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A Lightning Round

Almost since we started the farm, Audra and I have listened to Chris Blanchard’s “Farmer to Farmer Podcast.” I don’t even remember how we learned about it, but from the first episode I heard, I was hooked. Each episode is essentially Chris interviewing a small-scale grower and learning about their farm and how it fits into their life. The podcasts are engaging, funny, insightful, and uniquely educational for small growers like us. Even a couple of our “farmer friends” were interviewed for the show. Audra and I would occasionally joke that if we ever got our act together, maybe we could be cool enough/successful enough/lucky enough to be interviewed as well. This fall, Chris Blanchard passed away after a long battle with an illness. Though I never met him in person, or even spoke to him in writing, he has left a profound impact on my life. I have listened to his voice in my ear for dozens of hours. As a result, I, like so many other listeners, feel as though I got to …

Redefining the Notion of Success

I’ve been thinking a lot about what “success” feels like for me and for the farm.  I think part of this fascination has been a direct result of my new obsession with constantly listening to farming-related podcasts as I work.  This is a double edged sword. Typically, to become a guest on one of these podcasts, you need to be a pretty “successful” farmer in some way. On some days these podcasts can be inspirational and provide me a cornucopia of ideas to try out on our little farm.  On other days, though, listening to all these people’s seemingly instant success just really pisses me off. What is it about other people being successful that, on our worst days at least, make us intensely, irrationally, immaturely jealous? I mean, how in the hell can these people be so successful, so quickly?  What are they doing that I’m not doing? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be?  What’s closer to the truth is that we’re all slogging through the swamp of life.  Everyone’s boots get …

The Booger on the Sheet

It was a spring day when I was changing my son’s sheets on his bed when I noticed the weird shape hanging off the side of his fitted sheet and on his bed skirt. I knew what it was before I actually knew what it was. I had done the same thing as a kid. Too lazy to get up to get a tissue, I’d wipe my nose contents on the side of my bed, hoping no one would notice, especially my mom. When I came downstairs to ask my son about it, he got a confused look on his face and said, “How did you know I did that?” My response: “I’m a mom, I know these things.” The booger on the sheet. The little tiny secret that doesn’t really hurt anyone, but also doesn’t tell the full story. We’ve also had a giant booger on our sheet. A figurative booger–please know I stopped doing that when I was 8. I’ve had a thing looming in the background that I’ve not talked about all …

Dahlias (A Slap of Reality)

We haven’t posted at all this summer. We have had some major turns of events happen behind the scenes for us (more on that later). As we’ve become more established, have more businesses buying from us, have strangers approach us on the street to ask us if we are from Finding Eminence Farm because they’ve seen our Instagram (this has happened twice – we are by no means celebrities), it’s been really hard to be so open about what’s happening on our farm, like it was in the beginning. There were only a few eyes and now there are many. So when we fall and talk about it, it seems to hurt more on our end. So with my teeth gritted against themselves, I share with you one of our biggest fails this season: dahlias. “Chris we need to quadruple our dahlia production for 2018. It’ll be a cash cow. Let’s move them out of the hoop house and grow them in the field.” 2017 Audra told 2017 Chris in their annual “Come to Jesus” …

2 Months Go By

How have two months flown by since our last farm update? In May we had our first peony flower arranging class. It’s hard to think of a time that existed when the days and nights were cool and you didn’t sweat in places you didn’t know you had. Some other awesome local businesses that have bought our flowers and microgreens are Forget Me Not Flowers, Hy-Vee, Growing Grounds, Kemp’s Upper Tap, Nightshop, Sugar Mama Bakery, Daffodil Lane, Chesterbrook Academy, and Green Top Grocery. We are extending those feelers and developing those relationships to get people on board with the good ass stuff that we grow. This year, it feels like we finally have a weed management plan down. And by weed management plan, I mean I wear gross overall bibs, a dorky hat, and force myself to go through each plant and weed everything by hand and with a colinear hoe. Chris keeps us on top of our spraying schedule. We utilize organic pesticides and fungicides to control insects, powdery mildew, and various disease issues …

