Celia Spillmann with Caswell Flower Company and Lauren Bettis with Happy Hippy Tea of Yanceyville will soon team up in a traveling flower and herbal tea food truck venture.
Spillmann, who is a flower-growing advocate to Caswell County farmers, recently hosted a pop-up flower bar at Busy Bee Coffee Company, where Bettis works. She offered small hand wrapped posies, flower crowns, and a few plantable cards.
“We approach our farm and our operations on a whole farm outlook,” said Spillmann, “meaning we look at all the systems going on around our farm to help be more sustainable and viable. I have a masters in sustainability studies, so I learned how to dial in systems-thinking to work our systems more in-sync and efficient with each other.”
Spillmann uses reusable products, manages weeds and pests without chemicals, and builds her soil naturally. In her arrangements, she incorporates foraged items found around her farm to contrast and complement the flowers. Her style is perhaps one of her most standout qualities. When it came to Valentine’s Day, she used color tones other than red and white, leaning towards warm oranges and peach.
“We are focusing on the experience of flowers this year, having more events and workshops at farms and with flowers so that people engage with our products on new levels and for different reasons,” said Spillmann.
Caswell Flower Company sells an array of value-added products such as handmade plantable paper and stationery.
“We also work with Happy Hippie Tea and other companies on providing edible flowers and herbs for their product needs,” said Spillmann.
According to Spillmann only 20-percent of all flowers sold in the United States are U.S. grown, meaning 80-percent are imported from out of country.
“We have an opportunity to capture a larger part of that market and if we grow together we will all be better for it. I love the idea of having collaborative agriculture groups here in Caswell,” said Spillmann. “Caswell Flower Company is working with Hummingbird Flower Farm to offer the 2019 Caswell Flower Share this year, which brings fresh flowers to our members’ homes weekly.”
With the flower share, investors receive discounted fresh products and flower growers receive a more consistent and stable revenue stream.
Spillmann is also active in a Caswell women’s agriculture group that helps create a network of women farmers and gardeners as well as supports information sharing to become better and more sustainable farmers.
“Liz Mason with Honey Bee Hill Farms is the admin for the group!” said Spillmann.
Honey Bee Hill Farms has been in the spotlight lately with a recent economic development announcement for Measur.io staged at the Mason’s farm.
“We also started a Caswell Flower Farmers group for us to have a platform to dive deeper into specialty products, buy from each other when needed, and to have a place where we can celebrate and build awareness around local flowers,” said Spillmann.
Spillmann is a Colorado born and North Carolina raised entrepreneur and farmer. She grew up in the suburbs of Greensboro but said she always had the dream of living and working in a rural community. Her parents purchased farmland in Caswell County in 2013 and she began farming in 2016 after finishing her graduate studies program.
By 2017, Spillmann was working full-time on a portion of her parent’s land and in 2018 was hired to work part time with Caswell County’s Small Business Center and Economic Development Office.
Spillmann lives with her husband Matt Hoagland, county planner, in Yanceyville where they’re renovating their first home. Hoagland is also active in the community, especially with history and Boy Scouts.
Spillmann’s partnership with Bettis’ Happy Hippie Tea will soon launch as the Hippie Flower Truck.
Both women may be found on Facebook and Instagram.