Margo Peill moved to Terrace nearly seven years ago and started selling flowers from Fernweh Farmstead last spring. (Submitted Photo/Margo Peill)

Margo Peill moved to Terrace nearly seven years ago and started selling flowers from Fernweh Farmstead last spring. (Submitted Photo/Margo Peill)

Skeena Voices | The life of a flower farmer

Margo Peill started selling flowers from Fernweh Farmstead last year

Ask Margo Peill, 29, what her favourite flower is, and she has a hard time picking just one.

“I like sweet peas a lot, I love cosmos and I think probably Dahlias, Dahlias are a pretty special flower, they come in a ton of different varieties like different colours, different shapes, different sizes and the plants get huge,” she said.

“Here in the northwest we have to dig up the roots in the fall and then re-plant them again in the spring but the amount of growth that happens from late April or early May right up until October is insane, the plants can get four feet high, super bushy and them they just pump out these huge gorgeous flowers.”

Peill and her partner moved onto an acreage north of Terrace two years ago and started Fernweh Farmstead. This year the farm will produce 50 varieties of different flowers on around a quarter-acre of open field, with a hoop house.

Last spring was the farm’s first growing season, with flowers ready to sell in mid-summer.

“By the time July hit we were getting messages from people, and people reaching out asking if we had any flowers, how they could get our flowers and when we would be at market, so I think that was the biggest surprise of our first year was that we were just absolutely blown away by the support for the farm and for the flowers,” Peill said.

“People were going out of their way to make sure that they got local flowers and make sure that they were supporting us and especially in a pandemic year, flowers are not an necessity for people.”

Long before Peill was farming flowers, she was a student on the other side of the country. Originally from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, she studied at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, obtaining a degree in health promotion.

“To really boil it down it’s about keeping people out of the health care system so it’s all about preventative health so lifestyle, health and wellness, injury prevention, those sorts of things,” she said.

At school, Peill became close friends with a fellow student who was born and raised in Terrace and decided to fly to Terrace to visit after she graduated. Peill had a job lined up on Vancouver Island. She had done the interview and was waiting to hear back.

“I decided to come up here for the weekend to kind of kill some time and then I still hadn’t heard by the end of the weekend so I cancelled my flight just because I thought that I would re-book it as soon as I heard and head on down to Vancouver Island,” she said.

“It was Wednesday or Thursday of that week that they phoned and said that I got the job and that I should come down as soon as possible, by then I had fallen in love with Terrace and I said ‘I’m actually going to stay here instead and not come down to Vancouver Island, sorry!’”

That was nearly seven years ago, and Peill has been here ever since.

“That weekend I met a lot of her friends and it was just a really sort of instant group of people that I got along with really well who were super welcoming and really kind and really open.”

Peill met her partner shortly after starting out in Terrace — they both had an agricultural background and wanted to do something in that field.

In 2016 they went on a road trip to California and volunteered on a farm for six months to learn more and get some experience. Farmers there planted flowers alongside vegetables.

“We just kind of incorporated what we could into our own little backyard garden, so I started planting flowers then and working them into our veggie garden.”

Before starting Fernweh Farmstead, Peill had the opportunity to do some “informal market research” during her role as the farm market manager for the Skeena Valley Farmers Market. In that job, she was able to meet farmers and learn about their operations, gaps in the market and make new friends.

She has also became entrenched in the local agriculture community working for the Public Health Association of BC supporting its Farm to School BC program, which connects schools to local farms and food resources.

“That program is all about getting healthy local food into schools and getting students connected to hands on learning opportunities, so school gardens is a really big piece, field trips to farms, those kinds of things.”

Two years ago Peill and her partner found an acreage that had flat sunny land, some garden space and a walk in cooler, which is important for cut flower production because the cool space makes the flowers last longer and stay fresh.

“We just thought we are good friends with a lot of people growing veggies in town, it would be nice to not directly compete with them, no one is doing cut flowers on this kind of scale with this kind of production so that was the route we decided to go.”

After a successful first season, Peill gave birth to her first child in October.

“We’ve been super lucky, she’s very easygoing so she is happy just sort of watching what’s going on, hanging out, being outside, she’s pretty chill which has been really nice.”

While focusing on growing a child, Peill is also building up her stock of perennial flowers. The farm has a couple of small weddings planned for the season and hopes to partner with local businesses to do some workshops. Peill is also focused on growing more flowers this year. She might even get some pet goats in the future.

“I love goats, I love the animals themselves but we did a little research and in order to get into the milk production and in order to do it legally to be able to sell it and to get the infrastructure to make cheese is very expensive.”


@BenBogstie
ben.bogstie@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP responded to 256 calls from April 12 to April 19, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Terrace RCMP briefs: Bear spray, assault with a hammer and hot tub theft

RCMP responded to 256 calls from April 12 to April 19, 2021

The Pure Movements dance group performing ‘Coffee, Coffee, Coffee…Americano’ during the 2019 Pacific Northwest Music Festival, the last to be held before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions of the two-week Terrace event. (Submitted Photo/ Ken Juniper)
Spotlighting the Arts 2021 brings performances to the people during pandemic

The initiative was created by organizers of the cancelled Pacific Northwest Music Festival

There were 29 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Terrace between April 11 and April 15, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)
New COVID-19 cases in Terrace increase by 15 compared to previous week

There were 29 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the Terrace area between April 11 and April 17

Nass forest service road deactivated due to Landslide. (NLG Conservation/Facebook)
Landslide deactivates Nass-Kinskutch service road

Service road going to Kitsault and Alice Arm affected

Terrace-based Skeena Diversity Society among organizations to receive provincial funding to combat (Skeena Diversity Society/Facebook)
Skeena Diversity Society receives provincial funding to combat racism

The provincial funding extends to 36 organizations covering 57 communities

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

Most Read