Diana Mae Grows a Good Idea

By Meredith Heuer / Photography By Meredith Heuer | September 07, 2017
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Diana Mae Flowers.

You don’t have to look far to find connections between Diana Mae Cowdery’s liberal arts education and her work as a farmer/florist. After earning a degree in sociology and photography, Cowdery followed her love of cooking and interest in food until she fell very naturally into vegetable farming. Her interest in photography pushed her into the realm of flowers.

“Flowers fed my creativity,” she said. “I felt like I was using what I had learned while studying photography.”  

Without question, her work with flowers goes far beyond just raising them from seed. Cowdery has a unique ability to take a wild, unruly bunch of blossoms and tame them into a delightful display. She uses this talent to create arrangements for weddings and events, and it’s also the bedrock for her innovative idea of distributing them through a 14-week community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, where subscribers receive a gorgeous, just-picked bouquet every week (or every other week, if they choose the seven-delivery option) from late June until late October.

Sociology is embedded in the CSA concept. A CSA asks subscribers to commit (and pay up) while the ground is still frozen and flowers of last summer are a distant memory. That financial vote of confidence gives the farmer capital to get growing, and subscribers reap their rewards week after week whenever the harvest comes in. They also agree to share the farmer’s risk if weather or other factors diminish the expected bounty.

Membership shows a willingness to extend our support for sustainability beyond vegetables and into flowers, which are often produced under extremely toxic circumstances, halfway around the world. All of the flowers Cowdery offers in her CSA are grown by her own hand on land a few miles outside of Beacon without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. (She does outsource from other local farms when a large wedding or other event comes along.)

A Diana Mae Flowers CSA subscription not only brings you regular deliveries of locally and sustainably grown blooms, they arrive as an artfully composed bouquet that saves you the trouble of arranging them or running the risk of sunburn or bee stings.

One might say that a bouquet of flowers is not unlike a liberal arts education: While it’s not a necessity, it just might be something that could change your life.

Diana Mae Flowers | @dianamaeflowers

Article from Edible Hudson Valley at http://ediblehudsonvalley.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/diana-mae-grows-good-idea
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