January 26, 2023
An Official Introduction
Well, it only took us a little over four years of growing flowers to finally introduce ourselves. We’re Sam and Dan (Samantha Eberhardt and Daniel Poole) and we’re the folks that grow your flowers right here in Austin, TX. Much like our path with farming, I’m not really sure the direction that this journal/blog will take, but I’m glad that you’re here and that we can find out together.
After the winter storm in February 2021
Year one: babies!
An intro, in Sam’s words:
The flower farm is my love letter to the land, to Texas and to Dan. I had no intentions of being a farmer, but I’m one of those people that can find joy in most any profession that involves being outside and working with my hands. I grew up in Central Texas (Florence) and spent a lot of my youth outside by myself. The cedars and rocky soils of the Edwards Plateau will always feel like home. I still have the wildflower ID book that my mom bought that I’d flip through on car rides or while walking around the woods. I still remember the first flower I IDed in that book (Mountain Pink) and I remember my favorite wildflower as a child (Milkwort).
When Dan suggested we start a farm, my response was basically “you do you and I’ll come along for the ride.” Dan set to work finding the land, studying the soil and topography of the farm, and planning out a diverse orchard. I didn’t have much interest in participating on any grand scale (although I certainly helped!) as I was, at the time, feeling fulfilled as a baker and thought that would be my route in life. Well, it turns out that I don’t like working inside and I started thinking about whether I could see myself on the farm. I’ll let Dan tell his story below, but Dan was working (and continues to work) off the farm full time while trying to fulfill his dream of owning an orchard. It was evident we weren’t getting anywhere fast as we are neither rich in time nor money. I took a bit of a sabbatical from baking to evaluate my life and the farm, and somehow stumbled upon flower farming (but I don’t remember where!). Until then, I had never considered flowers as a farmable crop, and honestly, it still feels kind of uncomfortable commodifying something I love. But, the more I read about flower farming, the more it felt like it could be a beautiful addition to the farm. It was a way for me to tie a lot of my interests together (native plants, being outside and feeling physically connected to my work) while also trying to support Dan’s desires of tending the land and owning an orchard. Now, it was my turn to convince Dan to pivot and redirect the farm towards flowers, at least for the time being. We set to work and fast forward many years later, here we are finally introducing ourselves as we enter our 5th flower growing season. I don’t really believe in destiny, but I certainly believe in the power of tiny choices you make along your life and how it can lead you to unexpected and beautiful paths that feels like fate. Flower farming feels like a perfect fit and if it brings joy to others and helps Dan fulfill his dream of owning a farm, then it’s work that I’m happy and honored to do.
November 2017: right after we broke ground on our first field (for those doing the math, we only had cover crops the first year!)
In Dan’s words:
I wasn’t always interested in farming. I was more into rock music and robots, pursuing a career in engineering. The seed of the farm started with a book suggestion from Sam. Back in the early 2000’s, she read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, recommended it to me and it opened up the rabbit hole into the world of sustainable farming practices. I was fascinated by the idea of intentional ecosystems with humans as stewards. Agricultural yield created without being an imposition on the native ecology, but enriching it. While working at my engineering job, I would sneak in real estate searches when I had down time, or didn’t have down time; you know how it goes. Eventually we were able to purchase some land in southeast Austin where I began building out my vision of an orchard based around agroforestry practices. Starting with earth shaping and tree planting, I struggled for several years to develop the farm in my spare time while maintaining a full time job. As it turns out, to do it right, farming takes a lot of time! On the weekends I’d plant trees, fix irrigation, weed, and mulch…..and fix irrigation.
This is when Sam began to get more involved. She saw me struggling to fulfill this dream and was looking for a career change, so began reading about flower farming. It quickly jumped out as a fulfilling path for the both of us, and one where we could hopefully make a difference by integrating sustainable growing practices. Sam took the lead in planning and managing the farm and running the day to day operations. She’s the vision behind the flowers. Meanwhile, I still try to fit in ecological design elements whenever possible and use my engineering skills to build irrigation and other infrastructure.
And there you have it folks!
Despite not starting the farm with flowers, we’re grateful for where we’ve landed. It’s truly a privilege to tend the land, and offer sustainable flowers to our community for life’s celebrations (which is everyday!). Thanks for being here!
XX, Sam and Dan
Thanks for sharing some of your background story! I also love flowers and have a passion for sustainability. So glad I joined Best Buds last year & can’t wait for it to start back up this year. If you haven’t seen the documentary The Biggest Little Farm, I recommend it.
I also can’t wait for Best Buds to start back up again! We appreciate your support, Krissy!!
So glad to read your story and see how you are expanding. We need more flower farmers and orchards like yours in Central Texas. We look forward to supporting your Saturday farm stand (though we’ll have to sneak away from our own to get there!)
I agree! More flower farms are needed! And we’ll have to sneak away to visit your stand at Green Gate Farms too!!