Conference Graphic with drop 1024x420 - Conference Program

Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center
Framingham, Massachusetts
August 1 – 3, 2022

Monday, August 1

General Sessions

7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
7:45 a.m. Welcome 

Val Schirmer, ASCFG President, Three Toads Farm, Winchester, Kentucky

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8:00 a.m. Spice up Your Product Mix—Try These New Cultivars and Unusual Species

John Dole, NCSU, Raleigh

John Dole 2 - Conference ProgramWhether you’re looking for a better version of an existing cut flower, or something totally new, check out these options. We will cover the best of the ASCFG Seed, Perennial, and Eucalyptus Trials, and sample a few new perennials and woodies to help you find your next money-making cut flower or foliage.

 

9:00 a.m. Grow and Expand Your Business

Jenny Elliot and Luke Franco, Tiny Hearts Farm, Copake, New York

Luke - Conference ProgramJenny Elliot 150x150 - Conference ProgramScaling up your flower farm involves a plethora of challenges: financial risk, big decisions, problem solving, and trusting a far-off vision which may not be your current reality! In this presentation, Luke and Jenny of Tiny Hearts Farm—who grew their business from 1 to 30 acres in a few years—discuss scaling your marketing and crop production in tandem, developing the necessary infrastructure and equipment, and taking calculated risks by embracing a spirit of adventure!

10:00 a.m. Creating Jobs for Inner City Youth through Cut Flowers

Quilen Blackwell, Chicago Eco House/Southside Blooms, Chicago, Illinois

Quilen Blackwell - Conference ProgramWhat could be the solution to urban decay, violence, and poverty? If you said “flowers”, you guessed correctly! This talk highlights how flowers arebeing used in some of the toughest neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago to bring hope and color to long downtrodden communities.

11:00 a.m. Advanced Crop Planning

Lyndsay Biehl, Wildroot Flower Co., Marietta, Ohio

Lyndsay Biehl 1 - Conference ProgramAre you an experienced farmer ready to step up your succession planning game? This talk is for you. Join Lyndsay as she dives into the foundation of crop planning for profit. She will share her steps to creating a successful crop plan that works for your unique farm. Go beyond the basics and discuss goal setting, and sales projections, and create a production plan that leaves you confident to tackle the upcoming season.

12:00 Noon Buffet Lunch included

1:00 p.m. High Volume, In-Vessel Composting for Flower Farms

Linda D’Arco, Little Farmhouse Flowers, Jay, New York

Linda DArco - Conference ProgramLearn how Little Farmhouse Flowers has incorporated a streamlined, easy to manage on-farm composting system to methodically prepare their own clean compost and planting media, saving the business significant overhead and lowering the carbon footprint of the operation substantially. Linda will talk about her composting machine, open source plans and grants available for similar machines, challenges associated with starting this kind of program. composting recipes for flower farmers, and how she’s been able to provide a valuable service to her community in the process.

2:00 p.m. Winter Tulip Production

Emily von Trapp, von Trapp Flowers, Waitsfield, Vermont

Emily Von Trapp - Conference Program

3:00 p.m. Winter Heated Crate Growing

Anna Jane Kocon, Little State Flower Farm, Riverton, Rhode Island

AJ Kocon - Conference ProgramHigh risk comes with high rewards, as well as losses. Anna Jane will break down the cost structure, profit margins, and realistic elements of growing flowers in crates through the winter months in zone 6b, Rhode Island. She’ll go into detail on the flower varieties, planting schedule, techniques, and expenses of adding winter crate growing with heat to her farming practices. This study session is targeted for experienced growers who are seriously considering adding this intense growing season to their workload

 

4:00 p.m. Supplier Showcase and Reception
Suppliers sign up here

ASCFG Supplier Showcase Vendors

Face-to-face time with some of your favorite ASCFG Supplier Members. Cash bar and appetizers. Here are just a few and the list is growing!

