Since the conception of Milton Market, I have always wanted to offer seasonal fresh cut flowers. I was thrilled to find Anderson Acres and to carry their flowers since our opening in May of 2019. We've always been proud to stock and support local makers, and in this case, growers. We are pleased to introduce you to Michelle, owner of Anderson Acres, and Cameron, the farm's manager. There's so much more to their story... please read on. And, be sure to stop by the shop on Thursday afternoons to pick up fresh cut flowers from Anderson Acres (check our Instagram story for details) or stop by their farm stand in Kent from 2 to 5 PM.
MARTHA: TELL US ABOUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL FARM…
MICHELLE: Anderson Acres was owned by the Anderson Family since 1903, and until 2012 when my husband Ron and I bought the farm from Ky Anderson who was born and raised in the original white farmhouse on Anderson Acres Road. She had raised horses on the farm since the 1960s and many people who grew up in the area used to ride on the trails on our property. When we saw the land, it was love at first sight and we could not get it out of our minds. We had always gardened and grown veggies at our home in Westchester but were excited to expand. We never intended to run a farm but the land captured our hearts and imaginations and it took on a life of its own.
MARTHA: WHAT WAS YOUR PATH TO BECOMING A FLOWER FARMER?
MICHELLE: When we first started the farm, we were experimenting with what to do with the land. First, we grew vegetables and raised laying hens. But, I had always been passionate about flowers and studied floral design at the NY Botanical Garden, so over time, we decided to make a go of that. When Covid hit and markets closed, we had no buyers for the flowers. So, I posted flowers for sale on Instagram and through word of mouth, we had customers lining up outside our barn door. People told us it was the highlight of their week to buy local fresh flowers during a period of difficult isolation. The flowers which had always been so meaningful to me were bringing joy to our community and it spurred me on.
CAMERON: I began my farming career as an organic vegetable farmer that specialized in heirloom and unusual varieties. I started with 2500 SF of growing space and worked my way up to 6 acres in production. I was hired as Head of Horticulture at Arethusa Farm where I designed and installed Arethusa Gardens and grew flowers for the Arethusa restaurants. Additionally, I’ve worked at White Flower Farm as the Assistant Store Manager and in their dahlia trial gardens. I happily joined Anderson Acres Farm as the Farm Manager last fall and I’m thrilled to expand my flower farming knowledge base.
MARTHA: WHAT ARE YOU MOST INSPIRED BY?
MICHELLE: I am inspired by the land and how much it teaches me about the cycles of life, as well as by the Anderson Acres farm team. These strong, smart and caring women impress me daily with their hard work and dedication and in doing so, produce the most beautiful flowers in an environment we can all be proud of.
CAMERON: I think Michelle’s answer says it all! I 100% agree with her. It’s an honor to spend my days working the land and with the Anderson Acres farm team. They are a special group of ladies. Michelle’s dedication to excellence and vision for the farm guides us in all that we do.
MARTHA: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER?
MICHELLE: My favorite flower changes weekly–I am fickle that way, but Spring flowers are definitely my favorites: Anemones, Ranunculus, Peonies and Sweet Peas never cease to take my breath away.
CAMERON: I haven’t met a dahlia that I didn’t love or a snapdragon, or a zinnia. Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite.
MARTHA: WHAT'S NEXT FOR ANDERSON ACRES?
MICHELLE: LOL. Cameron?
CAMERON: While we aren’t a certified organic farm, we successfully utilize and embrace organic and sustainable methods and practices. When dealing with the headaches of farming, we practice the 3 P’s: Prevention, Persistence and Patience. I want to continue to grow beautiful organic flowers, expand our offerings and our marketplace.