Farming for Flowers
Within an urban-rural setting of Thunder Bay lies Moss Cottage, where the Urban Farmchick remains hard at work, seeding, growing and collecting flowers and herbs for her all-natural home decor and handmade products. Grown and harvested directly from the gardens and fields of her backyard, Kate Fraser-Hominick is self-taught and grew her business out of a love of her natural surroundings and the outdoors. Foraging for grasses, wildflowers, twigs and other gifts of nature became the source of inspiration for her part-time floral design business many years ago. Since then, it has blossomed into a full-time retail business of handmade home and garden decor, open seasonally.
Back in 1999, Kate and her husband put a 26-acre plot of land to use and planted garden by garden, building on her dreams. They reclaimed and prepared a section of the land for her dream business – to become an urban flower farmer-florist. Flowers and herbs emerged and gave life to what has become the focus of Moss Cottage. In 2005, the planting of the largest field began and her business has since taken flight into beautiful things.
In 2005, The Urban Farmchick joined us at the market after noticing a limited availability of all-natural locally made soap. When she began, her primary product was her handmade cold process (old fashioned) soaps, along with a small selection of market-fresh flowers. The market became a great place to build up interest in her flower bouquets while she continued to grow and develop her cutting gardens. Over time, she added bedding plants and other floral-based seasonal decor like wreaths and arrangements. Today, her primary product is still her handmade soap but during the growing season, a large abundance of her fresh-cut flowers are also available. As Kate puts it, “Let’s just say that I grow flowers like many of the market produce vendors grow veggies!”.
Kate describes her business as ‘a constant work in progress’, testing different varieties of flowers each growing season and summer. She even offers local, naturally grown flowers and decor for eco-conscious brides and grooms. Over the years, Kate has expanded her soap lineup to as many as 20 different scent combinations. All of her bar and shaving soaps have remained a great seller, but a few remain absolute customer favourites ~ French Hippy (an intoxicating combination of French Lavender and Patchouli essential oils), Farm Girl, and anything lavender. During the growing season, customers not only tell, but show how much they adore Urban Farmchick-style fresh cut market bouquets. From the flower combinations right down to the brown paper packaging, Kate’s eye for stunning floral arrangements has become the ‘pick of the crop’ for many! And she assures us that the 2016 flower season promises to be the best yet, with a uniquely curated list of new flower selections being seeded at the moment. Kate looks forward to the wedding season this year as well, as she envisions the possibilities and the beautiful, all-natural, eco-conscious choices many wedding couples are making.
You can find Kate at the market every Saturday at her booth, located on the main floor about mid-centre. Aside from the market, Kate’s products are sold exclusively at Moss Cottage during her seasonal Open Houses and online through the blog. This year, Kate is also in the process of seeking out a few select local florists who are equally as interested in accessing and offering locally-grown floral goodness to their eco-conscious customers. Kate’s talent in taking what the earth springs forth and turning it into beautiful, eco-friendly decor and products has given her dream business its wings.