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Living Local: A Floral Masterpiece

Masterpiece Flower Farm: Crystal Giesey

 

Photo of Masterpiece Farm in Whaleyville, MD. Photo: Sarah Murray

Masterpiece Flower Farm is a flourishing mother-daughter cut flower production farm on the outskirts of Whaleyville, Maryland. Crystal Giesey and her mother, Misty Fields, began growing flowers as a hobby, and seven years ago they decided to turn their passion into a business venture. In the beginning, they sold their flowers at just one farmers market, and have since grown to selling to four markets a week during season, one market year-round, and complete a multitude of wedding orders.

 

Their originally fallow four-acre field has required years of time-consuming cultivation, uncertain investment, and a lot of family dedication to transform it into the blooming landscape it is today. It is important to understand that in cut flower production everything is done by hand. Crystal explained, “We lay our landscape fabric by hand, we burn holes in the fabric by hand, we plant everything by hand, we weed by hand, we harvest by hand. It is all manual. There are no mechanized tools to plant, harvest, or anything.”

 

Farmer Crystal on her farm. Photo: Sarah Murray

This is even more impressive after learning about the number of plants Masterpiece produces. For those unfamiliar with plant terminology, a perennial plant is one that continues to grow year after year while remaining dormant throughout the winter (peonies). An annual flower is typically planted in the spring or summer months, blooms for the season, and then, unlike the perennial, dies (sunflowers). Woody plants are plants that have hard stems (ex: trees and shrubs), and are usually perennial plants. “Woody’s are more of a long-term investment, when you plant, you are not going to be cutting right away. It will probably take a good five years to get going, but they will be something that will really impact our business long term. We are at about thirty five percent perennials, and the rest is annuals. We grow lots of annuals in the summer – sunflowers, snap dragons, scabious – we have about a hundred different varieties that we grow.” 

 

On the Eastern Shore, the blooming season is typically March through November, but Crystal explained that this has been changing throughout the years. She acknowledges that the planting seasons are changing because of changes in the climate. “I will say that the climate has changed. I can see that; I am out in it every day. We have warmer warms and colder colds.” She has taken steps to mitigate the impacts. “We have changed ways in how we farm to combat these climate challenges.

 

In the beginning, I was bringing rain barrels full of water in my van to water crops, and then it went from being super dry to super wet. We went from not having enough water to having too much. It was a super rainy season, so we dealt with a lot of rot in the beginning.” Crystal and her mother persevered through these challenges because they care deeply about bringing joy to their community by providing cut flowers in the most environmentally conscious ways possible. According to Crystal, everything on their farm is grown as sustainably as possible. “We use organic methods, we don’t spray – even with organic measures – unless we absolutely have to, such as if we are going to lose an entire crop. In 2019, we did not spray at all.”

 

As she continues to invest her time, money, and heart into Masterpiece Flower Farm, Crystal would like to encourage the community to buy flowers domestically, seasonally, and purchase with conscious consumerism. “Be aware of where your flowers are coming from and spend your money with farmers who, like me, have families and are local market garden farmers. When you buy locally, you are not supporting a giant corporation, you are supporting myself, my husband, my three-year-old, and my mother.” It is important for the community to remember that locally grown products extend far beyond fruits and vegetables. There are many farmers and small business owners throughout the Coastal Bays community that rely heavily on the support of people like you.

Photo: Sarah Murray

Masterpiece Flower Farm products can be found year round at their farm stand located on Hall Rd in Whaleyville, MD and at the Camden Avenue farmers market in Salisbury, MD. Beginning in May, they can be found at the Lewes, DE and Bethany, DE, farmers markets. For further inquiries, please contact Crystal via the Masterpiece website, www.masterpieceflowerfarm.com, or via their Facebook or Instagram.

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