Identifing a Market for Woody Florals, and Other Specialty Cut Flowers in Michigan
I first consulted with Dr. Muarai Suvedi (evaluation specialist, MSU) about the survey and the best method to get the best results. After discussion I decided to do a phone survey instead of a written one.
I have phoned 125 florists, with a random sample from Michigan. I was able to talk to 52 owners, managers, or buyers. This gave me a much higher number of responses than anticipated with a mailed survey.
I also attended the Specialty Cut Flower Growers Conference in Lexington Kentucky in July. This was not part of my original grant proposal, but while researching the topic, found the conference and decided it would be an opportunity to learn more about the University trails at The University of Kentucky.
I am in the process of writing articles for MFA and others.
The results are promising for interested growers.
77% of florists are interested in purchasing locally grown woody florals.
19% already purchase woody florals locally.
2% grow their own.
28% would like to purchase from a local grower, the rest from wholesalers.
90% of florists would like to purchase locally grown specially cut flowers.
2% already purchase locally grown cut flowers.
There was a variety of responses how they would like the products shipped and packaged.
I gave a presentation at the 4-H Plant Science workshop and talked about the feasibility of growing specialty crops, marketing them, etc. Eight attended this session.
I have also shared the information with Tony from Bukiety Floral in Chicago, as he found me looking for information on my project, after seeing it on the SARE web site. We talked in great detail about the trials I am aware of and where to get plant material and the need for local products in his and other floral shops in the greater Chicago area. I plan to visit his shop this spring (date to be determined) to learn more about his business and also talk about the market for these products.
I have also been approached by 2 separate businesses in my local community to supply them with locally grown specialty flowers. I feel this is indirect education, especially if we can let the people in our communities know there are options to purchasing floral products from local growers.
I will have a booth at the local farmer’s market and plan to expand to one near our capital in Lansing. Shoeing the product to the public will give me an avenue to talk to vendors about growing woody florals to supply the local market.
I will also be presenting the information to the Ornamental Area of Expertise team at Michigan State University.
I plan to present a poster at the Small Farmers Conference in January 2009. I was unable to attend this year due to surgery.