Why Grow Tulips?
Because Nick and Paul have loved flowers, especially tulips all their lives!
I couldn't resist answering the question that way when I found this old picture. Only wish the thrift stores were open to purchase outfits and ask them to recreate this photo, hahaha. In all honesty though, all three of us would probably name tulips as our favourite flower. Mom had a lot in our yard growing up, so when we began looking for niche market crops to grow, we knew tulips would do well on our land. Read on to find out how we started growing flowers and why.
One reason we grow flowers is that they are a niche market crop. Growing up we grew a lot of different crops on our farm, tobacco, strawberries, peppers, peas, along with corn, soybeans, and wheat. When the 3 of us took over the farming operation in 2009, we had all been away from the farm for several years and Dad had given up most of the specialty crop contracts wanting to slow down a bit in the years before retirement. Knowing our loam soil could grow a lot of things, but also knowing our land base was too small for most vegetable contracts in the current market, we began investigating niche market crops we could grow. Having also started an agronomy services business, we were looking for things that would fit around the busy seasons of that business. Winterberries were the first niche crop we started with, and we planted 2 acres of winterberries in the fall of 2008. Nick learned about winterberries while living in New Hampshire and had a good connection with a grower there who gave us many tips to help us get started.
Having found some success and grown a market for our winterberries locally, a few years ago we decided to find a similar crop that would be in-season during a different part of the year than winterberries. Tulips fit our 2 target time frames, late spring and early fall. They bloom in the spring and the bulbs are ready to plant in the fall. So, in fall 2018 we planted 4000 bulbs for a test plot that we studied and learned a lot from during the growing season of 2019. Then in fall 2019 we jumped in with both feet and planted 20000 bulbs. It is an exciting experience learning to grow a new crop, that's for sure.
Family Farm Learning Experiences
Another reason we have chosen to grow flowers on our farm is that it is something our entire family can be involved in. The 3 of us believe we learned a lot of valuable lessons growing up and spending time working alongside Mom & Dad. Tulips, winterberrries, and maple syrup offer those opportunities to the generation coming along behind us. Having one or all of them take over Hat Trick Farms one day isn't the goal, we just want to provide opportunities to learn about growing plants, working towards a goal, and teamwork, as they grow up.
We are lucky to have little helpers around here that put a whole new perspective on the jobs we are doing. Having them around and asking "Why" 100 times a day, not only makes the time pass quickly, answering those "why" questions helps us see things from a new angle, and can sometimes lead to change or innovation when we really think about and answer their questions. The kids see things from a different perspective and definitely make each day at Hat Trick Farms the best for everyone.
Why Do We Grow Tulips
Here at Hat Trick Farms we grow tulips because we wanted to find niche market crops that would allow the opportunity for us to work together growing not only crops, but memories too.
Hat Trick Farms is proud to be a family farm.
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