Friday, October 19, 2018

a new way of having Saipua wedding flowers

Starting now, you can order my dream flowers directly from Worlds End Farm delivered to NYC for your wedding or party in 2019. The arrangements are made in three sizes; small $25 medium $60 and large $150. Bouquets (not pictured) are $150 and boutonnieres are $25. Our team will deliver your flowers at any venue in Manhattan or Brooklyn Friday-Sunday starting May 18th, 2019 and finishing October 12th, 2019.

This is perfect for couples who have a floral budget of $1,500-$5,000 and trust us to use the best of what the farm is growing to create a unique palette of flowers for their wedding.

Bryony and I continue to book larger customized Saipua events - but this new a-la-cart option allows us to make exceptional flowers for clients with modest flower budgets during our growing season at Worlds End. It also puts me back in touch with a section of the wedding industry that I fell in love with -- small weddings at places like Frankies 457 or Maison May.

SO! help us spread the word: the most beautiful, chemical free Worlds End grown flowers are available and affordable for weddings and parties May 18th - October 12, 2019.
Email to ask questions and to place orders.

(From left; small bud vase size, large centerpiece size, medium centerpiece size. Sizes can be mixed and matched on various table layouts, we can help you decide what's best for your floorplan.)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Zoe and Meg yesterday bringing in the last flower harvest. We had our first frost last night, right on time. October 17th.

There is a lot that happens emotionally at first frost - a desperation in the end or a surrendering. There is a lot of negotiating; with half brained schemes to cover my favorite rows of flowers or the late planted arugula that we barely got to enjoy. Ultimately it is an exercise in letting go.

In the perpetual rom-com that is Worlds End I played boysIImen 'So hard to say goodbye' in the field as they cut the last chocolate cosmos (our best crop yet).

There's so much I have to tell you about changes here and the plans we have for 2019 at Saipua and Worlds End and I don't want to wait I want to tell you right now, all 75 of you who have found me here since quitting instagram... (smiling, because there is a funny story there I'll tell you soon.)

I'm so excited.

First, those of you who know me know I have a very hard time selling things, especially 'experiences' or nature. Over the last few years there have been a hundred ways for me to sell more flowers, soap, dinners, and classes. As a business woman I should have considered and opted for these marketing schemes in order to make a profit and fuel the engine of what we're building at Worlds End. In the end I have often opted not too because it feels slimy to market our lifestyle - which is arguably what makes our products unique, and it takes away from the value of the experience of those of us working inside this experiment. If we sit down to dinner together and then I snap photos and tell everyone about it on instagram or the internet then it cheapens that experience for those who are present. It turns them into a product that essentially, I am selling. I don't want to sell the people I love.

Last week I summoned some of our community to dinner at the farm. We slaughtered lambs, cut 50 feet of turnip greens from our daikon cover crop, exhausted our tomato stash and ate like royalty. I said to them - this is what I want, all the time, with you and others. I don't want that to ever be about a money exchange.

But each of those 40 or so people left the next day and went back into the world where money makes their lives possible. I realize that if I want this great experiment to continue, if I want the resources and energy to really explore alternative economies and new ways of working, then I have to get out of my own way. I have to wake up to the fact that in my lifetime at least, selling a product is going to be an essential tool in changing the current mechanisms. I keep coming back to Audre Lorde's essay 'The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Masters House' -- a line that is so valuable in thinking about revolutionizing the way we approach race, the patriarchy, capitalism and all the of the antiquated systems that bind us in this current world.

So I've been thinking about the business recently in terms of simple products. Things, objects that are tangible and simple. One day I want those things we need - food, clothing, beauty -- to be free and shared like the gifts that they are. But in order to do that work, that thinking, I have to make space for those conversations and that space is created still in a money based economy.

So, here's my plan in a nutshell. We're moving the soap operation here from my mothers house and expanding it to include other crafts that we create here from resources at the farm - textiles from our sheep, wooden bowls and objects turned from our wood lot, seed collections from our flower field. And we're going to sell lunch; our everyday homemade meals using our meat and vegetables Monday-Friday days starting in June.

And of course, we're going to sell flowers - but in a new simpler way. No more flower walls, no more installations and no more wedding planners. We're going to do what I've always wanted to do -- sell just flowers, gorgeous centerpieces and bouquets made with the dream flowers we grow here ourselves - and for all budgets. Because I reject the notion that beautiful flowers are exclusively for the wealthy.

For this I need another designer along side me, a person who knows about flowers, especially farm flowers who can help oversee what will be the new Saipua studio here at Worlds End.

This person needs to have 2 years of floral experience, with a portfolio to show me. He/she needs to live on the farm full time with us from May-October 2019. He/she needs to be willing to oversee and teach (alongside me) two apprentices and manage weekly small (!) wedding orders. This person is compassionate and extremely hard working. The stipend is $650 a week/meals and housing provided. Email me with your interest.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

the many layers of selling wellness

Here at the farm in my newly dusted off fortress-of-solitude office I holler up to the roof where we keep a menagerie of chipmunks enslaved, running on hamster wheels next to the satellite dish that communicates with the world wide web. (Who said I was against the exploitation of free labor?) FASTER CHIPMUNKS! I shout out the window so as to get the webpage of GOOP to load, with its confetti of landing page videos and oscillating tight-faced garden vegetable eating white women.

