Two Boots Farm

A family run farm and floral design studio in Hampstead, Maryland. We grow a wide variety of cut flowers and produce. We also have over 100 cultivated pawpaw fruit trees. We use ecologically sustainable practices so that future generations can continue to grow in healthy soil.

Frosty Friday

Greetings, friends!

The time has finally come. It looks like we’ll get our first frost on Friday night, and come Saturday morning, things may look quite different on the farm. We spent today running through the fields, attempting to harvest every last flower we could. This point in the season is always bittersweet. We’re relieved to be out of the thick of the season, but we’ll miss cutting buckets full of gorgeous blooms each day. We’re fortunate to have had an incredible growing season, and we’re feeling proud of our work and deeply satisfied, albeit tired. Now, we’ll dedicate a bit more time to dreaming of how to do things even better next year.

The entire crew is enamored with these perennial mums.  We’ll have bunches available at the market this weekend!

The entire crew is enamored with these perennial mums. We’ll have bunches available at the market this weekend!

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That's right! Freeze it, pickle it, candy it! We are taking pre-orders to be picked up this weekend at the farm or at our market on Sunday.     5 lbs for $65.     This ginger is topped and ready to use. We will also have some available for purchase at market but please pre-order so you don't miss out.    To pre-order, please email let us know if your picking up at market or the farm. We will email you an invoice you can pay online.

That's right! Freeze it, pickle it, candy it! We are taking pre-orders to be picked up this weekend at the farm or at our market on Sunday.

5 lbs for $65.

This ginger is topped and ready to use. We will also have some available for purchase at market but please pre-order so you don't miss out.

To pre-order, please email let us know if your picking up at market or the farm. We will email you an invoice you can pay online.

Don’t forget to build yourself one last bouquet at the market before the flowers are gone for the season!

Don’t forget to build yourself one last bouquet at the market before the flowers are gone for the season!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, ginger, head lettuce, radishes, hakurei turnips, shishito peppers, spring mix, bouquets, bunches of flowers, and wreaths.

Cover crop is always a welcome sight!  We’ve been hard at work pulling crops and seeding cover crop recently.  Wednesday’s rain was desperately needed, and we can tell our cover crops were pleased to see it!

Cover crop is always a welcome sight! We’ve been hard at work pulling crops and seeding cover crop recently. Wednesday’s rain was desperately needed, and we can tell our cover crops were pleased to see it!

Just Cruising

Hello, farm friends!

To be quite honest with you, there’s not much to say this week. We’re cruising along, slow and steady. With these short, cool days, the crops have really begun to slow down their growth. Last week we were overwhelmed with abundance, and suddenly we’re looking around and realizing that there’s really not that much left in the fields! We’re just wrapping things up and making plans for the months to come. Until frost comes, we’ll still have flowers to harvest, and once frost comes, we’ll still have some flowers and produce available, but the selection becomes much more limited at that point. Since we don’t have a heated greenhouse and only have two high tunnels (which are primarily dedicated to overwintered spring flowers), our capacity to grow in the coldest months is quite limited. And of course, we appreciate the break, and we think the fields appreciate the time spent in cover crop.

For the time being, we’ll still be at the JFX market weekly and we’ll be bringing what flowers and produce we do have! And, as we do every fall, we’ll have our handmade wreaths available. This week we’ll be bringing some autumn dried flower leaves, and soon we will have our grapevine and evergreen wreaths available as well.

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We dried a lot of flowers this year, and with the slower days, we’ve had time to begin work on Autumn wreaths! We’ll be bringing a few to market this weekend, and will have more available in the weeks to come. We’re excited to share them with you!

We dried a lot of flowers this year, and with the slower days, we’ve had time to begin work on Autumn wreaths! We’ll be bringing a few to market this weekend, and will have more available in the weeks to come. We’re excited to share them with you!


Don’t forget to build yourself one last bouquet at the market before the flowers are gone for the season!

Don’t forget to build yourself one last bouquet at the market before the flowers are gone for the season!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, ginger, head lettuce, radishes, shishito peppers, spring mix, and bouquets.

A sweet photo of our Thursday harvest team, taken from our July farm photoshoot by  Ann-Marie VanTassell .   from left, Amelia P., Samantha, Elisa, and Amelia H.

A sweet photo of our Thursday harvest team, taken from our July farm photoshoot by Ann-Marie VanTassell.

from left, Amelia P., Samantha, Elisa, and Amelia H.

Cooling Off

Greetings!

It’s been a wonderful week at Two Boots. After Wednesday’s brutal heat, we’re looking towards days that actually feel like Fall, and we soaked in every second of Thursday’s all-day drizzle. Things have really slowed down on the farm, and it’s a relief after a busy pawpaw season!

We had a bit of time on Thursday to sit down and reflect on what worked and what didn’t do so well on the farm this year. It’s nice to be able to think about these things and get some notes down while there are still crops in the field— often times we’re doing this in December or January, when the memory isn’t so fresh! We make a concerted effort to take good notes of what’s happening on the farm throughout the year, but when the season is in full swing, sometimes we forget, and then we find ourselves making mistakes we could have prevented the following year. Making time for reflection is so critical to what we do on the farm, and to our own lives. As the season changes, I hope that you are all able to take time to reflect, meditate, and find whatever it is that you need to carry you through the coming months.

October has arrived and our dahlias will be gone soon. We’ve enjoyed these beauties immensely over the last several months. In no time at all, frost will come and we’ll dig up the dahlia tubers and store them for next year. Growing dahlias for cut flower production takes a whole lot of time and effort, but it’s certainly worth it to see such stunning blooms.