American Takii
A-ROO Company
Ball ColorLink
Express Seed Company
Farmer Bailey
Flamingo Holland
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Leo Berbee Bulb Company
Onings Holland Flower Bulbs
Raker – Roberta’s Young Plants
Sakata Seed
Spring Meadow Nursery
Zabo Plant

5:00 p.m. Flower Feud

Linda Doan, Bailey Hale, Janis Harris

Three ASCFG Board members will demonstrate their versions of building a bridal bouquet—or a fancy market bouquet if you don’t do weddings. Linda, Bailey, and Janis have made hundreds of bouquets and each has a similar but slightly different techniques. After a short explanation of their styles, they will simultaneously get to work and the bouquet battle will begin. When the bouquets are completed, the audience will applaud-vote their favorite to receive the victory flower crown. After this session, there will be buckets of flowers and rubber bands for those who would like to try their hand. The Feuders will be there to help you along and answer questions.

Tuesday, August 2

General Sessions

9:00 a.m. Fivefork Farms—The Evolution of a Cut Flower Farm

Grace Lam, Fivefork Farms, Upton, Massachusetts

Grace Lam - Conference ProgramStarting on about one-sixteenth of an acre, and now growing on seven acres, Grace has fine-tuned her production and business-driven decisions so that she can take the summers off: all of July and the first half of August. Learn she made it work without having to “Do it all—all the time.”

10:00 a.m. Evaluating Profitability of Different Sales Channels

Julia Shanks, Julia Shanks Food Consulting

Julia Shanks - Conference ProgramTime is your most limited and valuable resource, and you want to make sure you’re making the most of each hour of the day. While retail sales can command the highest price, they also can take the most time. How do you evaluate whether it makes sense to sell wholesale to florists or retail? In this session, we’ll dig into some actual numbers from a flower farm in California to see how to analyze the numbers and make these kinds of decisions for your own business.

11:00 a.m. Sustainable Urban Cut Flower Production: Building Gardens off the Grid with Solar Panels, Rainwater Catchment, and other Sustainable Practices in the Inner City

Quilen Blackwell, Chicago Eco House/Southside Blooms, Chicago, Illinois

Quilen Blackwell - Conference ProgramAre you tired of spending money on water and power bills to sustain your flower farm? Learn how one farm turns Mother Nature’s challenges into strengths that has propelled their farm to sustainable success!

 

Noon Buffet Lunch included

Concurrent Sessions

1:00 p.m. Ready to Go Deeper with Postharvest?

John Dole, NCSU, Raleigh

John Dole 2 - Conference ProgramJohn will cover a range of topics, including his latest research on long-term cold storage, optimal time of day for harvest, and a look at a few species that can have problems, like dahlia, hydrangea, peony, and zinnia.

2:00 p.m. Budgeting and Bookkeeping

Julia Shanks, Julia Shanks Food Consulting

Julia Shanks - Conference Program“How do I make more money?” “Does it makes sense to sell wholesale?” “Can I afford to hire employees?” You have so many questions about your business. Believe it or not, most of these questions are straightforward when you have a good recordkeeping system. A good recordkeeping system is more than just tracking your sales and expenses for tax day. It’s about knowing and tracking the important numbers for your business so you can improve profitability, set goals, and grow your business. In this workshop we’ll talk about the basics of recordkeeping (whether you use Excel or QuickBooks) and what you need to do to easily answer the questions you have about your business and financials.

3:00 p.m. When is No-till a Poor Choice?

Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit, Clarksburg, Maryland

Ellen Polishuk - Conference ProgramThe socio-agricultural pendulum has swung hard against tillage in our community. Let’s see if we can find some middle ground to stand on, and look at how biological farming is not a zero-sum, all or nothing game. When is tillage necessary and useful and when is it not? What goals and constraints might influence your decision?

4:00 p.m. Too Much of a Good Thing: Finding Balance in Considering Soil Health Methods and Products

Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit, Clarksburg, Maryland

Ellen Polishuk - Conference ProgramWe live in the age of Information Overload, which can sometimes leave us scratching our heads and wondering “Do I really know what I’m doing?” Podcasts, Instagram, and YouTube videos give us living color enticement to try The Next Cool Thing in sustainable farming. Let’s get clearer about our core soil health goals, and from there approach the question, “How do I know if I’m succeeding?” We will give special attention to compost.

