How We Got started
It seems like a funny start, but Summer Roads Flower Co. was born in my heart and mind as I struggled to apply the ecological restoration practices that I had learned in university to a barren, compacted area of driveway fill that had been dumped into my horse pasture during a construction project. I began by trying to till the area with a rototiller. It broke. Then I put two pigs on the area in the hope that they would root it up and deposit their manure. That helped, but it still wasn't enough. The next year, out came the pick axe to create trenches. I filled them with composted horse manure and I planted whatever flower seeds my family had lying around. Amazingly the plants (cosmos, zinnias, snapdragons, and larkspur) began to grow and to thrive. I had enough flowers to cut and give away. There were so many bees and butterflies enjoying the flowers. At the end of the season, I put a spade in the ground in those growing trenches and I discovered to my amazement that the spade went in easily to a greater depth than the depth of the compost. That miracle of soil regeneration inspired me to think about farming and about regenerative agriculture.
As a child I was given the gift of folk music by my father. Every week we would listen together to the Max Ferguson Show on CBC radio. Every year my father would make a mix tape of the best songs on the show. One of those songs was Summer Roads by Tommy Makem. "Summer Roads, all full of turns and bends, Summer Roads that lead to all my friends, Summer Roads by summer streams where I live all my winter dreams, and the good times always start down Summer Roads". This song inspires my farm name.
I had to make a choice about what kind of farming I would do. I had spent summers working on an organic vegetable farm, a year working on a lovely sheep farm, and I had animals of my own. However I realized that I wouldn't be able to sustain vegetable or livestock production on my small, diverse property. But I could grow flowers! And so it all began. I took courses on flower farming, I took business courses, I began to research. The more I found out about the cut flower industry, the more I realized that an alternative local model for cut flower production was desperately needed. I was determined to grow beautiful, local, seasonally-appropriate flowers that I could offer directly to others in my community of Peterborough County at a fair price.
I had an inspiration, I had a name, and I had a reason, and so was born Summer Roads Flower Co.