October has arrived and our dahlias will be gone soon. We’ve enjoyed these beauties immensely over the last several months. In no time at all, frost will come and we’ll dig up the dahlia tubers and store them for next year. Growing dahlias for cut flower production takes a whole lot of time and effort, but it’s certainly worth it to see such stunning blooms.

We dried a lot of flowers this year, and with the slower days, we’ve had time to begin work on Autumn wreaths! We’ll be bringing a few to market this weekend, and will have more available in the weeks to come. We’re excited to share them with you!

We dried a lot of flowers this year, and with the slower days, we’ve had time to begin work on Autumn wreaths! We’ll be bringing a few to market this weekend, and will have more available in the weeks to come. We’re excited to share them with you!


We’ve got gorgeous arugula right now- don’t forget to pick some up this weekend!

We’ve got gorgeous arugula right now- don’t forget to pick some up this weekend!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, ginger, head lettuce, radishes, shishito peppers, spring mix, hakurei turnips, and bouquets.

A photo from our July farm photoshoot by  Ann-Marie VanTassell . Elisa looks so happy here!

A photo from our July farm photoshoot by Ann-Marie VanTassell. Elisa looks so happy here!

Falling into Place

Hello friends,

Autumn has arrived! It feels as though we’re at a true seasonal turning point on the farm. The mums have begun to flower, the last of the pawpaws are ripening, and we’re getting the cool season flowers in the ground. Both of our high tunnels are ready to be planted out with what will be our first flowers of 2020, and we are so excited! There were a few weeks where we were so busy harvesting all the time that we were worried we’d never make it to this point, so it’s refreshing to see everything coming together now. Now all we need is some good rain! We got a few moments of rainfall today, and while it was refreshing, it only left us wanting more.

If you haven’t already gotten your annual pawpaw fix, now is the time to do so! This will be the last week we’ll have pawpaws available, so get to market early, because we will sell out.

Turning over beds in the high tunnel to prepare for our cool flowers. These beds had a buckwheat cover crop in them for part of the summer, and before that they were home to lettuce, tulips, and sunflowers.

Turning over beds in the high tunnel to prepare for our cool flowers. These beds had a buckwheat cover crop in them for part of the summer, and before that they were home to lettuce, tulips, and sunflowers.

Looking out into one of our fields during a brief burst of rain. The dahlias are in the back of the field with little ghost hats on. We place bags over each flower to keep the bugs off! We’re hoping to use several of the beds in the foreground for new perennial plantings.

Looking out into one of our fields during a brief burst of rain. The dahlias are in the back of the field with little ghost hats on. We place bags over each flower to keep the bugs off! We’re hoping to use several of the beds in the foreground for new perennial plantings.


Are you tired of pawpaws yet? We’re not!

Are you tired of pawpaws yet? We’re not!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, pawpaws, ginger, head lettuce, radishes, shishito peppers, spring mix, hakurei turnips, and bouquets.

Pawpaw Popups

  • September 29, 8:30-1:00, Dupont Circle Farmers Market

We’re still harvesting hundreds of dahlias each week. I can’t get enough of these gorgeous peachy blooms!

We’re still harvesting hundreds of dahlias each week. I can’t get enough of these gorgeous peachy blooms!

Got Ginger?

Greetings,

Well, it certainly cooled down a bit over the last two days! After complaining about the heat last week, last night I had a nightmare in which an early killing frost had hit the farm without warning. Fortunately, in reality, the temperature only dipped to 49, and it probably won’t get too much cooler for some time- after all, it’s still September in Maryland! We say we look forward to frost, but timing is everything. There’s still a whole lot to get done before the pace can slow down.

We’re still harvesting pawpaws every day, and we’re in peak dahlia season, which means we’re just swooning over their beauty constantly. A lot of our flowers are slowing down with the shorter days and impending seasonal transition, but there’s still a whole lot of beauty on the farm.

One thing we’re really loving right now is this year’s ginger crop! We pre-sprouted the ginger in our greenhouse in April, and planted it in the field under plastic cover in May. Once the temperatures were consistently warm in June, we removed the plastic cover, weeded the beds a couple of times, and waited. The ginger that we grow is baby ginger, unlike the second year rhizomes you typically see in the grocery store. It is a little bit sweeter than second year ginger, has a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled, and is tender juicy. It’s great to use just as you would any other ginger, and it makes fantastic candied ginger. We sell ours with the greens attached, which can be used to flavor stocks, simmered as a tea, or simmered in cream for a delicious ice cream base.

Ginger takes a long time to size up, and takes up a lot of space in the field, and so it’s really important that we have a healthy crop. We like to get as much use out of our small space as possible, which means quick bed turnaround and oftentimes squeezing as many crops into a bed as we can in a given season- sometimes a bed will see three different crops in a year, plus cover crop! Since we started growing more flowers, we do fewer speedy rotations than we did with veggies, as the turnaround for flowers is slower than crops like radishes and salad greens, but it’s still important to us to get the best yield we can from the space that we have. So, of course, we were thrilled to begin digging the ginger couple of weeks ago and find the most beautiful rhizomes we’ve ever grown!

While I was harvesting the first of this season’s ginger crop I had a flashback to my Two Boots job interview in September of 2017. One of the tasks was an all hands on deck, rapid harvest of all of the ginger left in the high tunnel, because someone wanted to come buy the whole crop that day. I must have done something right, because here I am, happy as a clam, digging ginger at Two Boots once again nearly two years later!

