We had a wonderful conversation with Martha Lojewski, Executive Director and Sales Manager of the Alaska Peony Cooperative, for our March edition of our Masterclass Series! We learned a ton of information about life on the farm in Alaska, peony care 101, and what to expect when ordering your peonies. Here is a full recap of our discussion!
About Alaska Peony Cooperative
In the spring of 2015, the Alaska Peony Cooperative was formed to help farms to do more collectively than they could individually. Alaska Peony Cooperative currently has nine members that grow the peonies. Depending on the farm, different peonies are grown in differing quantities. The members meet each week to discuss the farms' happenings and get ready for the harvest season.
When you buy peonies from Alaska Peony Cooperative, you are contributing to the success of Alaska family-owned farms. The growers work hard to ensure the quality of each peony you buy. The farms allow their peony plants to mature for an average of 3-5 years before harvesting the first stem. Your flowers pass through fewer hands and are fresh from the fields.
"Research into peonies as a specialty cut flower in Alaska began in 2001, and interest quickly spread throughout the State. Several adventurous individuals and families ventured out to explore becoming commercial flower farmers in our unique climate. Now there are more than 40 commercial peony farms spread out across our great state, working together to bring you exquisite flowers. Alaska boasts a reputation for rugged wilderness and unsurpassed beauty with a people as tough as our climate. Our farmers are no exception and are true adventurers in a blooming industry with limitless potential."
In their farm-based packing facility, each peony stem is hand plucked, chilled, sorted, and carefully packaged for shipping. Yes, each farm has its own cooler system! They have teamed up with UPS to get lower shipping rates and assure that the peonies get at your door within 24 hours of leaving the farm.
Life On The Farm
Alaska is a beautiful landscape, and with peonies around you, what could be better? Martha and her family spend half of the year on the peony farm during picking season. Living off the grid to be one with nature is what you will experience at Mt. McKinley Farm.
"Our family farm is situated on the banks of the Susitna River with 180-degree views of the Alaska Range and Mount Susitna and provides a five-acre playground for our two young daughters. Our farm is just as much about sustainably growing stunning peonies as it is about creating a lifestyle we are proud to raise our girls in. We do everything by hand with hard work, determination, and making it a fun endeavor for the whole family."
During the months of July and August, Alaska has some of the most gorgeous peonies. Long summer days and fertile soil combine to produce the state's distinctive enormous blooms and vibrant colors. Peonies require a cold dormant period to insure proper growth. That's why Alaska is perfect with its extreme winter months!
Alaska Peony Cooperative has so many resources to learn more about proper care and more interesting facts on their blog, The Peony Journal.
Interested in ordering Peonies?
You can request quotes for your peonies directly from Details! Alaska Peony Cooperative provides premium blooms to all of its customers. That means you get the best of the best large peonies! Standing orders are already piling up, so if you know you are wanting peonies for the summer, now is the time to start placing your orders.
Inquire through Details via the Event Cost Page, or email Martha directly to guarantee your peony order.
Make sure to check out our complete recap video below and download our Cliff's Notes here!
3rd Annual Homer, Alaska Peony Celebration: July 8-30, 2022
"Celebrate Summer in Homer, The City of Peonies, with farm tours, art classes, gallery exhibitions, workshops, and self-guided tours. Homer's cool, misty seaside hillsides and fields offer the perfect growing conditions for growing this fantastic, popular, fragrant flower. Homer is proud to have 25 Peony farms and to welcome all to join us in celebrating the beautiful, fragrant blooms!"
The Floral Source: Flower Farm Immersion Trips, Alaska Retreat: July 18-23, 2022
"You will have the opportunity to participate in an intimate group retreat-style setting, where we will be able to focus on how to build up your confidence, knowledge, and ability to source year-round. We will be visiting flower farms and walking side-by-side with the farmers to better understand their product, their missions, and their process. Sharing each other’s stories fosters development and trust in every farmer-florist relationship"
Fleur de Paeonia: Check out this article to learn more about this fashion-forward event by our friend, Debra Prinzing!
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