Leelanau News and Events

Farm Stand Report: Micro-Climate Keeps Omena U-Pick’s Dreamy Dahlias and Sky-High Sunflowers Blooming Well Into Fall

By Emily Tyra | Sept. 13, 2021

Carolyn Faught, owner/grower at Omena Cut Flowers, a U-pick flower farm at Freeland Road and M-22 between Suttons Bay and Omena, says what started with six beds over two decades ago has blossomed into 26 beds to pick from — literally — with some of the most spectacular blooms just coming into their own now.

“Dahlias are just starting to crank it up and September/October is their peak time,” says Faught. “There are lots of other flowers that will continue to bloom into fall such as zinnias, cosmos, celosia, lisianthus, statice, ageratum and more — plus many perennials get a second flush with new growth. I also have some gorgeous magenta asters that begin blooming in another week.”

She has been growing dahlias — which are prized for their natural symmetry and subtle blush and rust hues like Café au Lait, Appleblossom, Terracotta — in earnest for about five years. “I learn more each year. Netted bags are in place to keep bugs from chewing on the petals.” Dahlias are a fall darling for her late September and October weddings, but Faught says she always keeps some reserved for U-pick. She is also offering limited quantities of dahlia tubers packed in peat moss for those who’d like to try to grow their own. (Tubers can be reserved by emailing her.)

Sunflowers are Omena Cut Flowers’ other fall showstoppers, she notes. “I have hundreds still coming on as I planted 300 to 500 each week so I will have them through frost — for me usually not until late October.”

Frost holds off because of the micro-climate at Faught’s farm, which is directly adjacent to tempering Grand Traverse Bay. “Often others inland will get zapped, but I don’t because of the bay. I have picked flowers in early November in some years!”

New this season (her 24th at it): Farm mascot Marigold, a Golden Retriever puppy, who stays behind an invisible fence but welcomes pets from U-pickers at the bottom of the hill by the steps. The farm will stay open daily through October. In addition to the self-serve U-pick from dawn to dusk, there are jars of bouquets-to-go in the cooler behind the garden shed; Faught frequently posts what is in bloom each day on the farm’s social media.

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