Meet Our Local Vendors – Inevitable Farm

  in Blog

Not only do we have a plethora of wonderful local farms that grow delicious fresh produce, we are also pleased to offer fresh locally-grown flowers from farms like Inevitable Farm in Leelanau County. Jim Lemire and Denise Samuels purchased the farm in 2015 with the intention of starting a vineyard or orchard. After living in suburban Detroit, and with a shared passion for gardening, starting a farm in northern Michigan was a dream come true. After strolling through the wild hills of the property to assess what the best crop to grow would be, they discovered hundreds of peony plants. It turned out the land had once been a flower farm. This providential discovery sent them towards a new goal, reviving the flower farm! The choice seemed inevitable, hence the farm name!

We asked Jim and Denise a few questions to help us get acquainted with the life of a flower farmer:

What do you love most about growing flowers?   
What we love the most, besides watching them grow, is the smile they bring to people who can see and experience them. Peonies are one of the first flowers to bloom in spring and that along with the memories that people have of their parents or grandparents who grew them, are always enjoyable to hear. We also love the community of flower growers in the Traverse City area. We get together a few times a year and discuss what we are growing, our learning challenges and surprises.

What is one thing you find challenging about growing flowers? 
Trying to limit ourselves from growing too many different kinds of flowers!

What are your growing practices?
Peonies love cold winters and sunny summers, so we are lucky to grow where we do. We do not use herbicides at all on the flower beds, since they do not tolerate it and it’s best for the environment as a whole. We hand weed about 3 times a year; spring, post harvest and fall. After 8 years we are finding that weed pressure is becoming a little easier each year. To suppress weeds and retain soil moisture, each spring we add leaf and/or wood chip mulch. A shovel of compost every other year helps retain soil health.

What are your plans for the future?
We are always experimenting with what grows best in our environment, given the soil and weather conditions we have. Peonies grow so well in our climate but in addition, we have found  different flowers that really do well in our farm, such as Lady’s Mantle, Yarrow, thornless Blackberry, Straw flowers, Allium, Delphinium, and Campanula. We currently have about 4,000 peony plants and feel that is a good balance for working with local and florists statewide. We are looking to continue growing relationships with florists in Michigan.

What happens during the flower harvest?
We are lucky to have a good network of friends who want to help during harvest. It becomes an annual event that provides the excitement of harvesting thousands of beautiful peony flowers over a few days.  It is a lot of hard work but when everyone is working together it can be a satisfying experience.

Inevitable Farm peony bouquets are typically available at both stores at the end of May and beginning of June.