Diversifying farmers in Western North Carolina are receiving support to offset the risk of expanding and trying new ventures. WNC Agricultural Options awarded 40 farm businesses a total of $216,000 in $3,000 and $6,000 grants. Macon County farm business The Flower Company recently received a grant to increase production of specialty cut flowers.
“The WNC AgOptions program has proven success stories,” said Bill Teague, Chairman of the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. “We continue to be amazed at how these producers utilize these funds to ensure their family farms grow and remain profitable.”
Located in Otto just one mile north of the state line, Daniel and Lori Cabe have operated The Flower Company Farmer and Florist for more than 20 years, after opening their doors for business in 1997.
As a full-service florist, the Cabes specialize in locally grown, specialty cut flowers including dahlias and uncommonly found cut flower varieties such as zinnia, cosmos, larkspur, lily, yarrow, sedum, hydrangea and others.
The Flower Company services weddings, events, restaurants, country clubs and churches, while taking daily orders online from their website, and offering delivery services. Recently, the Cabes business has expanded to Highlands.
“We’ve been making daily trips to Highlands to deliver flowers to churches and other businesses,” Lori Cabe said by phone on Monday. “We want the Highlands Community to know we’re available to serve their specialty-cut flower needs.”
To meet the extremely high demand of dahlias and specialty cut flowers in all their markets, The Flower Company will be expanding its crops to triple dahlia production and double other specialty cut flower varieties. They will purchase seeds, plugs, dahlia bulbs and soil amendments. Not only will production increase, they anticipate becoming the largest and most successful flower farm and florist in western North Carolina.
“N.C. Cooperative Extension is excited to be a part of a program that is making such impressive impacts in the agricultural community,” said Ross Young, WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. “Agriculture is a thriving and ever-changing economic engine in western North Carolina with new enterprises and creative ideas emerging daily. WNC AgOptions plays a crucial role in helping many of these farmers fulfill a dream that may not be attainable otherwise.”
The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been supporting agriculture in the region since 1947. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities, as well as managing programs to enhance the agriculture and forestry sectors.
Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include representatives from the NC Cooperative Extension Service, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services –Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusiness. For more information about WNC AgOptions grants, visit www.wncagoptions.org or the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service at www.ces.ncsu.edu.
For more information about The Flower Company, call 828-524-2829, follow their social media pages online, or visit the company’s website at www.theflowercompanync.com.