Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 11, 2019

Contact: Emily Copus, owner of Carolina Flowers, 828-230-9387 or emily@flowersnc.com

Flower Industry Takes Root in WNC with Grant Award

Although hemp has captivated the imagination of many WNC agriculturalists, a different flower is currently vying to become a major crop for the region -- dahlias. On February 7, 2019, state agricultural partners announced an investment in dahlias through the WNC AgOptions Grant. Carolina Flowers, a 3-acre flower farm in Marshall, will receive $6,000 to expand its dahlia growing program, which supplies florists in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and beyond. The program is a collaboration with other local flower farms. Carolina Flowers also sells blooms at the Asheville City Market and provides design services for weddings and events.

To celebrate the grant, Carolina Flowers is announcing two dahlia events:

  • On July 20 and 21, Carolina Flowers will host farm and garden tours as part of Flowers and Clay. Flower production takes place at several Carolina Flowers properties in Marshall. Anyone is welcome to visit the cutting garden during the event, and small groups can tour the production fields at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The farm tour and open house take place in collaboration with Josh Copus Pottery. Carolina Flowers is owned by Emily Copus, and her husband, Josh, operates a woodfired pottery studio on adjoining land. For more information about that event, visit www.flowersandclay.com.

  • On Sunday, Oct. 6, Carolina Flowers will host a dahlia workshop with special access to the production field and flower arranging. For more information about that event and other workshops, visit www.flowersnc.com.

“Dahlias are a great crop for Western North Carolina because they love our cool nights and afternoon showers,” said Emily Copus, owner of Carolina Flowers. “With this expansion, we’re positioning ourselves to become one of the largest dahlia growers in the region. We have the potential to really scale our production and reach florists throughout the Southeast.”

Dahlias are one of the major crops Carolina Flowers grows. The farm produces dozens of varieties of cut flowers with an emphasis on a few important seasonal crops. In addition to dahlias, Carolina Flowers grows specialty tulips, ranunculus, anemones, poppies, lisianthus, drying flowers and many others.

Carolina Flowers is part of a resurgence in the cut flower industry taking place throughout the nation. Emily Copus’ grandfather grew up on the family’s flower farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, that farm, like many others, moved away from flower production in the ‘70s and ‘80s as fuel costs rose and South American imports became more viable. Now, small flower farmers across the country are working together to regain market share. Notable examples of this movement include Floret in Washington, 3 Porch Farm in Athens, Georgia, Summer Dreams Farm in Oxford, Michigan, and many others. The rapidly growing Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is nearly 2,000 members strong.

The WNC AgOptions Grant was designed to help farmers in former tobacco-growing areas diversify their businesses. It is funded exclusively by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and administered by nonprofit WNC Communities. Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services–Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusiness.

For more information about Carolina Flowers, visit www.flowersnc.com. Photos available by request. Email emily@flowersnc.com.