September treats- pawpaws and ginger

September treats- pawpaws and ginger

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We’ll have lots of dahlias at market this week- they’re truly special!

We’ll have lots of dahlias at market this week- they’re truly special!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, pawpaws, ginger, head lettuce, radishes, shishito peppers, spring mix, hakurei turnips, and bouquets.

Pawpaw Popups

  • September 22, 8:30-1:00, Dupont Circle Farmers Market

  • September 29, 8:30-1:00, Dupont Circle Farmers Market

Amelia P. and Dave, prepping beds last week for our overwintered flowers.

Amelia P. and Dave, prepping beds last week for our overwintered flowers.

Pawpaws are Here!

Hello!

Here we are, nearly two weeks into September and we’re still experiencing ninety-degree days! I must admit, we farmers are kind of looking forward to frost. The past several weeks have been quite hectic on the farm, and we are feeling pretty exhausted.

Exhaustion aside, things are going swimmingly! While Elisa and I have been swamped with harvesting flower and pawpaws and organizing orders, our crew has been kicking butt in the fields, working hard on clearing neglected areas of weeds and preparing beds for our fall planting of overwintered flowers. Elisa and I have been so busy filling orders for florists recently, and it’s unusual for both of us to be away from the day-to-day work of prepping beds, weeding, and planting for so long. We love being so busy with sales, but it can be difficult for us to be away from the other side of farming! We’re so thankful to have a crew who takes the hard work in stride and gets it all done. Here’s hoping we can power through the next month or so before we cool down for the season!

It’s pawpaw time!

It’s pawpaw time!

We’re now entering the thick of pawpaw season, and it’s time for our pawpaw pop-up markets! You’ll be able to find us at the Takoma Park Farmers Market this Sunday, September 15, from 10:00-2:00. The following two Sundays, you can find us popping up at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market in DC. And, of course, every Sunday of the market season, we’re at the Baltimore Farmers Market- but we’ll only have pawpaws in September!

Pawpaw season doesn’t last long, so be sure to get your hands on these sweet, tropical-tasting fruits before the season ends.

This is the one part of the farm that we REALLY let get away from us this season.

This is the one part of the farm that we REALLY let get away from us this season.

So, we asked Amelia and Kaiti to spend a day tackling it!

So, we asked Amelia and Kaiti to spend a day tackling it!

They somehow managed to get it all done in a day, and it looks great now! How lucky are we to work with people who tackle such a daunting task and remain positive throughout the process?! We can’t thank them enough.

They somehow managed to get it all done in a day, and it looks great now! How lucky are we to work with people who tackle such a daunting task and remain positive throughout the process?! We can’t thank them enough.


Kaiti showing off a piece of this season’s baby ginger— it’s enormous!

Kaiti showing off a piece of this season’s baby ginger— it’s enormous!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, pawpaws, cherry tomatoes, ginger, head lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, radishes, shishito peppers, spring mix, hakurei turnips, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Pawpaw Popups

  • September 15, 10:00-2:00, Takoma Park Farmers Market

  • September 22, 8:30-1:00, Dupont Circle Farmers Market

  • September 29, 8:30-1:00, Dupont Circle Farmers Market

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Cycling Through

Greetings!

As we enter these final days of summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about life cycles and change. As farmers, we’re highly privy to the realities of life and death, deeply aware of this intimate cycle in nature. On a daily basis, we interfere with these cycles- deciding what to cultivate and what to terminate, choosing which bugs to squish, determining whether or not to till. And then there are the seasonal changes to which we bear witness: the emergence of cicadas, the return of the monarch butterflies, the falling of the autumn leaves- each one a small but defining moment in our annual cycle. And here we are, with the summer winding down, pulling crops from the field and tossing them to the compost to decompose, planting soil-building cover crops in their wake. All of this is just to say that I feel grateful to do this meaningful work, and to live in a way in which I am always thinking about how to do what is best for the Earth in all of its infinite cycles. Small-scale farming is a constant challenge, but it presents us with daily opportunities to make decisions that will help the planet and the people who surround us, and that makes it all worth it.

And of course, we could not do this work without the support of our friends, families, and customers. Thank you for choosing to support sustainable farmers! Supporting farms like Two Boots doesn’t just mean that you’re putting money into your local economy. It means that you’re choosing to support agriculture that nourishes the planet, and farms that work hard to give back as much to the land a we take from it.

More baby birds have arrived on the farm, just in time for the beginning of pawpaw season!

More baby birds have arrived on the farm, just in time for the beginning of pawpaw season!


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Iris guarding the harvest

Iris guarding the harvest

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, pawpaws, heirloom tomatoes, shishito peppers, spring mix, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.


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A Morning on the Farm in Photos

For this week’s blog I want to share a photo journal with you. Ann-Marie VanTassell, an amazing photographer I met after doing a wedding last fall, came to visit our farm about a month ago to capture our early morning harvest. These stunning photos will give you a glimpse of what we are up to every day. Enjoy!

This is how we organize what we will harvest each day in our “Headquarters”, which is really just a tiny shed off the house.

This is how we organize what we will harvest each day in our “Headquarters”, which is really just a tiny shed off the house.

We walk out to the field to harvest. Imagine the sound of birds chirping, bumblebees still asleep on flowers.  It’s serene.  But as soon as the sun hits the fields the insects wake up, all buzzing around, butterflies fluttering past and sweat starts dripping. Then we are in a race to beat the heat.  Flowers don’t like heat!

