The Crop Report

The Crop Report | Oregon or Bust!: Part 2

The Crop Report | Oregon or Bust!: Part 2

Welcome back for the second part of our Oregon-bound and Virginia-destined Mum project recap! Last week I talked about the amazing opportunity that came our way to acquire such a large and hidden gem of a private heirloom mum collection, which you can read here. Sonja and Elizabeth, along with myself, headed to Oregon to tackle the project while Caroline headed the ship back on the farm. It was a lot of planning and organization, but we did it!

Sitting at the FedEx shipping station in Oregon on a Monday morning, handing over the multitude of boxes that were about to transport our new hopes and dreams felt like a victory. The next leg of this journey would be out of our hands as we shipped home thousands of new cuttings and thousands of new mother rootstock. Our fingers lost circulation from crossing them so hard. From Rooty in fulfillment to us in Oregon, every member of Harmony Harvest felt the responsibility of bringing them home safely to share.

When the FedEx clerk handed me the tracking slip for all the packages, Sonja, Elizabeth, and I jumped in the car and headed to the highest suburban road for cell service and called the team back home to let them know the eagle was in route (not really, but I kinda wish we would have said that now). We updated them on tracking info and what to expect upon arrival and how to move forward once the mums got home. After that call, we Oregon girls were pretty spent. We had been swimming in nonstop mums from the time we had left the farm until dropping them off at FedEx.

With only one day left before we headed back home, we decided to take full advantage of the fact that we were on the west coast and drove to the Pacific Ocean. It was incredible! A bucket list item for sure. I’d never seen beaches like that in my life and I made sure to soak in every inch of coastal wind, sand, sun, and air to bring home with me. The sound of the water, the feeling of walking a beach in January, and the quirky backroads and village peaks along the way with my farm family were equally as rewarding. It was a trip I will never forget for so many reasons.

Our journey awakened my thirst for discovery in a whole new way, and lots of airport downtime helped me to see a little deeper into this dream I’ve been growing. As we awoke on Tuesday to travel back, our return home felt so much sweeter with an onslaught of texts and videos of the chrysanthemums arriving back at the farm before we stepped foot in the airport. How sweet they had made it safe and sound and now it was our turn! We traveled back with far fewer bumps than we had traveling out, but landing in Richmond at 11 pm made for a late car ride home afterward.

I was the driver and after dropping off the girls at home, was the last to send out my “I made it home safely" text to the crew and in typical stride sent it with a selfie from the newly arrived mother mums in the dark, cold greenhouse at 2:30 am. I’m an early riser so the thought of trying to fall asleep only to hit the ground in a mere few hours felt less effective than adding another pot of coffee to my morning lineup.

I returned to sick kids and a worn-out husband but a family that missed me and was quietly slumbering upon my return. As the dawn light hit the greenhouse plastic, I slung on my Carhartt and headed to the greenhouses to help Caroline process the mums she had thoughtfully received. I had no brains, but thanks to her oversight and organization, I didn’t need any as I worked on only adrenaline to pot up all those mother roots. The fresh baby cuttings were sent to be rooted and the mothers lined up, double-labeled, and checked off our inventory sheet, all within the week. We did it, we actually did it.

This project sounded big and crazy, and maybe even a bit impossible, but we pulled it off and I couldn’t be more proud of what we are able to do through the magic of flowers. There are still more questions to answer like why and what’s the plan for all of them. We will get to that soon,. Right now, I’m just going to sit in my house of mums and remember what the ocean sounded like.

XOXO, Jess

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