LYNCHBURG, Va. – Irvington Spring Farm in Lynchburg is one of the most vibrant places around, but the chilly weather is posing a challenge.
“We’ve been growing flowers here for 25 years. My folks started the business, and I’ve been managing the business for the past three years,” Manager Maggie Moomaw said.
Moomaw is in charge of running the flower business, which includes the farm, as well as wedding and event flowers. During their growing season, you can come and make your own bouquet.
“We have a self-service system here. Everything is by the honor system,” Moomaw said. “You can just come pick out flowers from the cooler and then pay us and be on your way.”
But Moomaw said the farm looks different than it usually does at this point in the season – the first frost of the season wiped out nearly 75% of their crops Monday night.
“Up in the upper field area was fine,” Moomaw said. “It was kind of weird, the frost kind of settles down in here.”
The farm typically can extend its season til the end of October, or even early November, but this frost cut the regular season short.
“We usually have a little bit of time. Especially with the dahlias, they usually get prettier and prettier throughout the fall,” she said. “So, it’s a real bummer for those that they didn’t get to live out their full life.”
Moomaw thinks this early frost is the future of farmers everywhere.
“This is the future, that we’re never going to know what’s going to happen,” she said. “And it’s probably going to be bigger shifts like that where frost may come earlier but then it’ll be 80 degrees.”
One way to keep plants alive in colder conditions is to cover them. Irvington Spring has several high tunnels to protect its remaining crops.
“It blocks out all the frost, it blocks out all rain, so growing under any kind of protection you get to decide how much water the plants are getting, how warm and cold they’re getting, kind of,” Moomaw said.
There isn’t always access to protection like this, and grants are often required to obtain them.
“If you don’t have any protection for growing, you’re pretty much at the whims of nature whenever frost comes,” Moomaw said. “Farmers need more access to grow things under protection so that you have a little more control and you’re not just at the whims of what’s going on in the environment.”
Irvington Spring Farm is shifting its focus to finishing out the season the best it can.
“One thing that we’re focusing on is how can we be versatile,” Moomaw said. “Having dried flowers is a great way to extend our season and have another option for people once the frost comes.”
You can learn more about Irvington Spring Farm here, and see their location below.
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