A little feel-good news to brighten your day: In neighborhoods around the city, Seattleites starved for the springtime sight of fresh cut tulips and daffodils are teaming up to order directly from family farms suffering from local market closures.
Beacon Hill resident Callista Chen says she’s been following a Facebook group called Support the ID – Community United for ideas on how to support small businesses in the International District since the beginning of the Seattle-area coronavirus outbreak. Mainly, she’s appreciated the recommendations on where to get takeout meals, something she says she’s been ordering twice a week to do her part in keeping family-run restaurants afloat.
But last week she saw a post from Nikki Cha, whose family runs Fall City farm Blong’s Garden. With Pike Place Market and the area’s farmers markets no longer an option to sell the farm’s abundant blooms, Cha was offering to connect with individuals interested in buying bouquets and meet them at select spots for safe, social-distancing-approved hand-offs. Chen reached out about coordinating a Beacon Hill drop-off; she got 28 neighbors together to purchase more than $1000 worth of flowers.
Image Credit: Alex Crook
Nikki Cha delivers flowers from her family's Fall City farm.
Across town, in Phinney Ridge, her friend Dana Bettinger was inspired after seeing Chen’s project come together on social media. She figured she, too, could rally the neighborhood to support Blong’s Garden. “I think I underestimated just how much folks were looking for a fun, quick, easy opportunity like this one, because it took off like wildfire,” Bettinger says. Cha had given her a $150 minimum order for a dedicated drop-off—Bettinger coordinated 90 orders totaling about $2300.
“It's not a vaccine for coronavirus, but buying these flowers will have a real impact on this one POC-owned business,” Bettinger says. “That matters, and my bigger hope is that folks will hear about it and contact other farmers or small businesses to see whether they can do something similar in their neighborhoods.”
The idea is definitely spreading like wildfire—wildflowers?—thanks to social media. Cha says business has doubled in a week, depleting her stock of tulips: “I have the community to thank for all the love and support they have given us local farmers.”
A list of Blong’s Garden’s regular drop-off points is posted to their Facebook page; Cha says to send them a message there if you’d like to coordinate another neighborhood meeting point (again, there’s understandably a $150 order minimum).
Of course, Blong’s Garden isn’t the only amazing flower producer; after all, Seattle’s inexpensive farmers markets bouquets are a hallmark of what makes the city such a delight this time of year. Support your favorite by reaching out to them.