We walk out to the field to harvest. Imagine the sound of birds chirping, bumblebees still asleep on flowers. It’s serene. But as soon as the sun hits the fields the insects wake up, all buzzing around, butterflies fluttering past and sweat starts dripping. Then we are in a race to beat the heat. Flowers don’t like heat!

Here are the Amelias busting it out! It can be hard to hold a conversation while also trying to count stems!

Here are the Amelias busting it out! It can be hard to hold a conversation while also trying to count stems!

We move quickly to harvest but also check for quality while in the field. Pro tip: deadhead flowers that are old/ not perfect so the plants keep producing more flowers!

We move quickly to harvest but also check for quality while in the field. Pro tip: deadhead flowers that are old/ not perfect so the plants keep producing more flowers!

Our trusty Toro gets us and our flowers around fast!

Our trusty Toro gets us and our flowers around fast!

Once all the flowers are harvested they come up to the barn so we can double check it’s all accounted for and then it goes into our walk in fridge until delivery time which is usually the following day. As of now, our flowers are delivered to florists/shops five days a week. This week we are supplying flowers to Whole Foods Market in Baltimore (twice a week), 8 Baltimore florists, 4 DC florists and a CSA.  Late August is usually a slow time of the season which is why we had planned on taking turns enjoying vacations this month. But demand is greater than expected so we have called on friends to help with the harvest! Oh and daycare is closed this week so we are scrambling with childcare. It’s take a village!

Once all the flowers are harvested they come up to the barn so we can double check it’s all accounted for and then it goes into our walk in fridge until delivery time which is usually the following day. As of now, our flowers are delivered to florists/shops five days a week. This week we are supplying flowers to Whole Foods Market in Baltimore (twice a week), 8 Baltimore florists, 4 DC florists and a CSA. Late August is usually a slow time of the season which is why we had planned on taking turns enjoying vacations this month. But demand is greater than expected so we have called on friends to help with the harvest! Oh and daycare is closed this week so we are scrambling with childcare. It’s take a village!

Iris is always around to boost morale and is Chef of Rodent Management.

Iris is always around to boost morale and is Chef of Rodent Management.

Yep, this is us, or at least part of us! This photo is missing Alison, Kaiti, Ali (our market manager), and David (our farmer in training). From left to right: Amelia Phillips, Samantha Brekosky, Elisa Lane (me) and Amelia Hazen. (note: we don’t usually dress this nice for work. I’m even wearing eyeliner!)

Yep, this is us, or at least part of us! This photo is missing Alison, Kaiti, Ali (our market manager), and David (our farmer in training). From left to right: Amelia Phillips, Samantha Brekosky, Elisa Lane (me) and Amelia Hazen. (note: we don’t usually dress this nice for work. I’m even wearing eyeliner!)

Thank you for following along! Now we look ahead to the fall wedding season and pawpaws in the month of September. October is all about the ginger and then November is wreath madness! Winter is all about the naps. Who’s ready for a nap?!


At market this Sunday: heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bouquets and a build your own bouquet flower bar.

Keep it Movin'

Greetings!

Apologies for last week’s newsletter. There was some sort of snafu with Mailchimp and the newsletter arrived in your inboxes days after it was posted to our blog! Hopefully this time around it will arrive in a more timely fashion.

We’ve been moving nonstop this past week; there’s so much to accomplish! Elisa and I are both preparing to take vacations, a bold move for farmers in August! We’ve been running around the farm, making sure that everything is in order for each of us to take our respective week off, and taking note of the laundry list of tasks we’ll need to eventually accomplish. Have no fear, we’re staggering our trips and will still be sending produce and flowers to market while we’re away. As much as we love the work that we do, even the smoothest summer season can be enormously challenging, and we all need a break from time to time.

This week we knocked out another enormous bouquet order, and some bed prep and planting, with the help of former Two Boots superstar employee, Peter! It was great to have Peter on the farm again, as he’s a truly delightful human.

Peter in his bouquet nest.

Peter in his bouquet nest.

As we near September, we’re preparing for the end of summer bounties and thinking about wrapping up the farm for the season. We’ve been talking about what cover crops to put in, picking out areas for our overwintered flowers, and we’re eyeing pulling out the dying tomatoes in the field. It’s a bittersweet time of year on the farm! It’s incredible to think that we’ve just made it out of an extremely hot period and in no time we’ll be preparing for our first frost. This season is flying by.


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Our market stand is overflowing with abundance these days.

Our market stand is overflowing with abundance these days.

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.


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Summer's Gems

Hello, friends!

It’s been a beautiful week on the farm. We’ve been hard at work preparing for our farm dinner with Wilde Thyme on Saturday, and we’ve got an incredible selection of flowers in bloom right now. It feels good to be a farmer these days. Of course, as we gear up for fall planting, we can’t help but dream of cooler weather. There’s nothing quite like a midsummer bounty, though. We’re up to our ears in tomatoes, dahlias, and lisianthus this week, and the farm is full of color and life! These days, it seems as though all we have time for is harvesting! Our cooler is filled to the brim, and it’s so satisfying to see what emerges from all of the hard work we put in months ago.

Just a portion of our phenomenal Monday harvest!

Just a portion of our phenomenal Monday harvest!


If you’re not eating tomatoes at every meal, you’re not eating enough tomatoes!

If you’re not eating tomatoes at every meal, you’re not eating enough tomatoes!


Our market stand is overflowing with abundance these days.

Our market stand is overflowing with abundance these days.

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, salad mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


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Floral Frenzy!

