Julia Weir took a leap this year amidst a global pandemic, and this young (she’s only 22!) entrepreneur turned her passion into a business by starting Julia’s Cut Flower Farm. She uses organic and bee friendly farming practices to produce beautiful flowers and support our local ecosystem.
Julia Weir’s Journey
While this is Julia’s first year farming under her own name and company, she is not new to the flower farming world. Growing up in Warrenton, Virginia, she always planted flowers and vegetables at home, and when Julia graduated high school, it was the perfect opportunity to take an internship at a cut flower farm and learn from the experts.
She now lives in Republican Grove in Halifax County where she has room to grow on her mother’s fields. She says, “I was inspired by my tobacco farming neighbors to pursue my passion and dream of flower farming.” When asked what she is most proud of, Julia said, “Just doing this. I’ve come up with a million excuses not to put myself out there as a grower.” This year, her passion to grow became stronger than her excuses and pushed her to start her business.
Julia knows farming is not easy – during her internship she learned all the hard work that goes into operating a flower farm. Fields produce
flowers from April to October, but prep work needs to be done all year round. Access to capital is also a challenge. Julia says, “I need to develop more capital to invest into extending my grow season.” Additional capital would allow for the purchase of row covers, hoop houses, and a larger greenhouse. How is she funding her venture now? Julia is using her personal savings as well as a Pollinator Project grant through ChangeX. The ChangeX grant will help her plant more native species and make her completely bee–friendly.
Beyond supporting bees, native plants support the ecosystem and provide food and habitat for a variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, and bats. When shoppers buy flowers from Julia, they are supporting the local ecological system. “A purchase from me is a purchase for happy pollinators and beautiful birdsong,” said Julia. While Julia realizes that flowers are a luxury purchase for many people, she also strives to make her flowers affordable.
Support from the Agricultural Community
“The best thing about farming,” Julia describes, “is that I’ve learned the most from farmers themselves. The growing and gardening community has a wealth of life hacks and secrets learned from a lifetime of trial and error.” As a young entrepreneur, Julia is not afraid to ask for help from a variety of experts. She says help comes from everywhere: from Bob Wollam, Jillian McFayden, and Hillary Gottemoeller – her mentors at Wollam Gardens, from Abbott Farm Suppliers in Halifax, from every person she talks to at garden centers and nurseries, and
from books! Her favorites are Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, by Erin Benzakein as well as The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers by Lynn Byczynski. Support can be found all over, especially in such a welcoming community. Julia wanted to make sure all the members of the Downtown South Boston Farmers Market knew they have been incredibly helpful in motivating her and offering support, especially Market Manager Megan Throckmorton–Harris.
This is Julia’s first season growing in Halifax, and she is finding her footing in the community. She is determined to grow her flower farm into a professional farm and is working to achieve that goal one week at a time.
Visit Julia’s Cut Flower Farm
You can visit Julia to purchase flowers at the Downtown South Boston Farmers Market on Saturdays, from 8am to noon. Pick up a beautiful bunch of flowers and then browse what else the market has to offer! In between market days, keep in touch with Julia through her Facebook page, @juliascutflowers.