Stems Flower Farm is an eight-acre flower farm just outside Cookstown, Ontario.
Established in 2016, this small family-owned business has been providing premium stems to florists and event designers for several years.
This year (2021), they opened a one-acre cutting garden on their property, where customers can stroll through rows of blooms and create their own personalized bouquets.
I visited the cutting garden earlier this year and thought I'd share my experience. Hopefully, my review of the cutting garden at Stems Flower Farm will be helpful to anyone who might be trying to decide if they should visit.
I discovered Stems Flower Farm last Christmas when I heard that they were doing a series of giveaways for the holidays. When I went to their website I was immediately drawn in by their aesthetic.
Their logo is pretty, their website is professional, and I discovered that not only do they sell seeds, but they're in my province too!
Stems Flower Farm sells seeds under the original name of the farm they purchased, Edgebrook, which is why you'll notice that the website for Stems is actually edgebrookfarm.ca.
I signed up for their emails and sent the link along to my mom in case she wanted to order seeds online from their Edgebrook Farm curated seed collection for the upcoming season.
We didn't end up ordering seeds for the 2021 spring/summer growing season from Stems after all though, and I eventually forgot about Stems Flower Farm as the months went by.
Sometime around March this year I asked my mom what she wanted for her birthday, and she sent me the link to the Cut Your Own Flowers VIP Package from Stems Flower Farm.
For $75 you get two passes to the cutting garden, and a $10 voucher to redeem at their on-site farm stand. The package promised an hour of leisurely time spent strolling through the garden while you pick flowers to create a bouquet to take home.
It sounded fun to me, so I booked the tickets early, knowing that we wouldn't actually be going until mid-summer when the flowers would be in bloom.
When the time to book our time slot finally came around, I received an email from the Stems Flower Farm team. Booking was an easy, stress-free process and my mom and I were excited to finally check out the cutting garden.
We checked the weather on the morning of our visit and, of course as my luck would have it, the forecast said to expect rain.
The Stems website had said that the garden smells nice in a light rainfall though, and an overcast day generally makes for nice photos, so I wasn't too upset about it.
When we arrived at where Google Maps said the farm should be, we couldn't figure out where the entrance was. In our defence, Google seems to think that the farm is right in the middle of the road so that wasn't terribly helpful.
We drove up and down a couple of times until we finally noticed the small sign on the side of the road, and turned into the entrance. By this point, we were a few minutes late for our appointment.
There was plenty of parking, and not another single car there, so finding a spot wasn't an issue at all.
The Stems Flower Farm owners, Heidi and Kevin, were standing at the entrance waiting for us with one of their kids (who was totally adorable).
We all donned our masks as we approached each other and did our best to maintain a safe distance.
After welcoming us to the farm, introducing her family, and explaining the process to us, Heidi began to walk us around the cutting garden.
She explained how to tell when each flower was ready to be cut (some need to have sturdy stems, while others need to already have open blooms or they won't open at all).
She also explained that while obviously, we'd want to cut some flowers for colour we should also consider other plants for texture and scent to create an interesting arrangement.
As we walked through the rows I brushed my hand against an aromatic basil plant with beautiful green and purple foliage. The warm sweet smells wafted through the air and I knew I'd have to come back to clip a sprig or two for my vase.
Just as we were about to start collecting our blooms, the rain began to pour down.
Armed with snips and a white enamel jug, we pulled our rainjacket hoods over our heads and carefully walked through each row snipping a long stem flower here, and a handful of herbs there.
It felt a bit daunting to decide which flowers and plants would complement each other in the bouquet. I wished I had done a bit of research ahead of time, so I'd have a better idea of what to do.
Heidi was extremely helpful though, making suggestions of what might look nice while still letting me pick what felt right to me.
One thing that was a bit stressful, however, was that shortly after we had started picking out our flowers, another car pulled up to the parking lot.
The appointments were scheduled an hour apart when I had booked my timeslot, and I wasn't sure if they had arrived early, or if we were really that behind.
I admit that I wasn't doing a great job of keeping track of time, as I was trying to balance taking photos, cutting my stems, and dealing with my jacket that kept flying open in the rain because the zipper had broken.
Even though I was worrying that we were holding up the group behind us (only one group can use the polytunnel at a time right now due to pandemic restrictions), Heidi and Kevin didn't rush us at all.
The process would probably have gone a bit quicker if the weather had been better, to be honest. It wasn't easy to move quickly between the rows as the ground was slick with wet mud from the rain.
Luckily, we did wear proper rain boots so neither of us actually wiped out in the muck (I'm clumsy enough that it would likely happen!). Also, Heidi and Kevin were very mindful of this and kept reminding us to watch our steps and avoid the very slippery patches.
(I'm sure most people would have rebooked when they checked the weather the day before and saw rain showers on the forecast. My mom and I didn't have many free days on our schedule though, hence our choice to go when the weather was poor.)
We eventually (finally!) moved into the polytunnel to put our arrangements together. Heidi and Kevin had little stations set up for us with mason jars, and a bucket to put our flower trimming into.
There was also a selection of drinks and snacks to choose from (and hand sanitizer), which I thought was a really nice touch.
Heidi came in, with her mask on, and demonstrated how to strip the leaves from the stems and arrange them in the jars. Then she left us to quietly create our bouquets.
Again, I struggled with trying to figure out how to put my arrangements together. I think I knocked over my mason jar twice in the process.
Meanwhile, my mother was happily arranging her stems and created a well-designed piece.
She has always been the artist in our family.
Again, not wanting to hold up the group behind us, I told myself I could finish up my arrangement at home. I was planning on moving it into a larger vessel anyway, as I kept tipping over my mason jar.
After placing all of our stems into the jars and then giving the table a quick tidy up, we put our arrangements away in the car, and then pulled our masks on again to go check out the farm stand.
Heidi and Kevin have partnered with other local growers to be able to provide a selection of high-quality fruits and vegetables at their farm stand. They also carry a few different maple syrups and some ready-to-enjoy flower arrangements.
We selected two pints of plump blueberries, said our goodbyes and headed on home with all of our goodies.
Overall, I was really surprised and pleased with our experience at Stems Flower Farm. Heidi and Kevin are friendly and easy to talk to, and their kids popped over from time to time too.
While the cutting garden may look small when you pull up to it, there isn't a lack of flowers to choose from. In fact, if the space was any bigger it would be impossible to get through it in under an hour!
Also, it's important to note that the flowers that are available will change throughout the year. I visited at the end of July, so the spring blooms were mostly gone, the summer blooms were in full swing and a few of the fall blooms were just coming up.
All of this to say that if you go to the farm after reading my blog post, it's entirely possible that some (or even all) of what I took home won't be available.
I was grateful to see that they had a portable bathroom on site, which is important for people like me who need frequent bathroom breaks due to health issues.
Heidi and Kevin have created a full bathroom experience in the outdoors, complete with a mirror, running water (from a drink dispenser) and soap. I'm pretty sure I saw hand sanitizer there, too.
My mom and I had a great time at Stems Flower Farm, and we both learned a lot from Heidi about how to cut flowers.
We've even started making little arrangements at home from our own garden, and I have ideas on what I'd like to plant in the flower beds next year.
(I'm pretty sure I have room in my garden for that aromatic basil...)
Just please keep in mind that this is a small family-owned business, so they may be slow to respond to your emails (as they're usually busy running the farm). They will appreciate your patience!
If you have any questions about my experience at the farm, let me know in the comments or reach out to me by email. I'd be happy to help you out.
This is not a sponsored post. I paid for our tickets myself.