1:00 p.m. The Evolution of a Flower Subscription Service

Molly Culver, Molly Oliver Flowers, New York, New York

Molly Culver - Conference ProgramLearn how Brooklyn-based farmer-florist Molly Oliver adapted her event-centric business to an e-commerce based, hyper-local subscription service at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in NYC in April, 2020. Molly will share the basics of her Seasonal Flower Project structure, how the project has evolved from weekly whim-based sourcing to strategic planning with local farmers, and how the service is succeeding in growing the local appetite and appreciation for seasonal flowers.  

2:00 p.m. Undesigned: Key Components of Growing and Arranging, From Farmers’ Markets to Weddings

Sarah Macalpine, Two Birds One Stone Farm, Centreville, Nova Scotia

Sarah Macalpine - Conference ProgramSarah will highlight some bouquets from their 26-week bouquet subscription; talking about their ingredients and what they do in the garden, the design studio, and a little bit of marketing to make it all come together. She’ll also show a few bridal bouquets and break them down the same way—highlighting the seasonality of the ingredients as well as the design elements. She’ll also share some tips she’s used as a farmer-florist to streamline the process of booking weddings and how to have really happy clients.

3:00 p.m. How to Use USDA Technical and Financial Assistance on Your Farm

Robert Purcell, Central MA NRCS, Holden, MA and Amanda Mills, Farm Service Agency

PurcellUSDA e1652716306504 - Conference ProgramAmanda and Robert to hear how the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can be useful tools in your farm’s success. We will discuss how to contact your local service center to determine what services and programs are available. FSA topics will include establishing records, crop assistance and loan programs. NRCS discussion will include developing a conservation plan to address your farms resource concerns. Learn how you can utilize our resources to improve your soil health, reduce soil erosion, improve irrigation efficiency, nutrient management and reduce energy use, amongst other topics. A brief amount of time will be left at the end for farm or site specific questions individuals may have.

4:00 p.m. Farming with Partners

Jenny Elliott & Luke Franco, Tiny Hearts Farm; Sarah and Kenny Macalpine, Two Birds One Stone Farm; Bailey Hale and Thomas McCurdy, Ardelia Farm & Co.

Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco - Conference Program

Jenny Elliott and Luke Franco, Tiny Hearts Farm

Sarah and Kenny Macalpine - Conference Program

Sarah and Kenny Macalpine, Two Birds One Stone Farm

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Bailey Hale and Thomas McCurdy, Ardelia Farm & Co.

Wednesday, August 3

8:00 -11:30 a.m. Tour Fivefork Farms

About Fivefork FarmsFive Forks Logo 150x150 - Conference Program

Fivefork cultivates over ninety varieties of cut flowers in addition to a variety of unique herbs, grasses, fruits, and vegetables. Though not certified organic, Fivefork uses sustainable growing practices.

Conceived by our youngest sister, Grace, Fivefork has grown into a partnership between five siblings. Our joint passion for growing, arranging, and selling flowers was passed on by our mother– whose love of plants and gardening continues to inspire us– and further informed by careers in agriculture, design, and business.

Five Forks field 300x188 - Conference ProgramFivefork’s 38 acres of rolling fields and woodlands is situated along the Blackstone River Valley in Upton, Massachusetts on land once farmed by four generations of the Eli Whitney family. Our farm specializes in growing cut flowers for the farm’s CSA, area farmers’ markets, retail stores, florists and designers. On occasion, we also offer design and styling services for special events.

Fivefork Farms is our outdoor laboratory, sanctuary, and home. We are excited by the beauty that comes from working the land and look forward to sharing this journey (and bounty) with you. Visit Fivefork Farms’ website.

Conference Registration and Hotel Information

Don’t wait to register! 
Registration is limited to 260 for speaker sessions and 150 for the farm tour.