Meridian Industrial

ROOTED FLOWERS

6/1/2024 | HOPE E. TREMBLAY

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Rebecca Sadlowski has always had at least one hand in the dirt.

Sadlowski, the owner of Rooted Flowers farm in Agawam, said growing up in Hatfield she was working on local farms at age 10.

“I was always told not to grow up to be a farmer because all you do is work and make no money,” she said.

Luckily, Sadlowski didn’t listen.

“I went to college and was a dental hygienist, but I always had my fingers in agriculture,” Sadlowski said. “I worked on dairy farms and tobacco farms and had my own little vegetable farm that I rented and opened a farm stand while I was still in dentistry.”

Sadlowski said in Hatfield there’s a farm stand on practically every corner, so she wanted hers to stand out. “I decided to have veggies and flowers,” she said. “I wanted people to come see a rainbow of vegetables and flowers.”

Sadlowski began creating flower arrangements and décor for small events for family and friends. This led to researching more about growing flowers and where they come from. She was surprised to learn that most flowers sold in New England were grown in South America and California.

“I was engaged in the farm to table concept and I wantedbto bring locally grown flowers to florists,” she said. Because of the New England weather and short growing season for native flowers, Sadlowski found it was impossible to supply florists because she could not guarantee the blooms they needed.

“I could guarantee a palette, but not the actual flower,” she said.

This prompted her to sell local flowers online and her event business grew. She captured a younger clientele who loved the idea of locally grown, seasonal flowers in their chosen color palette. She and her husband Albert began looking for their own land to farm and to grow the business. Albert visited land for sale in Agawam and called Sadlowski to say it was perfect. Without seeing it for herself, she told him to make an offer.

“He has more confidence in me than anyone,” Sadlowski said of her husband.

The couple bought what became Rooted Flowers farm at 501 Shoemaker Ln. when Sadlowski was nine months pregnant with their daughter Mary.

Sadlowski and Albert, along with daughters Mary and Julia — and faithful canine farmhand/protector Lyle — worked the dirt for nearly a year and opened at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan, said Sadlowski, took a turn and she found herself once again with a farm stand.

“When the pandemic hit, we started a self-serve farm stand,” she said. “It wasn’t what we planned, but it was survival. We had a mortgage payment and flowers, but all the weddings were cancelled so we started with online sales and deliveries and after Mother’s Day opened the self-serve farm stand.”

The farm stand took off by word of mouth and remains popular with customers today. Sadlowski always has bouquets and people can place orders online and they will be at the stand to pick up.

“You can even go online and order a corsage or boutonniere for prom and pick it up,” Sadlowski said. Sadlowski posts sample arrangements on rootedflowers.com that can be ordered and picked up at the farm stand. She said she changes the options frequently based on what flowers she has available.

“People can order corsages and boutonnieres 10 days in advance because I feel confident they’re going to get what I’m showing for 10 days,” said Sadlowski. “The flower harvest changes at around two weeks.”

Rooted Flowers is set apart from other floral businesses not only because they grow all their own flowers, but also because of the workshops Sadlowski offers, including ones on seed starting, building  raised gardens, creating hand-tied bouquets and a centerpiece workshop.

“This year I will open up more fall workshops,” Sadlowski said.

Sadlowski is happy to share her knowledge with others and although the farm is not open to the general public, she offers a shadowing session of “behind-the-scenes flower farming.” Participants will spend an entire day working on the farm with her and can ask questions. She said she designed this for people interested in farming to see what it’s really like.

Sadlowski said while the advice she was given early in life about farming didn’t deter her from making her dream come true, there was some truth to it, especially the work part. Her family spent the better part of a year just getting the land cleared and ready, growing the flowers, planning and working the farm every day. Her daughter Mary, now 5, and her 2-year-old Julia are growing up on the farm and already working hard, but to them, it’s all fun.

“Mary can make corsages and has a good eye,” Sadlowski said with pride. “She can go out and harvest tulips for hours.”

It was Mary’s love of working in her own little cut garden that inspired Sadlowski to encourage other parents to create their own gardens for their children and she sells a ready-to-plant cut garden package to get them started.

Although Sadlowski never thought she would make her living farming flowers, she loves the life she has built with her family and wouldn’t change it.

“I’m proud of the younger version of myself,” she said.

“It was life-changing to take this all on. There were sacrifices and hardships, but I feel like we just got started and there’s much more to be done.”

ROOTED FLOWERS FARM IS LOCATED ON 501 SHOEMAKER LANE IN
FEEDING HILLS, MA.

FOR FRESH FLOWER LOCAL DELIVERY, SYMPATHY, PRIVATE EVENTS,
VISIT ROOTEDFLOWERS.COM OR EMAIL INFO@ROOTEDFLOWERS.COM.

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