I have journeyed to the mecca of web wellness this morning because I've just gotten off the phone with Susan, my mother, the soapmaker. News from wholesale soap headquarters: Goop is driving her crazy. Like any large corporate entity with a complex shipping warehouse, Goop is extremely particular about how our soap is labeled and shipped to their warehouse. They require that we print a specific label - in yellow ink only - on each box of soap that we ship them. One thing about my mother - she does not like waste - and she's throwing out perfectly good inkjet cartridges left and right.

A larger company might buy a printer that has individual colored ink cartridges. And a larger company might accept Goop's new terms - they notified Susan this week that they would only be paying 45% of our suggested retail price instead of the standard 50%. This is the real reason Susan called this morning - would we concede to this demand? Goop has major market influence and right now I'm working to expand the soapmaking operation to help fund our work here at Worlds End. If there's one entity I won't compromise with it's a corporate bully. I call Susan back and tell her to pull the account.

To be frank, I enjoyed my deep dive into Goop. I discover a lot of interesting content about exercises to tighten my pelvic floor for stronger orgasms and drinking collagen for nicer skin. Which means I'm looking for better orgasms or nicer skin? Am I? Here in lies the trouble with goop and the wellness industry as a whole -- it thrives on people feeling un-well in order to profit. It needs people to feel lousy and it thrives on a sense of not good enough. 

But theres a deeper problem that underpins all of that, and it has to do with the way women are with each other.

Over the summer Taffy Brodessor Anker wrote a profile about Goop and it's founder Gwenyth Paltrow. In it she spends considerable time comparing herself (they're the same age, they both have two children, etc) to Paltrow. Anker is a great writer but I was so disappointed by the level of self deprecation she employes to be funny and make her point. We read about her giant feet compared to Gwenyth's Barbie-like toes, and we read a painful comparison of her children to Apple and Moses. At the end of the piece she devolves into a excruciating account of hustling through LAX to get home to her own life.

I'm tired of this brand of insidious female comparison masked as self deprecating humor. It makes me feel sad. It perpetuates the deep seeded mythology that constantly calls for women to be small, humble, non-threatening and well liked. There is too much comparison and judgement that occurs between women. It wastes time and keeps us from our real feminine prowess.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Work table in the studio this afternoon. More words and pictures tomorrow. Realizing tonight that maybe my personal work as a florist is not yet finished. What is it to be a woman in 2018 if not simply to own the ability to change one's mind?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

training Georgio

Georgio, our border collie. Have begun to train him on sheep with Barb Armata who also helped me train Ziggy, may she rest in peace - or better yet, in never ending circles around sheep.
God, I loved that little nut.

Georgio is also called 'Gigi' or sometimes 'Gerome' when Zoe speaks to him in French like she's Celine Dion. He's definitely a male dog, a bit more clumsy than our girls, and rather obvious in his desire for affection. He chases cars, a real problem. When UPS rolls up, this dog jumps into the truck while it's still moving, stands up at the dashboard and looks out the windshield with the driver while Zoe and I run from different sides of the farm screaming NO GEORGI, NO!
The driver (also male) gives him a cookie (!?) and so the cycle continues.

If you want to know what training a border collie is like, imagine a lot of yelling. When I went to my first sheep-working dog trial years ago (as a spectator) I remember laughing with Eric at the intensity of the dog owners. It's a visual manifestation of classic control issues. At my last lesson up on the practice field, after a particularly messy whirlwind of Georgio and two Scottish Blackface sheep, Barb said to me 'Maybe you could try sounding a little less desperate.'

Saturday, October 13, 2018

wedding in Ghent last weekend.

We assembled the dream team last weekend to make a wedding in Ghent for a bride who was lucky enough to pick a weekend when our farm dahlias were peaking and when FedEx didn't fuck up shipments of garden roses from California. It's nice when things go according to plan although I like to think I'm excellent (Bryony arguably better) at troubleshooting when things don't. In another life I'd be an air traffic controller or, the president. War rooms appeal to me for some reason. 

Used mostly all Worlds End flowers, bought in roses (Rose Story farm in CA this time) and imported Japanese delphinium because we needed that specific blue and were hard pressed to have anything blue here this time of year. That Japanese delphinium is incredibly delicate looking but hardy as all get out - lasts 2 weeks in a vase. You pay the price; $7.50 a stem. 

Hydrangea are still going gang busters here; we had to buy some new shrubs to use in an installation to spruce up a portable bathroom trailer (rest assured theres a whole post coming next week on bathroom trailer decor - also is that my book deal angle?) this is exciting because they'll get planted now here at Worlds End and make us even richer in the hydrangea department. Too much is not enough. I avoid 'pinky winky' - that pointy hussy of a popularity contest now in garden centers and prefer for a good old 'quickfire' (shown above) or 'tardiva' or even better 'invincible spirit.'

'Love in a puff' vine (cardiosperum), nicotiana (can't tell you the variety, they're all Worlds End hybrids at this point in our field, showing up as volunteers season to season) chocolate cosmos - our best crop yet, celosia, porcelain berry, oakleaf hydrangea leaves which look like leather. 

God bless Danica Designs in Maine for keeping us in all the colors of taper candles we could ever need -- this color is called 'honey.'

They look nice, and they are. Lucky to work with such talent, always.