The phrase “farm-to-table” has become almost a cliche but Dan’s Flower Farm in Sedgwick offers a new twist for wedding planners — “farm-to-altar” flowers take the “fresh, local, organic” concept to a new level.Nearly 80% of the flowers sold in this country are imported, mostly from Latin America, according to Flower Confidential author Amy Stewart. They are essentially factory flowers. Nygaard’s flowers are the antithesis: grown in his two-acre Sedgwick cutting garden, Nygaard doesn’t use a greenhouse, eliminating the need for pesticides. Instead, he starts seeds indoors and moves the seedlings to his screen porch for hardening off before he and his partner Juli Perry plant them directly into raised beds.
The result is flowers as fresh as a Maine sea breeze. But there is a downside — brides and party planner have to be flexible when planning their special day. This season is a case in point: with winter hanging on well into April, many varieties are delaying their debuts. Some biennials, such as Sweet William and hollyhocks, didn’t make it through the winter at all. Nygaard’s solution is variety. He grows more than 220 kinds of perennials, biennials, annuals and shrubs, so something beautiful is always in bloom. On a recent weekend, he was selling gorgeous bouquets of peonies, lilacs and lupine, three flowers not usually in bloom at the same time.So while Nygaard can’t necessarily guarantee poppies in July, he can guarantee fresh and gorgeous.
In addition to brides, Nygaard’s customers include event planners, flower designers, caterers, and florists — anyone who values the casual cottage garden style. For those wanting to make their own arrangements, Nygaard offers bulk flowers by the bucket. Many brides have told him how much fun it was to include members of the wedding party in this activity. Nygaard and Perry will also make arrangements, boutonnières, and hand-tied bouquets.
Dan’s Flower Farm Flowers are available at the Stonington Farmers Market every Friday from 10AM to Noon as well as other farmers markets in the area (Check with Dan 359-2047 or visit his farm at 8 Flower Farm Lane in Sedgwick). And be sure to ask about his wife Leslie Anderson’s new book Summer Stories, too.