LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The first thing you notice when you arrive at Perennial Favorites Flower Farm in Perry County, Indiana are huge, cone-shaped flowers towering above everything else.
John Klueh, half of the husband and wife team that owns the farm says the distinctive flowers are Limelight Hydrangea and sell for $3 a stem.
Other flowers for sale are Zinnias, incredibly fragrant tuberous, cosmos, cockscomb, butterfly milkweed and gigantic sun flowers.
Fifty to 75 varieties are grown at Perennial Favorites near tiny Leopold, Indiana, a little more than an hour west of Louisville.
The farm is vastly different from the flat hayfield the Purdue University horticulturalists purchased 19 years ago. Perennial Favorites is now five acres of flowers, long-stemmed, cut flowers that grow during an amazingly long season – March through November. John has lengthened the growing season with tunnels, long greenhouse structures where the flowers are planted in the ground and protected from wind and rain.
He says, “It ended up being such a valuable piece of production area that I put in two more.”
And there’s something else unique about the farm. Perennial Favorites is one of 4 flower farms in the region, but the couple says they’re the only flower farm selling directly to the customer.
They’ve found a profitable niche at farmers markets. They were one of the first vendors at the Original Bardstown Road Farmers Market in Louisville.
Tammy says, “We made our first dollar at that farmer’s market.”
At first the couple was surprised at how well flowers sold.
Now, John says, “We can go to our Saturday morning farmer’s market and sell a truckload of flowers on a Saturday morning.”
A truckload is 2,000 stems. At that market they always found incredible customer loyalty.
When John and Tammy traveled to their daughter’s wedding a couple of years ago the customers sold their flowers for them. They helped them keep their record intact. Tammy says, “We’ve never missed a market.”
That’s the good and the bad of the work they do. The hours and days are long, there’s no break during the growing season but they are surrounded by the Hoosier National Forest.
Even working side-by-side all these years is considered a plus by the couple.
Tammy says, “I’m glad we get along. It would be bad if we didn’t.”
It is a good thing because John Klueh is not allowed to make up with his wife by sending flowers.
He laughs, “No that doesn’t work for me.”