Rural Missouri - September 2017 - 22
Fulfilled with flowers
Beaufort ﬂower farm focuses on the joy each stem brings
by Katie Cassidy | email@example.com
t Flower Hill Farm, the farmer's dirt-stained hands carefully pick up
a Lisianthus, a challenging breed to grow in open ﬁelds. She smiles,
admiring the beautiful bloom that gave her such a test. She stares
at her intricate blossom knowing all the work - and failed tries -
behind it. "So everybody all of a sudden wants to be a ﬂower farmer now," she
says with a smile.
Flower farming is a rising trend among young farmers, and Vicki Lander is
one of the trendsetters. "People don't realize how hard it is to make a living,"
she says. "It's hard. Excruciatingly hard; it takes a lot."
Vicki and her husband, Jack, have lived on their 35-acre farm near Beaufort for the past ﬁve years. They've used their land - which is about 50 miles
outside of St. Louis - to grow and sell beautiful offerings for occasions ranging
from "just because" to "I do."
It's not just ﬂowers though. Vicki likes to grow everything. It's always been
that way. She started helping with her father's vegetable and petunia garden.
That feeling she had with her father sticks with her today. "I like being in the
dirt. That is my favorite part of all," she says.
Vicki became a master gardener for the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1991.
She rented land outside of St. Louis to farm for herself and learn the ins and
outs of the business. She worked for zinnia queen Vivian Gelman as a landscaper, a farmhand and through a USDA grant, did work as a farm manager.
In that role, Vicki was able to attend conferences all across the state, learning
endless amounts of information about her passion.
She trained many young farmers in an apprenticeship program. Not wanting to compete with her trainees, she wanted to
venture out to a new market. "At that time there was not another
ﬂower farmer at the farmers market in St. Louis. So I thought it was
a niche," she says.
Vicki and Jack use their individual skills and interests in harmony
to keep the farm running and successful. Jack's passion - beekeeping - isn't the same as Vicki's, but related. His beekeeping works
hand in hand with Vicki's love of ﬂower farming.
"We have so many huge adventures, and beekeeping is one of them,"
Jack says. "But the horticultural knowledge that Vicki knows so well,
that's been huge for us."
Jack takes on the extraneous matters of the farm. He works on the irrigation system to make sure the plants are vibrant and well watered. He keeps the
critters away from the ﬂowers with numerous improvement projects around the
Below left: Mira Buck, 2, helps Vicki harvest ﬂowers at Flower Hill Farm in rural Beaufort. Below Middle: Vicki harvests her beautiful ﬂowers in the evening as the sun begins to set. She only can
harvest ﬂowers during the cooler parts of the day. She then delivers them to ﬂorists and farmers markets throughout St. Louis.
RURAL MISSOURI | SEPTEMBER 2017
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2017
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Contents
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - 5
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Rural Missouri - September 2017 - 7
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Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - September 2017 - Cover4