of flowers – whether in the garden or design studio. The B-Side Blog is a growing resource for both of these arenas.

Lennie recently launched Flower Farming For Profit, an online educational portal for cut flower farmers and gardeners. There Lennie offers three main types of workshops: Live in-person workshops and retreats, live online courses (Zoom, with benefits), and live on-demand courses (lifetime access, purchase and watch anytime). While she’s taught on all subjects farming, flowers, floral design and weddings, she specializes in topics of efficiency and profitability (sustainability for the farmer!), sales strategy, bookkeeping, and business planning for the flower farmer. While everyone all loves flowers, the goal is to empower students to love the other sides of the business as well. In 2024, Lennie published Flower Farming for Profit, a distillation of her knowledge and expertise on these matters.

 

 

About Joe Schmitt

Joe had 15 years of experience growing for east coast wholesale flower markets prior to relocating in Wisconsin, and spent twenty more years here growing and selling cut flowers and other ornamental material to regional retail flower shops. He is a retired third-generation cut flower grower who has provided educational workshops nationwide on specialty cut flower production, and is well known for the quality, variety, and uniqueness of his products.

 

 

 

 


HOTEL ROOM BLOCKS

Hotel Room Blocks and Reservation Information

Call to reserve at the following hotels and let them know you are with the ASCFG.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
200 Dillon Ave, Stockton, IL, 61085
(815) 947-6060
35 rooms
Cutoff date – Register by August 20
$89.75 double queens
$111.75 king
Sales contact: Sal (GM)

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
1710 S Dirck Dr, Freeport, IL 61032
(815) 233-3300
20 rooms
Cutoff date – Register by August 1
$110 
Sales contact: Josh or Vicki (GM)

Hampton Inn Freeport
109 S. Galena Avenue
Freeport, Illinois, 61032
(815) 232-7100
20 rooms
Cutoff date – Register by July 26
$119
Sales contact: Kim or Sherry (GM)

 

Member Priority Registration opens at noon on April 16 through April 30.

Please note, Regional Conferences will not be recorded and space is limited. Don’t wait to register!


Registration Information

August 27 – $225
August 28 – $225
August 27 and 28 – $400


Cancellation Policy

Due to the limited space at regional conferences, we do not offer refunds.
Contact us in case of emergency to inquire about a waiting list and your spot may be transferable. No guarantees.

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