Betsy Levy and her Woodbine Flower Farm offer bouquets, wedding flowers and arrangements business
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When Betsy Levy moved to Washington, she knew that her only purpose was to grow and sell flowers.
A Wisconsin-born Levy had lived in Washington in the 1980s to graduate from college and then work as an organic inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. She eventually roamed the States for a while, including 15 years in Texas while working for the USDA. After living in arid, barren Texas, she realized that she wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest.
“I’ve wanted to make a living from things that grew for decades,” said Levy.
In 2012 she was finally able to move and hold onto her money until she found the right place to start her business. That place ended up being a five-acre farm on Cooks Hill Road, west of Galvin. She bought the property in 2013, started selling cut flowers the following year, and found they were a great way to make a living.
“Local flowers have been so valued and there is a really strong interest in them,” Levy said. “Washington State has the perfect climate for lots of flowers. Here you can grow things that you can’t get with imported flowers. Most florists get their flowers there. “
Some of the species she grows that thrive in Washington’s climate and make really good cut flowers are dahlias, which bloom in midsummer through fall and come in a rainbow of colors. Sweet pea, a climbing plant that grows 1 to 2 meters high and has clusters of flowers; Ranunculus, turning from ugly onions into beautiful flowers; and the anemone, a vibrant, colorful plant popular at weddings.
Echinacea, an herbaceous flowering plant that some believe may have immune-boosting properties, and Prairie Gentian with showy, bell-shaped flowers are some of the plants native to Washington that it has.
“People know them by different names now, but some of them are from Washington,” Levy said.
She also focuses on fragrant flowers and heirlooms, old-fashioned types of flowers that are hard to find. In total, she grows and sells around 40-50 types of flowers, and that doesn’t go into the individual varieties.
Levy began selling wholesale flowers to florists in Portland, Oregon and is a member of the Portland Flower Market, where private members supply flowers and plants to florists who then retail them to the general public.
Now she is gradually building her own floral designs such as bouquets, wedding flowers and arrangements for sale to the public. It’s like being a painter, she said. If she wants all the colors she needs for her picture, she has to grow them all herself.
She recently took a number of floral design courses after taking inspiration from some of her colleagues at the Portland Flower Market and seeing their designs. One of the classes she took was on floral tattoos, which were used to attach flowers directly to a person’s skin. Levy tried all of the Fiddler’s Coffee baristas on August 1st, and they wore them to work all day.
“There are a lot of nice things people do with flowers that are more exciting than what has been done until recently,” said Levy. “It’s a new thing and it would be great for prom, weddings and all kinds of things.”
Levy currently sells flowers to Fiddler’s Coffee, she has a drop-off point at the Whitewood Cider Company in Olympia, she has a small flower stand on her farm, and people call and order flowers too.
Business was actually pretty good for Levy during the coronavirus pandemic. In some ways it was worse because of the postponement of many weddings, but overall their sales have done well this spring and summer. People buy local bouquets from her just to help, as she suspects, and because they enjoy them.
“The people were amazing,” said Levy. “People intend to support local businesses and I was really touched and amazed at how people have evolved and bought flowers. I have wonderful neighbors. “
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Woodbine Flower Farm booth is currently open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where customers can stop by and buy bouquets. It is open two days a week during a normal year and she hopes to increase this when things return to normal. There is no U-cut option and no tours. When a person visits the courtyard, he recommends being there by 9 a.m.
“Sometimes the flowers are gone within an hour, sometimes it takes most of the day depending on how much I spent there,” said Levy.
Reporter Eric Trent can be reached at [email protected] Visit chronline.com/business to learn more about local businesses.