Greetings!

Welcome to August! We’ve been keeping busy and enjoying the gorgeous blooms and many pollinators around the farm this week. Our cooler is filled with phenomenal flowers- I think this may be the most beautiful time of the year!

We’re currently in peak lisianthus season and it is absolutely divine. Lisianthus is a member of the gentian family and is native to the Southern U.S., Mexico, Caribbean, and northern South America. The flower is rose-like and has an extraordinary vase life. They’re difficult to start from seed, and a challenging plant for us to grow. We struggle with fungal disease pressure on these blooms every year! That said, I saw them growing through the sidewalk cracks when I was in the Yucatan peninsula in January! Alas, it’s just a bit more challenging in our climate. We’re thrilled with the lisianthus we’re harvesting now, and happy to share it with you at the market this week! We’ll get another, smaller flush of lisianthus later in the season, but what we’ve got right now is the best of the best!

In addition to our prolific lisianthus crop, we’re harvesting buckets full of dahlias every day. We’ve got them in every shape and color, and every single one is stunning. Though they don’t have quite the vase life of lisianthus, dahlias are deeply special flowers.

Of course, we’re still in the heat of tomato season, so don’t forget to pick some up this weekend! There is truly nothing more satisfying than eating a tomato sandwich…for every meal. And, if tomatoes aren’t enough for you, we got a surprise flush of shiitakes this week- unheard of at this point in the season!

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So many lisianthus!

So many lisianthus!


Beautiful shiitakes- in July!

Beautiful shiitakes- in July!

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, salad mix, shiitakes, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


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Buggin' Out!

Hello, friends!

We’re enjoying this beautiful midsummer week and hope that you are doing the same. The dahlias and lisianthus are showing off their finest blooms this week, and we’ve just begun harvesting china asters and rudbeckia triloba that will knock your socks off. Every day there’s something new to fall in love with on the farm. We’ll never get bored of it! This time of year the fields are full and our harvests are full of color and variety, and there’s an extraordinary feeling of accomplishment and peace that comes with looking up from your work and seeing everything come into fruition. So much time spent hunched over seedling trays early in the season, time spent managing our water problems last year so that we could grow this season, time spent pulling weeds and prepping beds—it’s all worth it.

One of my greatest joys as a flower farmer, and one that I know is shared by others at Two Boots, is watching the insects who come along to pollinate the flowers we leave uncut. We’re constantly taking notice of the numerous pollinators with whom we share our fields- we see tons of flies, bees, moths, and butterflies, and we feel so happy to be able to provide a healthy habitat for these critical members of our ecosystem. Recently, we’ve noticed a seasonal jump in the butterfly population on the farm. Skippers, buckeyes, monarchs, and swallowtails galore grace our gardens! We love to appreciate their stunning beauty as they dance around while we harvest. And then we remember that butterflies, despite looking beautiful, are totally gross creatures! Did you know that, because nectar doesn’t provide butterflies with sodium and other minerals they require to survive and reproduce, they also feed on dung, mud, carrion, and rotting fruit?! If you’ve ever seen a group of butterflies clustered on the ground, they’re probably “puddling”, or hanging out together, snacking on things we humans find unsavory. You’ve gotta love a creature that manages to evoke utter beauty and grace while it’s enjoying a dung dinner!

A swallowtail we saved from being trapped in the greenhouse

A swallowtail we saved from being trapped in the greenhouse


This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, salad mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

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Pick up some cherry tomatoes at the market this weekend and slow roast them for a delightful summer treat


Save the Date

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.

Buckeye in the dahlias

Buckeye in the dahlias


A skipper spending time on a calla lily

A skipper spending time on a calla lily

Dahlias showing off

Dahlias showing off

Can we beat the heat?

Greetings!

I hope you all are staying cool and hydrated this week! It’s certainly a challenge to do so in this extreme heat. As always, though, our farm crew is handling it with patience and grace. What a treat it is to work with such a positive crew!

Right now we’re in the midst of a lull in planting, which gives us time to take care of things like maintenance, weeding, cleanup, and fine-tuning our systems. It’s rare to complete a to-do list on the farm, but it feels nice to at least have a slightly shorter one for the time being! Especially when it’s this hot and humid— everything seems to take more time to complete when there’s a heatwave. The clouds today were a huge relief after such a sunny week.

I know I said this last week, but I have to reiterate- tomato season has finally arrived! They don’t mind this weather a bit! Cherry tomatoes are pouring in from the field and heirlooms are beginning to speed their ripening. I predict that in the next couple of weeks we’ll be up to our ears in tomatoes. There’s nothing better! A good tomato salad or sandwich really does the trick after a long day in the sun.

We’re also welcoming the arrival of a farm favorite and crowd-pleaser, lisianthus! This beautiful, rose-like bloom has an extraordinary vase life, and we’ve planted the full spectrum of colors this season. We’re growing more than ever before, and we are so excited to see them begin to pour in from the fields.

Harvesting gomphrena and cosmos for our big bouquet order.

Harvesting gomphrena and cosmos for our big bouquet order.


Surrounded by blooms.

Surrounded by blooms.


Alison showing off a few of our delicious heirloom tomatoes.

Alison showing off a few of our delicious heirloom tomatoes.

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, carrots, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, salad mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


Iris knows how to beat the heat. Sometimes a dog’s life seems like the dream!

Iris knows how to beat the heat. Sometimes a dog’s life seems like the dream!

Not-so-Lazy Summer Days

Greetings!

