Lincoln Academy graduates Sarah and Mark Lutte are growing flowers at their farm in Farmingdale, and the colorful, aromatic blooms are making their way to the coast by way of florists and wedding planners.
The Luttes, who have two children, Polly, 6, and Henry, 4, bought Lazy Acres Farm 10 years ago and started growing flowers, mostly just for fun, in 2016. Soon they started thinking of ways to generate income from the flowers.
Sarah studied everything she could find about growing flowers, and that fall the couple rototilled a few rows in their fields. They started planting seeds and seedlings in the spring.
Sarah’s love of flower gardening actually began in 2010, when her mother, Sally Bullard, gave her some brilliant orange dahlia tubers from her grandmother’s gardens in Massachusetts. Bullard had grown some for Sarah and Mark’s wedding in 2005. “My grandmother died a month before our wedding, so she wasn’t there, but her dahlias were,” Sarah said.
They planted the tubers that year and have grown them every year since. They call the big, brilliant flowers Katherine dahlias, named for Sarah’s grandmother.
A few years ago a friend gave the couple an 8-by-10-foot glass greenhouse. It worked well for a couple years, but Sarah said it quickly became apparent that the space wasn’t sufficient for their growing business. This winter, Mark built an 18-by-32 propagation greenhouse from a kit. Newly completed, the greenhouse already holds several containers of green seedlings sprouting that will be transplanted outside when it warms up.
The greenhouse has two layers of plastic with around a foot of air between them for insulation. It is fitted out with a heater, a backup propane heater, and fans to keep the air at the desired temperature.
“Having this greenhouse will allow us to get more flowers started inside, and then we’ll expand the field, now around 1/2-acre, for growing them,” Mark said.
Sarah said the greenhouse will add a month to the growing season in the spring, and two or three more weeks in the fall. “A three-month season turns into almost five, which can be huge,” she said.
Flowers from the farm are sold wholesale to florists, including Louis Doe in Newcastle and Water Lily Flowers and Gifts in Wiscasset, and to wedding planners. Flowers, fresh eggs from the farm’s 20 chickens, and maple syrup from its trees are sold from a cart in front of the farmhouse during the summer.
Then there are the pigs. “The pigs are an important part of our farm, too,” Mark said. “They’re happy pigs, living in a pasture half in the woods, and they have a lot of space. But they are, ultimately, food.”
In the fall, Sarah makes dried-flower wreaths. She makes evergreen wreaths for Christmas, and she’ll offer wreath workshops in November and early December.
Last year Rhea Butler, manager of Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills, hosted a flower bouquet community-supported agriculture drop-off for Lazy Acres Farm, and the Luttes will offer the program again this year.
Customers can pick up the bouquets at the farm; at Alewives Fabrics; or at The Nature Conservancy, at Fort Andross in Brunswick; on Wednesday afternoons. Bullard, who is a wedding planner and owner of A Maine Wedding, will deliver bouquets to members in the Boothbay area.
This summer the Luttes will offer two evening farm tours and flower-arranging workshops taught by their friend, flower arrangement designer Andrea Ault, on July 23 and Aug. 13. On Aug. 10, Sarah will offer a flower-arranging workshop at Alewives Fabrics.
According to the Luttes, 85 percent of the flowers in U.S. markets come from abroad. “Because they have to travel so far, they’re bred for longevity and travel, and traits like scent are bred out of them,” Sarah said.
“One of the important things about our flowers is that our customers will be receiving them very close to when they’ve been cut,” Mark said. “So they’re going to last so much longer than flowers that have been flown in from another country.”
And the approximately 50 varieties of flowers available from Lazy Acres are grown using organic methods. “So you can put your face in a bunch of our flowers without worrying about it,” Sarah said. “A lot of the imported flowers have been treated with pesticides.”
Lazy Acres Farm is at 4 Ryder Road. For more information, call 512-6135 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.