Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Alaska’s next boom? Forget oil, it’s flowers! I don’t think Michelle and Beth were comparing the two exactly when they planted their first Peony roots a few years ago, but oil prices are low (today) and the demand for their peony flowers is steadily growing. The special sauce? Alaskan peonies bloom later than other commercially available peonies because the cooler temperatures. Thanks to Alaska’s cold dirt, brides planning weddings in August can still have their favorite flowers.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Taking orders in the field. The harvest season is busy with farm work and customer service.

Thanks to a referral from writer/friend Maria Finn I was hired for an assignment photographing two Peony farms in my Homer, Alaska hometown for the hip Modern Farmer Magazine. The article came out fall 2014.

Modern-Farmer-2014

Over the last few years my curiosity had been growing as I flew around Alaska and noticed the ever increasing number of peony beds being planted. This assignment was a great way to satisfy my curiosity. Poor Beth and Michelle had to endure a lot of questions while I photographed them working.

Aerial of peony farm in Homer, Alaska.

These peony farm beds viewed from above had been prompting my curiosity about this growing business  in Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies picking buds in her fields.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

The harvested buds hibernate in a refrigerator until they are shipped to the customer.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Peonies are carefully packed and shipped out overnight to eager brides around the world.

Peony flower farming in Homer, Alaska.

Michelle LaFriniere & Michael Poole of Chilly Root Peony Farm.

Gotta have some for yourself? You can order flowers direct from these wonderful ladies (and that really nice guy) at their websites:
Beth – Scenic Place Peonies
Michelle – Chilly Root Peony Farm