I am lucky enough to call this beautiful place home. Surrounded by flowers, good friends and kind neighbors my sister and I enjoy our turn on this land, a homestead that has sheltered generations of families. Life here is quiet, in harmony with the seasons and replete with simple blessings – the ripe tomato, the fresh brown egg, a good day in the studio, workshop, kitchen or field. My joy is to share my skills, the flowers I grow, the art and craft I make. Welcome to our story! 

The Farm

Homestead circa 1940

The house sat on a country dirt road, flanked by the maple tree that still stands today. A second front door to the left was installed by a former owner, an author who found it tiresome to get up from her work to let in the cats so had the door put in by her desk for convenience.

Bought The Farm

The farm became mine on a blustery December day. The house was built in the 1830’s and had major changes in 1900 including construction of the large barn. Few vestiges of the original style were left, freeing me from the rigors of preservation, offering a canvas on which to write a new chapter.

Hard Knocks, High Hopes

It took four years to finish the house. Gutting to the studs meant endless hours of hard, dirty work and the toughness to take setback after setback in stride. But the project also offered incredible opportunities to learn new skills and know the house to its very bones.

Home Sweet Home

The house is now home to two sisters, a dog and cat, a flock of chickens and innumerable wild birds, beasts and bugs with whom we share this little parcel. Attention has turned to the land and other buildings as we enjoy the  home we’ve made and the creative life within it.

Read more …

The Sisters

Marcia Harrington

Marcia Harrington

Farmer, Designer

Marcia is the grower/designer and owner of Foster Road Farm. This enterprise is the latest chapter in a varied career that included roles in cartography, publishing, graphic design, teaching and marketing. The farm is the fulfillment of her lifelong desire to create a place of peace and beauty, a life in harmony with the seasons where creativity abounds.

Marcia has an MFA from Syracuse University, a certificate in sustainable agriculture from the Groundswell Institute in Ithaca, is a member of the Association of Specilaty Cut Flower growers and a graduate of the Flower Farming Intensive taught by nationally acclaimed Floret Farm in Washington state.

Sheila Harrington

Sheila Harrington

Organizer, Chef

After an early career in national intelligence services culminating in honors for her support role during the first Gulf War, Sheila made a profound shift toward the healing professions, working in both traditional and alternative medicine with a deeply spiritual focus. She tends the hearth of the Foster Road Farm homestead and delights in using the farm’s bounty to nourish family and friends and in sharing her knowledge with others. Sheila is often the first person you will meet at Foster Road Farm. She will offer a warm welcome to new clients and students. Sheila has a BS from Georgetown University and traveled the world before returning to Central New York’s Finger Lakes region.

What Makes Us Different

Our Statement of Purpose

 (A warning to the reader, the following is an impassioned observation that some might fairly say, verges on a rant.)

Flowers represent the fleeting joys of life. They remind us to savor the moment, to seize the day, to be grateful and present. Flowers are incredibly sexy. Nature made them enticing for a reason. Luscious and lovely, they tempt pollinators with color, scent and sweet nectar. We humans respond intuitively to the grace of flowers. The gift of a bouquet of sweetly fragrant flowers is an incomparable pick-me-up or gesture of affection.

But have today’s flowers lost these precious qualities? Sadly, in many ways, yes. They have become like the pithy winter tomato and the flavorless melon, a victim of agricultural industrialization. Don’t bother to sniff these blooms, they have lost all scent. Commercial flowers have been bred primarily to accommodate the rigors of shipping and repeated handling. 

Commercial flowers have a hideous carbon footprint. Flowers are flown thousands of miles, trucked and warehoused, boxed and wrapped repeatedly. They have been fumigated so don’t get too close. They drenched with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Some are infused with metal salts to extend their life.  The industry is known for paying extremely low wages and exposing workers to hazardous conditions. Industrial floriculture ain’t all-ways pretty.

The introduction of national floral services like FTD and Teleflora meant bouquet design had to be standardized. A red rose plus baby’s breath and ferns arrangement must be the same whether it’s made in Tulsa or Portland. Little artistry is required, or even allowed, from the florist. There’s a soulless monotony to these flowers but they’ve become the standard for American’s expectations. They’re the floral equivalent of fast food – predictable in every way. 

If you’re lucky enough to live close to flower hubs in Miami or New York, you may have access to a broad array of flowers. But in smaller cities, the flower choices dwindle. Local florists are closing their doors as their thin slice of the overall profit pie can no longer sustain them. And yet, it seems you can get bunches of insipid flowers everywhere—in grocery stores, convenience marts, even gas stations. 

Not everyone is satisfied with the floristry status quo. Discerning consumers want more choice and better quality. Environmentally conscious buyers want clean, organic products—preferably locally grown. Workplace justice advocates want to support businesses that pay living wages and promote healthful working conditions. And most of us just want to work with businesses that care, that are friendly and knowledgeable and fun to work with. We want experiences that bring us closer, let us be creative, and help us grow.

Foster Road Farm strives to be all of this and more. This farm endeavor comes in our third act of life. We are pouring our hearts into this business and want to create a place that is welcoming to all, a creative venture that brings beauty and goodness to our customers. We will be learning all along the way.

It strikes us a sad that Americans are slow to embrace the pleasure of flowers.  Flowers add a gracious note to daily life, similar to other pleasures. Like beautiful music, they are ephemeral and lighten the spirit. Like a bottle of wine, they are best enjoyed in their moment at their peak of quality. Like art, they have the power to transform their surroundings. The feast-for-the-eyes of flowers can be shared with a crowd and still be an undiminished treat for you. Flowers are a zero-calorie indulgence, they won’t rot your teeth or embarrass your granny. But beware, they are potentially quite addictive! 

Thank you so much for reading this missive. If our spirit resonates with you, please subscribe to our newsletter—we would love to be in your good company.

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