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Welcome Back Flower Farmers!

Posted by Corinne Monaco at May 06, 2020 02:09 PM |
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April showers bring May flowers, though there have been fewer bouquets around than usual. One of the agricultural communities most impacted by losses due to COVID-19 is our state’s flower farmers. We are thrilled that flowers are now allowed to return to Seattle's farmers markets,and know that our flower farmers will need ample community support to get back on their feet.

Lee Lor Garden is one of the many flower farmers that sell their gorgeous blooms at our farmers markets. Farmer Lee and his wife Blia have joined us at the West Seattle Farmers Market since it’s very first day 21 years ago, and it's been a joy watching their family grow and children become adults. Lee Lor Garden grows in the fertile Snoqualmie River Valley. The Lor family specializes in unique and culturally relevant produce, and are most well known for their gorgeous flowers and dazzling arrangements. Their journey to farming was not easy, as Melisa Lor, their daughter, explains,  

"After the Vietnam War, also known as the Laotian Civil War, many Hmong civilians camping in Thailand were able to immigrate into the US, where many began starting their new lives. Blia came in the late ’70s, and Lee followed in the mid ’80s. After ten years of hard work, working multiple jobs, and saving every single penny, they were able to start their own business officially in 1994. Lee Lor Garden is a small family business built on hard work.”  


            Photo: Farmer Lee of Lee Lor Garden preparing his fields.

Farmers Blong and Chor of Blong’s Garden have also been vending at our markets for over two decades. You will often see the entire family helping at markets, including their children, (now grown, we can hardly believe it!) Like many of his peers, Farmer Blong’s attention to detail and thoughtful observation of his land has enabled him to grow gorgeous flowers using minimal resources. Blong and Chor's daughter, Nikki, shared some of her parent's farming methods with us,

“Sometimes plants need a bit of help - for example, it’s a bit chilly this spring. We have some tulips on the ground that are covered and some that aren’t. As we await the predicament of the weather and check on the quality of our flowers, we adjust accordingly by covering them towards the end of their growth (if they are outside) to give them some extra love, stabilization, and a fighting chance.” 


            Photo: Farmer Chor Cha of Blong's Garden builds a bouquet. 

Right now, that’s exactly what flower farmers need- love, stabilization, and a fighting chance. In addition to Lee Lor Garden and Blong's Garden, we work with over a dozen flower farmers at our markets, and they need support to recover from economic losses caused by COVID-19. That’s where you come in. Help us replenish the Good Farmer Fund, so we can continue to support Washington Flower Farmers and enjoy their spring bounty for years to come. It’s not too late to Give Big!

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