PROSSER — A retirement job which began as an idea scratched out around the kitchen table on a winter evening, and now nine months later, R Flower Farm has flourished into an operation which has kept Ronda Warwick busy all summer long.
The conceptual plan was supported by her daughter, Jill Warwick and her son’s girlfriend, Tabitha Veiga. The women spent nights and weekends learning to plant, tend and grow flowers to sell at local farmers markets.
“It really became a labor of love,” mused Ronda, who by day is a cost accountant at St. Michelle Chateau at Patterson.
Their flower plot has grown to a 75’x40’ patch filled with a rainbow of cosmos, dahlias, lilies, sunflowers and zinnias to name a few of the fragrant blooms they cut for market.
“For a while it didn’t look like anything was going to grow, then everything took off at once,” Ronda admitted.
“We started bulbs in window still, and quickly invested in a greenhouse,” Jill added.
“When the flowers were ready to cut, we found we needed a better cold room in which to store the blooms,” she explained.
The cold storage room, also has space for a design workshop, supervised by Tabitha, who gained her design experience working in the floral departments at area Safeway stores.
“There are a lot of people who want to buy their flowers directly from the farm,” Tabitha added.
“We have gotten calls for flowers for special events, including weddings and funerals,” Jill acknowledged.
As the farm’s product promotion director, Jill handled the orders and Tabitha’s work is in high demand, she added.
“People like the arrangements Tabitha is making on site at the market and by special order,” Ronda remarked.
Now nearing the end of their first season as R Flower Farm, the women are already making plans to implement changes and expansions for the upcoming 2020 growing season.
“We’ll experiment with more bulbs, plant more sunflowers and other popular cut flowers,” Ronda mapped out loud their next growing season plans.
While Ronda admits she isn’t quite ready to retire, “…it’s nice to know I’ll have something to keep me busy. I wanted to find something where I could work outside and R Flower Farm is it,” she decided.