Specialty cut flowers offer great potential for farmers to diversify operations, fill a need for Nevada consumers and businesses, and can increase farm profits.
Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute offers a Specialty Cut Flowers, Growing Your Business workshop on Monday, July 30, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the WNC Carson City campus. The event will include a farm tour. Cost is $35 for those registering by July 23, $45 after July 23. Lunch is included. Seating is limited, and registration is required.
The workshop will begin at Smith & Smith Farms in Dayton where students will tour the cut flower fields during peak harvest season. The tour will emphasize proper harvesting techniques for cut flowers and best practices for post-harvest handling to ensure long vase life. Following the farm tour, a classroom lecture at WNC Carson City will focus on the opportunities and challenges of a specialty cut flower business, including production and marketing details.
Featured speaker and farmer Brenda Smith is a leader in the cut flower industry and former West Regional Director for the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers. She co-founded Smith & Smith Farms and has been growing cut flowers commercially since 1996. Three generations of the family are involved in the business - Smith's mother and nephew also manage the flower operation.
While most cut flowers are imported, there is growing demand for locally grown flowers which typically provide longer vase life, offer more variety and do not require shipping. With consumer demand for locally grown products at an all-time high, farmers can find sales opportunities at florists, farmers markets, restaurants and retailers.
The WNC Specialty Crop Institute is an innovative program that teaches alternative farming methods for local growers. Funding for this project was provided by the Nevada Department of Agriculture and USDA/AMS through the Specialty Crop Block Grant.