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Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013

beachbites Flower Farming Bulbs and blooms by SHANNON RAE GENTRY Soffice manager Karen Frye. ays“There used to be lots of flower farms in Castle Hayne, with gladiolus and daffodil fields … but we’re pretty much the last,” selling finished Carolina Bouquets at the local farmers’ markets, Castle Hayne Farms ships flowers across the country. Theirs are thebouquets you see and smell when you step inside Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Harris Teeter and Earth Fare. The flower-growing season usually starts after Christmas and ends in June, with about 60 people working seven days a week, arriving at 6:30 a.m. some days and picking flowers after 7 p.m. on others. While peonies are the farm’s cash crop, Frye says most of the bulbs imported from Holland are Dutch iris. “And different bulbs require different types of care,” she says. The irises grown in varying stages require computer-regulated greenhouse temperatures, despite late spring freezes, when two people, usually owners Mark Hommes and Edwin van de Bovenkamp, must stay overnight. Van de Bovenkamp, who has worked on the farm for 25 years and owned the land with Hommes for the past eight, says he enjoys the challenges of operating a farm. “Every day is different and our farm is unique because of its location and its history,” he says. “Our region has its own microclimate, which makes it a good place to grow the crops that we grow.” Almost always growing the same flowers each year in various shades of spring, Frye says the successful formula of peonies, irises and other favorites will not likely change. For more information about the history of or seasonal flowers from Castle Hayne Farms, visit www.castlehaynefarms.com 13 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013
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