Y’all, it’s hot out! Fortunately, we’ve been gifted a bit of rain over the course of the past week, which we were really starting to need. Last week we spent a lot of time running around and fretting over irrigation in our fields!

Things have slowed down a bit on the farm this week. With the end of the Spring wedding season and so many people away on vacations, business tends to be a bit quieter in July. This week, we’ve taken advantage of this quiet and spent our time focused on weeding, maintaining our perennial plantings, and tending to other projects that get pushed aside when we’re busy with massive harvests and lots of planting. Of course, things never stay slow for too long! Next week we’re making 150 bouquets for the DC-based Community Foodworks market share. We’ve never had an order for quite so many bouquets, so we’re excited for the challenge! Fortunately, we’re not lacking in flowers right now.

Our summer crops are loving these long, hot days, and the shishitos are pouring in. We’ll have tons available at the market on Sunday! Finally, our cherry tomatoes are picking up the pace, and we can tell that our heirloom tomatoes aren’t too far behind. You may get lucky and find them on our market table! We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of a big tomato harvest— this year we decided to give our high tunnels a break from tomatoes, which means we don’t have them as early as we usually do. Soon, though….

We mowed those sunflowers last week and replaced them with a buckwheat cover crop, but the rest of the blooms in this field are just beginning to shine!

We mowed those sunflowers last week and replaced them with a buckwheat cover crop, but the rest of the blooms in this field are just beginning to shine!


Good Dog Farmers Joanna and Bryan

Good Dog Farmers Joanna and Bryan

Spotlight on our Farmer Friends

Good Dog Farm

On Thursday we had the opportunity to take a break from the day-to-day Two Boots grind and lend a hand to our friends Bryan and Joanna, who own Good Dog Farm. We spent the day digging potatoes in their enormous potato field, and by the end of the day, we’d managed to pull 3,000 pounds of taters out of the field! (We couldn’t have done it without the help of their cool old-school potato digger, similar to the one in this video. It was great to have a change of scenery for the day, and it’s always good to remember that we’re part of a fantastic community of farmers who are always willing to help one another out.

Bryan and Joanna started Good Dog Farm in 2016, and they’re doing an incredible job! They have three high tunnels in which they grow produce year-round, and they specialize in storage crops, such as potatoes and winter squash. This year they’re particularly excited to be growing a crop of dry beans. Bryan and Joanna have a ton of knowledge about and experience with farming, and it’s always a joy to talk with them and learn from them.

Together, the Good Dog farmers are growing some of the best veggies around. Their CSA is full for their Summer 2019 season, but think of them in the future when you’re looking for a great CSA program. We’re lucky to know you all! Thanks for letting us help out this week!


Just a few of the spuds we harvested on Thursday!

Just a few of the spuds we harvested on Thursday!


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, carrots, cherry tomatoes, shishito peppers, bouquets, bunches of flowers, and maybe heirloom tomatoes

Save the Date

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


If you haven’t stopped by the market to see us recently, this weekend will be a great time to do so!

If you haven’t stopped by the market to see us recently, this weekend will be a great time to do so!

Cool Flowers, Hot Days

Greetings!

Are you all tired of this heat yet? Farmers can always find something to complain about when it comes to the weather, so our nice, long, comfortable Spring felt a little strange. Now we get to whine about how hot we are and how badly we need a good rain! That said, we’re enjoying everything summer provides us, and despite the heat, we really have no reason to complain. And, we’re already looking towards cooler weather! This week we seeded our first round of overwintered cool flowers in the greenhouse. The same kinds of Spring flowers we’ve finished harvesting in the past couple of weeks or are nearing their final harvests— campanula, rudbeckia, snapdragons, dianthus, and more— we seeded our first plantings of on July 4th last year! Now that we’ve seeded the flowers in the greenhouse, they’ll hang out there for a few months before we plant them out in the Fall, once we’ve cleared space in the field to make room for these overwintered blooms! There’s so much planning that must happen to make a farm function, and we’re always thinking ahead to the next season. It’s easy to assume that most of farming is planting and harvesting, but there’s so much more to it! It takes a whole lot of thought, spreadsheets, and time to bring you our beautiful blooms and delicious produce week after week. Farming is often as mentally challenging as it is physically!

Every time I walk out towards this field my jaw drops. Last year, this area was partially under water! Look at these gorgeous plants now!

Every time I walk out towards this field my jaw drops. Last year, this area was partially under water! Look at these gorgeous plants now!


Kaiti loading up a glorious harvest

Kaiti loading up a glorious harvest

Get to Know Your Farmers

Kaiti Larue joined our crew this Spring, and she’s been a great addition to the farm. She’s got experience with vegetable farming, and has taken to flowers like a pro! Kaiti also kills it when it comes to our Friday produce harvest— if you’ve been buying our veggies at the market, chances are, she harvested it! It’s a dream to have Kaiti on the farm- she’s patient, attentive, and caring, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her. Personally, I feel super lucky to have met someone else whose interests include plants, quilting and birds! When she’s isn’t working at Two Boots, Kaiti can often be found serving up delicious vegan meals at Farm to Face Cafe in Lauraville.


Our early summer blooms are now out in full force.

Our early summer blooms are now out in full force.


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, carrots, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, spring mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


It’s tomato time!

It’s tomato time!

Kaiti stands out amongst our vibrant gomphrena

Kaiti stands out amongst our vibrant gomphrena

Open House Saturday!

Greetings,

We hope that you’re staying cool during this hot week! Summer has certainly arrived. Here on the farm, that means that we’re pulling our cool flowers, spreading cover crop, weeding, and rapidly harvesting our summer crops.

