When April Kinser was three, her mom brought home a bunch of pansies to plant in the garden. Tiny tottering April grabbed a trowel and planted all of them herself. This love of gardening has persisted throughout her life, though it took time for April to reconceive of it as a potential profession.
April uses a vintage till on a new garden bed. Photo by Marie
In 2003, April and her husband Roger moved to the Hudson Valley from Brooklyn. April began working as the head of Career Development for Bard College, gardening for fun on the side. One year she had the idea to create a larger scale cutting garden, from which she planned to make floral arrangements for sale. She was building up this operation when hurricanes Irene and Sandy washed her dream and her farmstand downstream. She recalls, “I got totally flooded out. I gave it a break for a while after that. With the property so low, I just wasn’t sure if it was an aberration or there would always be flooding.”
But she couldn’t stay away for that long. A couple years later she took up floral design on the side, here and there. One day, April walked into Outdated Café in Uptown Kingston, looking for vintage blue mason jars to use as vases for an Ulster Ballet event she was working on. She asked the girl at the counter for direction. Brittinee, a recent Las Vegas transplant with a love of floral design, asked on a whim if April needed any help with the event. And so the two began working together.
Both introverts, they have a soft-spoken, compatible working relationship. It was Brittinee that encouraged April to begin growing flowers on her Hurley Flats property to use in their floral arrangements. April says with a smile, “We found that we really enjoyed digging in the dirt together.” Brittinee adds, “Being upstate we are given this opportunity to grow things in a sustainable way. If you can grow in a way that is good for the community, good for the soil, and good for you it is very rewarding.”
The pair are in their second season growing flowers together. Their shared vision is to have a local floral design operation (farm-to-vase, if you will), where they are growing a large portion of the flowers for their bouquets themselves, and the remainder they are sourcing locally. April is excited about the impact their intention can have, saying, “Some clients don’t care where the flowers come from. So we have the opportunity to encourage them to think about it and source locally whenever possible.”
The pair are very openly still finding their growing approach and market niche. They are exploring the possibility of supplying to restaurants as well as DIY wedding doers. Brittinee says, “Many local growers are small like us, with anywhere from a quarter acre to an acre. It is interesting to see all the different setups and approaches to farming. We are not necessarily trying to create a permaculture operation, but we do want to bring in elements of that and integrate different “do no harm” practices.
Currently, they sell their flowers at the Farm Hub stand in Hurley, and they also have a quaint farm cart that sits on Hurley Mountain Road at the edge of April’s property. The stand is unattended; bouquets are sold on an honor system, with a cash box on the shelf. Stop by and smell the flowers.
For more information visit facebook.com/AprilFlowersFarmStand.