To be honest, I really didn't even know what a CSA was when this idea was born. But I must give credit where credit is due.
Dale and I moved to Bayfield, Wisconsin a few months before we got married. We were young, free and didn't care about things as lame as health insurance. We packed up our first house in Cross Plains and made the 6 hour trek north with two dogs and stars in our eyes.
I had the opportunity to work as a Realtor in a successful real estate office in downtown Bayfield while Dale started his own business laying tile and installing granite counter tops. It was a busy time in our lives filled with learning and lots of humbling. But it was fun. Every day is like a Saturday when you live in a tourist town (with no kids). Lots of happy hours with friends, weekday boat rides and Candy Shoppe ice cream.
I remember working in the office one day when a woman walked in the front door with an armload of fresh flowers. She walked right in to the back, grabbed a large vase we had on the shelf, filled it with those vibrant blooms and set it on the desk and swiftly walked out the door. I wasn't quite sure what just happened. But, then, one week later here she was again, another bunch of beauty. She grabbed the "old" ones and replaced them with the new. Rinse and repeat every week all summer long. Simple, yet so fricking smart.
Fast forward 11 years. That simple idea popped back in my head as we were planning to start our very own flower farm. I recalled the reaction our clients had when they walked in to the office to the smell of farm-fresh flowers. My intention was to offer the same concept to professionals in the west Madison area. But like anything, especially in my life, my yellow brick road has many forks in it.
In doing some research, and to be honest some major social media stalking, I realized a BOUQUET CSA was NOT my idea. (I know, right?) There are a ton of flower farmers all across the country offering Bouquet CSAs, subscriptions and memberships. Some with hundreds of members, some with only a few. To my delight, a local, expert flower farmer I was lucky enough to cross paths with was doing this same thing 20+ years ago. So, in 2017, we gave it a shot.
I just love the idea of giving flowers for a whole season rather than a few days. Everyone likes to say they hate "Hallmark" holidays, but in reality we are so inundated with advertising that whittles us down to the bone we are forced to participate. There's a reason a dozen roses goes for $14.99 on any given day of the year, but come February 14th some of us are willing to pay $95/dozen. Supply & demand people.
As much as I wished I lived in a climate that would support fresh flowers in December for Christmas or February for Valentine's Day, a certificate and potted bulb or plant will have to do. But, I just know come May when those first amazing, unique daffodils get bunched together and their smell practically knocks me off my feet, I'll just know it was all worth it.
Until then I want to thank Ellen from Blue Vista (she probably has no idea who I am or she had that kind of impact on me) and all the other flower farmers out there that have inspired me to do something so fulfilling. Also, a huge shout out to all our Bayfield peeps that made the Ripp newlywed years so fun, meaningful and full of wonderful memories. You know who you are, but I am going to tag you in our social posts. If you are interested in the Bouquet CSA, please let me know. xoxo.
Below are some of our favorite memories from Bayfield. It could never capture all of them and because we were still working on flip phones then...well, you get it.