Christina Doll // City of Prince George
Flowers that bring up memories of joy and times past are now being grown locally for people to purchase for everyday enjoyment and for special events.
Anna Gerrard started Peterson Farms North as an outlet for her artistic side and as a legacy for her family. She also views her business as an opportunity to showcase the wonderful area in and around Prince George and to bring a local and sustainable product to the community.
In starting her business, Gerrard has melded her artistic side with her gift for growing and harvesting flowers. Her husband Mike Peterson grew up on a farm and helps out where he can, as do their children. “Peterson Farms North is really an exciting venture for our family to respect our pasts and ourselves and create a future focused opportunity for our young family to take pride in the land and what it offers,” says Gerrard.
They strive to grow flowers that bring up fond memories for people as well as ones that thrive in Prince George, which has a relatively short growing season. They provide the classics, but put a modern twist on them by offering beautiful but lesser known varieties such as double tulips and Madame Butterfly snapdragons. A popular flower they trialed this year is the ranunculus, which grows in variety of colours and has a great vase life. The ranunculus were such a hit, they plan to bring them back next year. They started growing sweet peas this year due to a large number of requests and are building up their inventory of long-lived flowers such as garden roses and peonies.
Peterson Farms North offers a number of services, including garden inspired bouquets and arrangements that have modern colour palettes and designs: “Our newest service is subscription bouquets where we provide fresh cut flowers on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. We also offer single bouquets and arrangements on request,” says Gerrard. “We are excited to work with families for special events including weddings, anniversaries, and celebrations of life. We hope to build relationships with local businesses to offer arrangements for display to add some unique local flare to their venues.” They also provide fresh-cut stems for people to design their own bouquets and are thinking about offering opportunities for an evening with friends and flower arranging, gardening workshops, and cut flower starter gardens.
Starting a floral business during the COVID-19 pandemic created some challenges, such as a shortage of seeds due to people rediscovering a love of gardening, and disruptions to the supply chain for everything from seeds to seedling trays and grow lights. They ended up sourcing products from as far away as Vancouver Island. They faced other challenges such as financial uncertainty for people, which likely reduced the purchase of affordable luxuries like cut flowers, the trickle-down effect of the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry, and the postponement of celebrations. With health restrictions easing, they are looking forward to working to grow their business.
If you are interested in purchasing flower arrangements from Peterson Farms North, you can find them on Facebook or Instagram. They are in the process of developing a website and are looking to build local partnerships to explore the potential for pop-up events.
About the author: Christina worked first as a radio journalist and then a public relations specialist in her hometown of Prince George for almost a decade before transitioning into her current role of Workforce Development Officer in the Economic Development Division at the City of Prince George. She has public and private sector experience in economic development, external and internal communications, marketing, social media and website management, event planning, and research. She has a passion for storytelling and for providing support to local businesses to help them grow and thrive.