Certified Organic Flowers Feed Friendship

By: Jessie Kuhn | Staff Writer
On: June 01, 2016

Down a winding road in Spring Valley is where you’ll find a place called Peach Mountain Organics, where Leslie Garcia and Doug Seibert grow certified organic flowers and produce that we carry at Dorothy Lane Market. On a sunny morning, a car bumps along the driveway and comes to a stop. It’s Nellie Ashmore of That Girl’s Flowers in Clarksville, Ohio, who also sells local certified organic flowers to DLM.

One could presume that Nellie and Leslie are technically competitors in a narrow field of flower growers who have taken the necessary steps to be distinguished as certified organic. Watching the two interact, it’s clear that they’re in fact friends with a shared passion. “She kind of got my mom into flowers and it just grew from there,” Nellie says, who now oversees the flower operation alongside her parent’s produce business.

“The organic community is pretty tight,” says Leslie, who will often sell Nellie starter plugs for flowers from her greenhouse. A few years back, Leslie cut her finger limiting her for a period of time. During that time, Nellie gave Leslie a hand in the field while also gaining valuable experience.

Leslie first met Nellie’s parents through the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, an organization that she has passionately supported for nearly 40 years. “I wouldn’t farm any other way,” she says, without a shadow of doubt. Both growers are used to people inquiring about why certified organic matters when it comes to ornamentals. “For the same reason you’d choose organic for anything else. It’s better for the growers, for the environment,” Leslie says. “And if you’re [organic, but] not certified, there’s no record. ... We believe in being counted.”

As we walk through the greenhouse, the vibrant pinks and purples of stock stems are starting to burst open with their intoxicating fragrance. The local floral bouquet season at DLM starts to ramp up in May and will continue all summer long. As you stop to admire many of the beautifully arranged bouquets you’ll find wrapped in brown kraft paper at our stores, it’s often the work of Leslie or Nellie. They explain how part of the beauty of the bouquets they bring to DLM is that they are working with what’s ready. “It changes every week ... it’s always something very unique,” Nellie says. “It’s definitely rewarding.”

Looking at the lush green leaves showing themselves in the greenhouse at Peach Mountain Organics, it’s clear that the possibilities are endless of what Leslie has in store for us at DLM, as well as her friend, Nellie, at That Girl’s Flowers.