US: U-pick flower farms blooming across Michigan

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When it comes to Michigan’s u-pick offerings, apples, berries, pumpkins and Christmas trees come to mind. But there’s a new u-pick experience that’s been growing steadily across the state: u-pick flowers.

According to Jeremy Jubenville, the Michigan State University Extension’s floriculture and greenhouse extension educator for southwest Michigan, there has been an 85 percent increase in cut flower operations — including wholesalers — across the state over the last five years. He said the number of operations with outdoor production acreage has doubled since the last census and Michigan ranks eighth in the nation in cut flower production with annual sales just over $10.6 million.

“Agritourism is a booming industry in Michigan and has become an important revenue stream for many farmers,” he said. “The sight of flower fields in full bloom is a great way to attract people to your venue. We see many established farms turning to cut flowers as a way to diversify their crop portfolio.”

This was the case for Ankley Family Farm in Imlay City, which started in 1902 as a dairy farm. While raising dairy and beef cattle is still the operation’s primary focus, the farm introduced u-cut flowers in 2021 with growing popularity each season. Visitors are given a sanitized pair of scissors to walk through the fields and can fill up a quarter jar for $15 or a two-gallon bucket for $60. Ankley’s also offers a separate (no-cut) sunflower trail, where guests can stroll through the sunflowers to take pictures, which has become popular for graduation, engagement and maternity photos.


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