Your Beauty Revival with Echo Hill Farms
One of our goals with the Beauty Revival was to be able to share your stories, what you have accomplished or are working towards by creating and making things beautiful. This summer my sister came across Echo Hill Farms at the Grande Prairie farmers market. Sarah’s bouquets were so beautiful and this was a unique business to our home town so when Krista and I were wondering who we would reach out to first to feature here on the blog she suggested Echo Hill Farms, and I am so glad she did.
Sarah graciously let us come out and visit her at her farm and take some photos, and let me just say if I could take photos of a beautiful cut flower garden all day everyday, I would! We had so much fun and loved hearing about Sarah’s journey with her floral business. So without further ado here is Sarah’s story!
Sarah could you share with us a little background on what you did prior to starting up your business.
That's a long list! I have done everything from building roof trusses and treeplanting to daycare operator and high school librarian. Until recently, I was working as an EA at our local elementary school. I absolutely loved the time I spent with the students (and my own children), especially coaching, but needed a change of pace and so I left my job one year ago with no real action plan in mind!
How did you end up getting started with Echo Hill Farms?
Gardening has always been a passion of mine and my husband. I grew up in gardens...planting, weeding, and of course eating! No matter where we have lived over the last 20 years, we have always established a garden to nurture. In the last couple of years I noticed a rise in small scale flower farms and decided that it was not only a great fit for me, but also a great way to diversify our existing pastured pork operation.
What has been your biggest hurdle you have faced in starting your business?
Lack of control. Hands down. When a large percentage of your success depends on Mother Nature, it is a very harsh reality coming to terms with the fact that there is nothing you can do but go with the flow. Flower farming is just like any other agricultural crop (succession planning, pest mitigation, harvest times, finding markets) and all the planning and timelines mean nothing if the weather is doing strange things! This is my first year growing flowers for market and, while it could have been worse, our growing season has provided less than stellar conditions. Oh well...make notes, adapt, and keep on moving forward.
What do you love the most about having your own cut flower business?
So, so many things.
Our children are watching their mama put passion, hard work and dedication into a dream that is becoming a reality. Their responsibilities and independence have increased and they are blossoming right alongside the flowers...it makes my heart swell.
Farmers Markets are a blast. The abundance and variety that is grown up here regularly blows my mind and the people behind the product blow my mind double! I have met and had great conversations with loads of visitors and have learned all kinds of tips and tricks just by taking moments to have a conversation and a laugh.
And of course, taking my morning coffee out to the gardens and just breathing in all that beauty.
Sarah how do you balance it all?
My balance comes from perspective, a wonderful husband, and great kids. I try never to forget how fortunate I am...I am not foolish enough to pretend that I don't WANT a lot of things, but the reality is that I don't NEED them. I have what I need and am willing to work and wait for what I want. I have always avoided the term "busy"...to many my life may seem that way, but I consider it full instead. My life stopped being about me the moment my first child was born...societal expectations went out the door and being the most authentic me came in. When my plate is feeling too full then something is removed, whether that means moving an appointment, not getting to that party, keeping fewer pigs etc. My grandmother and mother have been wonderful examples of hardworking and independent women who were true to themselves, but never put others on the back burner. Karma is real!!
Thank you Sarah, we love your perspective and can’t wait to see all that is to come with Echo Hill Farms!