Marcia at the Eno River Farmers Market
About Marcia and Ray Tice
Cut and Carry Bouquets started as a backyard flower garden that provided bouquets to Meals on Wheels during the summer. After interning at Breeze Farm, where we learned organic growing techniques as well as how to grow field flowers, we expanded the business into growing over 200 types of flowers, most started from seed. From April through October we create beautiful vase-ready bouquets for our Eno River Farmers Market customers and also provide specialty stems to enable customers to select and fashion their own bouquets. We also customize bouquets and provide buckets of flowers for special occasions. In addition to flowers, we grow figs, berries and pears. All of our flowers and fruit are grown in an environmentally friendly manner.
We "retired" from the Eno River Farmers Market when Covid arrived but we still grow and sell flowers and fruit. You can get an idea of what the farm looks like by viewing our farm video. To view the video, cut and paste the web page address https://vimeo.com/348935044 into your browser search window.
And a more detailed description of our farm and work appears below.
Spotlight on Cut & Carry (published when we were venders at the Eno River Farmers Market)
Cut and Carry Bouquets found its beginnings in a backyard flower garden that provided small bouquets to Meals on Wheels during the summer of 2008. Marcia always loved being outdoors and growing plants, but never considered farming. Then one morning while walking past a flower vender at a local farmers market, Ray said, “You can do that when you retire”. New thought seeds were planted and took root at the Eno River Farmer’s Market.
How do you jump from being a backyard gardener to a backyard farmer? Our leap was participation in the Breeze Farm Incubator (BFI) project. In 2008, as a collaborative effort between NC State and the Orange County Extension Agents, BFI provided training to new farmers in organic growing techniques. Ray and I worked as Breeze Farm interns for
In 2010, we became venders at the Eno River Farmers Market. This challenging and exciting new endeavor meant establishing a “mini-farm” in our backyard. About an acre of trees were removed, followed by the creation of an ⅛ acre growing field, an ⅛ acre of raised beds, a fruit orchard and berry patches. We have learned a lot over the years with some projects not working out so well. We have yet to get ripe peaches from our four small peach trees (they all disappear about the time they should be picked), nor do we get cherries from our single cherry tree (crows). At least the 8-foot fencing around the farm manages to keep the deer out. Ten years later, here’s a bird’s eye (drone view) of the appearance of our mini-farm taken late in July 2019. (https://vimeo.com/348935044)
Living in a small, traditional neighborhood means trying non-traditional farming techniques. Wanting to enrich our NC clay soil in an environmentally friendly manner and not having access to farm animal manure, we purchase truckloads of grade A compost formulated from food waste, plant debris, animal bedding, egg shells etc. Not having a pond, we catch rainwater from our roof that is shunted into an above ground cistern, and then gravity fed to our orchard, and rain barrels around the raised beds and the field. In 2011, Ray built a Cool-Bot cold room for storing flowers that surprisingly (at least to him) still works.
We grow over 200 varieties of flowers during the year. Most are started from seed under shop-lights in our basement, and then transplanted to the raised beds and field where they are protected by low tunnels (PVC hoops covered with row cover and/or plastic). We use only organically approved pesticides, limiting use to last resort. Marcia covers the rose, zinnia, and dahlia blooms with organza bags to prevent marauding beetles from chewing the flowers. And fortunately, Ray actually likes weeding (go figure – he says it is restful). Ray also does all of the heavy lifting in getting the various beds reconditioned each year.
Although the selling season for our flowers/produce is only from March to November, running a flower farm is a year-long process. Winter provides hours for research, planning, seed starting, care of hardy annuals planted in the fall and preparing the soil for spring planting. We are weather radar addicts, consulting the radar screen multiple times during a “bad weather” day to guide our plant-saving actions.
At market, realizing that the purchase of flowers is influenced by many factors, we offer a wide variety of flowers including specialty stems, flower buckets, and small to large arrangements in both the formal and casual/wildflower styles. Marcia enjoys working with customers to design arrangements specifically tailored to their personal preference.
In addition to our lovely flowers, we sell in season blueberries, blackberries, two kinds of figs, and muscadine grapes – all picked with special attention to ripeness.