We’re busy as can be, but excited to take a break so that we can share the farm with you this coming Saturday, June 29th! We’ll be hosting an open house from 3-7 pm, complete with a potluck, farm tour, a play area for kids, and bouquet making. It’s sure to be a fantastic time!

This weekend only, we’re offering a special on bulk quantities of basil for you pesto lovers! We will have basil available for $15 a pound, for pickup at the farm on Saturday or at the JFX market on Sunday. Please email us your requests by 3:00 pm on Friday to reserve your basil!

Rubenza cosmos in the morning spotlight.

Rubenza cosmos in the morning spotlight.


At this point in the season, planting slows down but our to-do lists remain long. We’ve got many months of growth ahead, and a lot of work to do to ensure that the farm can sustain the kind of intensive production we require. Right now, one of our big tasks is removing our overwintered cool flowers- many of which were seeded in the greenhouse almost a year ago! Once our cool flowers are out of the ground, we’re seeding a buckwheat cover crop in the beds that we won’t need to access for a few months, and we’ll cover other beds with our silage tarps to prepare the soil in those that we need access to more immediately.

Buckwheat is a fantastic, fast summer cover crop. It does a great job of suppressing weeds, attracts pollinators, and it thrives in poor soils. We’re using it in one of the more recently established fields on the farm, where we’ve had less time to build the soil. It’s great to get a quick cover crop in the ground whenever possible! While the buckwheat acts as a placeholder for many of our beds, we’ll be hard at work elsewhere on the farm- seeding, weeding, and harvesting away.


We’re drowning in sunflowers this week.

We’re drowning in sunflowers this week.


We’ve got an abundance of gorgeous carrots available right now.

We’ve got an abundance of gorgeous carrots available right now.

This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, basil, carrots, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce, spring mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 29th (this weekend!) - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


Our stunning dahlias.

Our stunning dahlias.

This friend lives in the greenhouse and comes out to greet us on occasion.  We love sharing the farm with all sorts of creatures!

This friend lives in the greenhouse and comes out to greet us on occasion. We love sharing the farm with all sorts of creatures!

Summer Solstice!

Happy Solstice, farm friends!

I can’t believe that summer has already arrived. This season is flying by. This year on the farm, we’ll mark the first day of summer with the first harvests of cherry tomatoes and shishito peppers! There’s not much yet, but soon we’ll be swimming in these summer delights. Our summer flowers are beginning to bloom, and we’ll have some of our cool season flowers for a short while longer. The farm is quickly filling up, and every time I walk through the fields I notice something new ready to harvest. It’s a beautiful time of year! As we work in the fields, we enjoy the sounds of the tree frogs singing, birds chirping, and the rustle of the wind in the trees. Despite the physically and mentally demanding nature of farm work, it’s not difficult for me to find myself in complete serenity while prepping or planting a bed these days. After experiencing all of the challenges of last season, moments of peace and calm are so welcome! Here’s to Summer, and all of the delights this season will bring!

Planting sunflowers after a storm.

Planting sunflowers after a storm.


Iris never fails to bring a smile to our faces.

Iris never fails to bring a smile to our faces.

Get to Know Your Farmers

Alison Worman is a farm superstar! After spending several years managing Whitelock Community Farm, Alison has stepped aside from the stress of farm management and enjoying exploring other projects. Lucky for us at Two Boots, she’s keeping a foot in the farm world and working with us on Mondays, effortlessly knocking out one of our biggest harvests each week! Alison is also part of the farm co-op at Hidden Harvest farm, because let’s face it…we farmers just can’t quit farming!

It’s been so nice to have Alison on the farm this season— she brings a positive attitude and impeccable work ethic, and she’s so fun to work with.

When she’s not spending time with plants, Alison spends a lot of time working with clay. A member of the Potters Guild of Baltimore, Alison designs sweet pots, planters, and more under the moniker Alison Jean Pottery. Follow Alison, and find her pots at Bottle of Bread, B. Willow, and pop-up markets around Baltimore!


There’s so much happening in the fields right now! Including a mystery grass we planted that has rapidly outgrown everything around it.

There’s so much happening in the fields right now! Including a mystery grass we planted that has rapidly outgrown everything around it.


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, carrots, head lettuce, spring mix, shishito peppers, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 29th (next weekend!) - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


Looking out into a sea of sunflowers.

Looking out into a sea of sunflowers.

Just a small portion of Tuesday’s flower harvest.

Just a small portion of Tuesday’s flower harvest.

Floral Abundance

Hello!

Here we are, in the second week of June, and we’re already harvesting dahlias! This time last year we were fretting over rotting tubers and worrying about whether we’d have much of a dahlia harvest at all. At the end of the season, we decided to dig up the tubers that were in our flooded field, and we chose to leave the tubers in our dry field in the ground for the winter. The tubers that we dug up were cleaned up and divided over the winter, and we planted those at the beginning of May, alongside several new-to-us varieties. The overwintered tubers spent the winter tucked in under a thick layer of straw, covered by a tarp to keep them warm. Of those overwintered dahlias, about 50% survived, and it’s from those plants that we’re getting our super early harvest. We replaced the tubers that died with other new varieties, and we’re excited that we’ll be harvesting these gems for the rest of the season! I don’t think it was until late July last year that we harvested our first dahlia, and so this feels extra special.

