Love is in the air and it wouldn’t be Valentine’s week without the perfect bouquet of flowers. Of course, people have been cultivating flowers long before advertisers and marketers started heavily promoting holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. We love flowers because they’re colorful, smell great, and their beauty can perk up any room or mood. As the seasons change, so do the selection of flowers you might find, but one thing that never changes is just how beautiful a fresh bouquet of flowers can make any room feel. This week we put a focus on the Certified American Grown cut flower program, which ensures that the flowers you buy in store are in fact grown in the United States. Our newest addition to the program is Wild Lark Farm, where there’s always something in bloom. We get to go field to vase with owner Terri Barr and discuss her passion as a grower.
Getting to Know Wild Lark Farm
Wild Lark Farm’s owner, Terri Barr, grew up on a farm in Kansas where her family grew corn, wheat, milo and soybeans. I’m sure it doesn’t come as a shock that her parents also tended to a large garden. In fact, every year Terri’s mom would let her and her sisters pick out whatever flowers caught their eye at their local small-town nursery. Each of them would get their very own plant and, of course, they would pick out the most brightly colored flowers they could find. Terri had lots of great memories like that throughout her childhood that would eventually lead her back to what she loves most.
Shortly after high school, she left home to attend college in Oklahoma. During that time, she got married and started working at a civil engineering firm. Terri loved her job and co-workers but wanted to find her way back outside, to her true passion: growing. Fast forward 15 years, to Claremore, Oklahoma, where Terri finds herself with 40 acres and a dream. She had the opportunity in 2017 to visit the Pacific Northwest and wanted to bring that flower experience back home to Oklahoma. Armed with all the experiences of a farm kid, in 2018 she began Wild Lark Farm.
The response for Terri has been overwhelmingly positive. We asked Terri why she loves flower farming and she said, “The obvious one is that I spend a great amount of time in rows upon rows of flowers. I love the excitement people have when they first see the farm, and I love the joy others express when they are gifted flowers from the farm.” Terri has made countless connections through her flower-cultivating talents, a truly humbling experience.
The Certification Process
Terri takes her farming practices very seriously, which means providing the best product possible to her customers. The farm is committed to growing specialty and heirloom flowers bringing the best Oklahoma has to offer and proud to be the first Oklahoma flower farm to achieve Certified American Grown status.
By obtaining the Certified American Grown certification, Wild Lark Farm is a part of a unified coalition of farmers in the U.S. that provide the only third-party guarantee in the floral industry. The third-party verification service is provided by none other than Where Food Comes From. Not only does it identify the origin of the flowers or foliage but it ensures that the flowers and bouquets were assembled in the United States.
What are the Benefits?
The Certified American Grown program helps connect flower farms in the United States to their customers. This group of farmers is dedicated to the same principles and standards:
ORIGIN: flowers and foliage are grown in the U.S. by American farmers.
ASSEMBLY: All ingredients in mixed bouquets are 100% grown AND assembled in the U.S.
Farms participating in this certification participate in a rigorous audit process that allows them to carry the Certified American Grown logo to their packaging and marketing materials. Just like Terri, more and more flower farmers are seeking the certification because it promotes the flower business in a new and strategic way.
“It was important to me to let the people of Oklahoma know that I take growing very seriously. ‘I’m dedicated to growing top-quality flowers and foliage, and I wanted a platform that supports and encourages this cause. I feel the level of accountability required promotes mindfulness in both the grower and the buyer.” – Terri Barr Wild Lark Farms
If you’re a flower farmer and want to learn more about American Grown flower movement, click here to get Certified! Or, if you want purchase flowers for an upcoming event from Wild Lark Farm, visit their Contact Us page.