U-pick flower farms bloom in Minnesota
No running with shears.
That’s the rule at Emery Acres Flower Farm in Rosemount, where visitors stroll through rows of snapdragons, zinnias and cosmos ready to cut their own bouquets.
“Your mum should have taught you this by now, but in case she didn’t, don’t run with shears. We can grow flowers, not appendages,” reads a sign near the barn. .
Emery Acres is one of a growing number of pick-your-own flower farms taking root in Minnesota. Although relatively new to the state, DIY bouquet farms are quickly finding favor with flower lovers.
Most farms are in small towns or rural areas. Some provide shears, water and a vase or bucket so you can make your own floral arrangements on the spot. Many simply have an unattended booth with all the necessary flower-cutting equipment and honor system payment. Prices and hours vary from farm to farm, as do rules regarding pets or photography.
At Emery Acres, pickers are guided by signs that show where to cut the stem and how to remove the leaves to keep the flowers fresh longer. Cutting a giant bouquet (and a plastic container to take it home) costs around $25.
Connie Merriman, who runs the business with her daughter Alicia, said the U-pick flower farms have proven popular with families, book clubs, Girl Scout troupes and even couples on first dates.
“Last weekend we had a couple get engaged here,” she said.
Alicia Merriman hadn’t even heard of U-pick flower farms when her mother broached the idea during the pandemic. However, the concept quickly took hold.
“Now that we have a U-pick flower farm, they’re everywhere,” Alicia said. “We’re quickly finding others further down the state, in other states, so that’s fun.”
beauty in the bucket
Last year, when Marnie Macgregor moved from New York’s Hudson Valley to South Haven, Minnesota, her parents’ fruit farm, Fairhaven Farm, she decided to plant flowers on a quarter of an acre.
She had visited a flower-picking farm in New York and thought one might do well here.
“It was a really good thing to do, and it’s kind of the closest thing farmers have to passive income,” she said.
Adding flowers to Fairhaven’s pick-your-own fruit offerings has been so successful that Macgregor has added a “CSA pick-your-own share” for those who want to show up and cut regularly at the farm near St. Cloud. The shares quickly sold.
Macgregor took an Instagram poll to see which flowers people love the most, and hardy zinnia was on top. But his own favorites?
“I really like cosmos and yarrow,” Macgregor said. “I’m a big fan of what are actually called fillers.”
A simple sunset
A few years ago, when Rhonda Seelhammer came up with the idea of planting flowers on her land in Chatfield, near Rochester, and opening it up to pick-your-own customers, not everyone understood the idea.
“When I told my close friends about it, they were like, ‘That’s weird,'” she said. “And I kept thinking, ‘You know what, I just need to find my people. And, oh, my God, we found our people.”
After becoming a pick-your-own flower destination, she and her husband also planted blueberries. Now Berry and Bloom Farm, with fields of berries and fields of about 60 varieties of annuals and a large selection of perennials, is in its fourth season of flower picking.
“It’s all self-explanatory, self-serve, honor system. And it’s Monday through Saturday and we’re closed on Sundays. So it works like a charm,” Seelhammer said.
Customer satisfaction is evident in the many messages and thank you notes they receive from pick-your-own customers, some of which also offer suggestions on what else they would like to see on the farm.
“The biggest question we get asked all the time is, ‘Could you please serve pizza and when can you start a VRBO?’ I’m not kidding,” she said.
This convinced Seelhammer that the fields of slime-ready flowers aren’t the only draw.
“We are so used to the country. So we are so surprised when people are blown away by even a simple sunset.”
U-pick flower farms
Check the websites for hours, open fields and conditions:
Emery Acres Flower Farm: 15490 Avenue Emery E., Rosemont; emeryflowers.com
Berry and Bloom Farm: 6945 150th Ave SE, Chatfield, Minnesota; berryandbloomfarm.com
Fairhaven Farm: 13835 51st Ave., South Haven, Minnesota; fairhaven-farm.com
Rustic Designs Floral Farmhouse: 25801 County Road 9 NE., Belgrade, Minn.; rusticdesignsflowerfarm.com
True Blue Flower Co.: 35191 county road. 4, Frazee, Minnesota; trueblueflowerco.com
Owl Forest Farm: 3442 Mobraten Drive, Iron Junction, Minnesota; owlforestfarm.com
Our farm-fresh produce: 75842 240th Ave., Hayfield, Minnesota; ourfarmfresh.net/pick-your-own-flowers