A blooming good idea
Melissa Masters has begun Tanglebloom Flower Farm in Brookline, which applies the community supported agriculture model to flowers.

A blooming good idea

Brookline woman launches a floral CSA

BROOKLINE — There are more than 50 flats of flower seeds in Melissa Masters' basement.

They are waiting for the ground to thaw beneath specialized heating pads, so their tender roots can crawl through the soil and shoot upwards into “snap dragons, columbine, blue bonnets...old fashioned flowers.”

Masters remembers her backyard as a child and her mother's garden. Flowers you don't find in the supermarket these days.

She believes there's a market for these flowers today. Imperfect, of varying sizes and colors, organically grown flowers.

“Localflora” alongside localvore.

Masters is the owner of Brookline-based Tanglebloom Flower Farm.

A “pocket flower farm,” is how Masters describes the acre of land she is cultivating.

Tanglebloom is located just outside Newfane and run by Masters, her husband, and their dog Arya.

Their website states: “Let's glorify the everyday with flowers.”

Masters, who studied at the University of Humboldt in California and apprenticed on farms in Hawaii and New York, believes your mood lifts just by walking into a room with a piece of the natural world on the table.

In this spirit, Tanglebloom will offer a flower CSA in southern Vermont for this coming summer.

Why buy local flowers?

Masters says that up to 90 percent of cut flowers sold in the United States are imports, traveling from countries as far as Colombia, Ecuador, and Thailand, and laden with preservatives.

Domestic floriculture has a hard time meeting the demand for popular flowers - such as roses - off season.

CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), says Masters, are a fantastic way for farmers to meet their community and determine what their customers want.

Vermont is used to this model, as the highest number of CSA subscribers per capita in the nation. It's financially advantageous for farmers as well, with payments arriving in the months where costs such as buying seed and compost, peak.

The CSA offers two options, either bouquet or bucket. The second is slightly more economical and allows subscribers to make their own floral combinations. Masters wants her flowers to be affordable, and offers a payment plan for those who can't pay upfront.

Pickups will be arranged at the farm in Brookline or at Hermit Thrush Brewery on High Street in Brattleboro, where subscribers can add a growler to their pick up if they choose.

Masters hopes to have local flowers available to CSA members by Mother's Day in May, and to offer weekly deliveries through mid-September.

She recognizes the temporal nature of growing in Vermont and hopes to expand her growing season with a hoop house (an unheated greenhouse) by next season.

In the meantime, she'll start with the basement.

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