Emily will be significantly expanding her dahlia crop that supplies florists in Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, as well as local markets, weddings and special events. The grant will pay for the tubers and soil amendments to support them. Over the last three years, she has researched and tested methods for dahlia production, relying on resources offered through professional growing societies and NC State. She already has a commitment for wholesale florist sales in 2019 and will be able to expand her market in Asheville and take on additional wedding clients.
“Dahlias are a great crop for Western North Carolina because they love our cool nights and afternoon showers,” said Emily Copus, owner of Carolina Flowers. “With this expansion, we’re positioning ourselves to become one of the largest dahlia growers in the region. We have the potential to really scale our production and reach florists throughout the Southeast.”
Dahlias are one of the major crops Carolina Flowers grows. The farm produces dozens of varieties of cut flowers with an emphasis on a few important seasonal crops. In addition to dahlias, Carolina Flowers grows specialty tulips, ranunculus, anemones, poppies, lisianthus, drying flowers and many others.
Carolina Flowers is part of a resurgence in the cut flower industry taking place throughout the nation. Emily Copus’ grandfather grew up on the family’s flower farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, that farm, like many others, moved away from flower production in the ‘70s and ‘80s as fuel costs rose and South American imports became more viable. Now, small flower farmers across the country are working together to regain market share. Notable examples of this movement include Floret in Washington, 3 Porch Farm in Athens, Georgia, Summer Dreams Farm in Oxford, Michigan, and many others. The rapidly growing Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is nearly 2,000 members strong.