Spring Farm Update

It’s hard to believe we are starting our fourth summer here at the farm. Yet, here we are. Chris has become a seed starting and micro green badass. We still order in a fair share of plugs of the varieties we’ve figured out we are just not great at growing. Almost all of the seeds Chris has started looks as if they were grown in a professional, heated greenhouse. We decided last fall to stop growing a lot of things okay and drill down and grow a few things really well. Chris has been growing and delivering micro greens each week to Green Top Grocery. We saw a need with other florists last fall for dahlias, so we kicked off a lot of varieties we were kind of crappy at growing and went full blast with dahlias. We definitely scratched our heads when 3/4 of them went in and took up most of our growing space. “Um, oops,” I said to Chris as he gave me the buggy-eyed “WTF” look that I know all too …

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Need something special for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13th? Because let’s be real, Mother’s Day isn’t just about Moms, it’s about all the special women in your life who have put up with all of your shennanigans for years. Here are some great gift ideas: Pop-up Shop at Retrofit Join us at a pop-up shop at Retrofit Culture Saturday, May 12th | 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Retrofit Culture | 104 W. Washington, Bloomington, IL We will be making custom flower arrangements, with your input, and selling bagged and living microgreens. Purchase a Custom Arrangement Purchase a custom arrangement that can be picked up on the farm or delivered just in time for Mother’s Day. Arrangements start at $45 and our anemones and ranunculus are mixed in with other beautiful spring blooms in a ceramic keepsake pot that can be reused to plant summer flowers in. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Arrangements can be purchased here.  Take a Class Bring your favorite bottle of wine and create a farm fresh flower centerpiece at Finding …

Three Years Old

It’s official. Finding Eminence Farm is three years old and we’re about to enter our fourth growing season. We are not the same people we were when we moved in. This business and land have changed us. In 2015, we had a handful of seed packets, an 18 month old baby, a freshly bought farm, and a crazy idea that left our family and friends wondering what the hell we were thinking. Fast forward three years and we have established peonies we will cut on in a few months (see past blog post about how I didn’t believe we’d ever be able to cut on them), a hoop house full of growing ranunculus and tulips, a 4 1/2 year old, an assload of seeds and plants, classes filling up, weddings booked, and our family and friends still wondering what the hell we’re doing. Somehow we’re still here, somehow our marriage is still intact, and somehow we have a resilient kid who LOVES this farm. The most baffling thing about our farm is the things that …

The Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Ah, the joys of planning a wedding, right? You have found a photographer, you’ve found a venue, you are thinking about what the wedding party will wear and now you’re down to the flowers. Before you reach out to any florist, here are some things to think about. Typically flowers account for 8-10% of your total wedding budget. So let’s get really honest about some things to consider to help stretch those flower dollars: Have a smaller bridal party. 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen? We know you love your squad, but that also means a bouquet and a boutonnière for each of those wonderful people, which increases your floral budget significantly. Reuse ceremony flowers. Skip the aisle markers and go with a large alter arrangement or arbor that can be moved and reused at the reception. Reuse bridesmaids’ bouquets. Don’t pay for additional arrangements for the head table. Get beautiful vases, place the bridesmaids bouquets in them, call them centerpieces, and go dance the night away. Reuse cocktail arrangements. Purchase small arrangements to go on the …

Microgreens are not Sprouts

It was announced yesterday that a salmonella outbreak has been linked to sprouts that were sold on sandwiches at Jimmy John’s. Some consumers use the terms “sprouts” and “microgreens” interchangeably, but they are actually very different crops that are grown in very different ways.  At Finding Eminence Farm, we grow only micro greens, not sprouts. Since they are often so easily confused, we thought it was important to highlight the differences.  Even the Center for Disease Control posted on their facebook about this breaking news story about sprouts with an image of micro greens. Here are the main differences between micro greens and sprouts. Sprouts: Sprouts are germinated in water. To prevent mold growth, they are rinsed one to two times per day Very little light and nutrition is needed for sprouts to grow They require high humidity to grow To ensure their safety, it is recommended that sprouts are cooked to prevent food borne illness since they are grown in dark, humid, and wet conditions (a perfect situation for icky stuff to grow) Micro greens: …