Of course, dahlias aren’t the only things on our minds. This week was the first week of our flower CSA through Moon Valley Farm, we just started selling our flowers to the Mt. Washington Whole Foods again, and we’re designing for a wedding this weekend! Our florist sales have been through the roof, so we’ve been as busy as we can be harvesting and putting together orders each day. Somehow, our small team still manages to tackle all of the other farm tasks!

The first dahlia of 2019!

The first dahlia of 2019!


Iris never fails to bring a smile to our faces.

Iris never fails to bring a smile to our faces.

Get to Know Your Farmers

Dogs are farmers too!

Iris is the farm’s loyal friend and guardian. She’s fearless in the face of rodents, she loves farm life, she’s a great alarm system for when we receive deliveries, and most importantly, she’s a great pal to all of us farmers. After a tough day, nothing feels better than giving Iris a good pet.


Healthy greens and flowers that went into the fields this week.

Healthy greens and flowers that went into the fields this week.


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, carrots, head lettuce, spring mix, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


Our Beginning Farmer trainee, Jaye, harvesting Larkspur on Monday morning.

Our Beginning Farmer trainee, Jaye, harvesting Larkspur on Monday morning.

Joyful in June

Greetings,

What a beautiful week we’ve had on the farm! We’ve been knocking things off of our to-do list left and right. This week we’ve been hard at work on getting in succession plantings of our summer crops, weeding all over the farm, staking and netting all of the flowers, and, of course, harvesting flowers and sending them out into the world! The weather has been amazing recently, and things on the farm are running smoothly and looking fantastic. Our amazing crew has been a joy to work with, laughing and and smiling while tackling so many tiring tasks. We can only hope that this season continues to treat us so kindly, but we’re ready for anything! After a busy month of May, it’s nice to have the opportunity to look around the farm and see all of our hard work paying off.

The fields are filling up! There’s not an empty bed in this field, and this week all of the flowers in it were staked and netted and the tomatoes were trellised. Can you believe that just last year there was a spring that made a stream through this section of our land?!

The fields are filling up! There’s not an empty bed in this field, and this week all of the flowers in it were staked and netted and the tomatoes were trellised. Can you believe that just last year there was a spring that made a stream through this section of our land?!


Amelia is always a great sport when she has to share the passenger seat with a bucket of flowers on the way home!

Amelia is always a great sport when she has to share the passenger seat with a bucket of flowers on the way home!

Get to Know Your Farmers

Amelia Phillips is in her third season working at Two Boots, and it’s so fun to have her around! Amelia is endlessly enthusiastic about plants, fruit trees, nature, and especially BUGS! When she’s not on the farm, Amelia stays busy as a co-op member at Hidden Harvest Farm in Baltimore, and is studying to become a nurse.

Amelia and I have worked together since we were both working at Real Food Farm in Baltimore and I feel grateful to get to work alongside her years later. Farming is an intense job, and it’s not always easy to find people that you can easily work with doing such a challenging job!

If you get to know Amelia, you’ll learn that her true passion is insects, and she’s always excited to share cool bug facts. Lately she’s been working hard on her bug photography skills. If you’re interested in the insects found in our area, you can follow Amelia’s new insect-only instagram @arthropod.awareness.

We’re so lucky to have Amelia as a member of our farm team. She never fails to make us laugh and she’s always willing to work super hard. Thank you, Amelia P!


This is the first time we’ve grown these shirley poppies and we can’t get enough- they’re enough to bring tears to your eyes!

This is the first time we’ve grown these shirley poppies and we can’t get enough- they’re enough to bring tears to your eyes!


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This week at the JFX market we will have arugula, currants, head lettuce, spring mix, bouquets, and bunches of flowers.

Save the Date

Saturday, June 29th - Two Boots Farm Open House and Potluck - We’ll show you around the farm, share a meal, have activities for kids, and an opportunity to build your own bouquet to take home.

Saturday, July 27th - Centerpiece Workshop at the Farm - Participants will learn to design their own centerpieces with flowers from our farm, sip wine from our neighbor’s vineyard, and tour the farm in this late afternoon summer workshop. Sign up early!

Saturday, August 10th- Flower Farm Dinner- Join us for an intimate seasonal dining experience on the farm prepared by Wilde Thyme. We will roam the farm, share a meal made with produce from Two Boots and other local farms, and enjoy an evening on the farm at the height of the season.


The top fields of the farm looking lush after a storm.

The top fields of the farm looking lush after a storm.

The Farm is Alive with Wildlife

Greetings!

It seems that everyone is out an about this week on the farm! We found a family of garder snakes in our seedling soil. We have hundreds of tadpoles around the farm and there’s a symphony of frogs and toads at night. Also in the evenings when the sun is setting the bats fly out of the barn hunting mosquitoes and other insects. I love watching them fly overhead!

Our resident snapping turtle.

Our resident snapping turtle.

The bunny population has really exploded this spring. They like to play in the grass in the early evenings. I think there’s so many of them our dog has given up and isn’t showing as much interest. And we were visited this once again by a huge female snapping turtle going for a walk across the farm to lay her annual eggs. We catch a glimpse of her every other year and then we find quarter sized turtles in the late summer making their procession back to the wetland. The wildlife is one of my favorite parts about our farm. We try to tread lightly on the land and coexist with our neighbors.

Agrostemma. A favorite flower of ours right now!

Agrostemma. A favorite flower of ours right now!

Finn helping with the Sunday chores.

Finn helping with the Sunday chores.

At market on Sunday:

Salad, head lettuce, arugula, turnips, radishes, bouquets, bunches of flowers and a “make your own bouquet” bar.





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