Certainly our largest project to date.
The Mum Project encapsulates everything Harmony Harvest Farm stands for in rebuilding the American floral industry as a community of advocates and enthusiasts. In 2013, the first heirloom mums arrived to our farm and over the last decade we have cultivated a prized collection of hard to source varieties.
Our love for these more obscure varieties partnered with the frustration in procuring them led us to see beyond our own enjoyment of these garden treasures and the value they could bring to the landscape of America. Heirloom Chrysanthemum production lends itself to virtually every corner of our great nation and without large competition for this specialty category a very healthy economy can surface from this one floral crop. As we first began growing mums we felt the enthusiasm of these long-forgetten varieties explode when we first offered our our mum bouquets for nationwide shipping. Shortly thereafter, we began to offer dormant roots of our plants for others to grow at home. This was a sensational hit, and after a few seasons offering them, we felt it was time to take a bigger bite of fixing the sourcing issue. We are known as “dreamers” but in our heat of hearts, we truely believe that Chrystanthemums could be a signature in the US floral world.
Over the past few months we have worked with state and federal agencies to make sure our entry into building a mum community is compliant and within guidelines and read more about our compliance work here. We have designed the fabric of this program with some of the best folks working in state and federal agriculture agencies to make sure that not only are we bringing quality chrysanthemums to everyone's gardens according to regulations, but that these agencies were as enthusiastic about the potential for us all as we are.
We have also looked to large plant breeders and license holders, even discussing the possibility of bringing new genetics into the US. As the nation’s chrysanthemum trial farm, we have witnessed the modern patented varieties which has provided us with an even deeper insight into growing chrysanthemums. We have had deep discussions with national universities about tissue culture and preservation, and opened the conversation for floriculture to be seen and respected and a profitable commodity crop.
The best mums are like any real garden treasure, tucked away in a private collection with a story and love attached. As our farm has gained in popularity due to the mums, a few kind folks reached out offering to share their prized plants (stories included) to help us on this journey. These fellow growers are important to this story, and as more people help to build and preserve this collection, we plan to showcase each one in this project along with their contributions. We are grateful to be the stewards and keepers of this community collection and look forward to welcoming new faces and varieties in the coming years.
We will need a large army of mum lovers to make this work. From the smallest gardeners to the largest domestic producers we can collectively grow together to make a shift we can feel good about. The mum project is much larger than Harmony Harvest Farm. This project is one that will only be successful the larger community we build and evolve.