A family-owned Leesburg flower farm has experienced an explosion of interest in freshly cut flowers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and by quickly pivoting to online sales and deliveries, business is booming for the few-year-old farm.
Wild for Wildflowers is owned by Kaitlin and Justin Armijo — and they get plenty of help from their four-year-old daughter Paisley and two-year-old son Nolan.
When the couple purchased the property located off Dry Mill Road in 2014, they dreamed of a way to grow something on the land so Kaitlin could continue to work from home.
Originally from California, the high school sweethearts moved to Loudoun County for Justin’s work as a firefighter. Kaitlin said they immediately fell in love with the countryside, and flowers have always been a passion.
“I wanted to find a way to use the land, and I could do it with the kids,” she said.
For the past few years, they have sold flowers at area farmers markets. More recently, they have expanded the business in other ways with a renovated Japanese mini truck, designed with a “bloom bar” and buckets for mixed bouquets. As the economy reopens, the couple plans to drive around the county to sell flowers at wineries and breweries and events.
Kaitlin Armijo is a passionate advocate for the local flower movement, and she explained why it is so important to the industry.
“There are so many aspects that have touched my heart on why I wanted to be involved in the movement. Many people see flowers as a waste, but local flowers are grown without pesticides and they last longer. They are fragrant. This has sparked a thing in me,” she said.
When the pandemic began in March, business shifted to online sales and subscription services.
“We had to write an entirely new business plan overnight and figure out how we were going to deliver our bouquets all over this massive county with no employees — while doing all of the planting, harvesting, arranging, social media managing and communication, email correspondence and bookkeeping,” Armijo said.
They then had to add online ordering to the website, while ensuring they were working within legal limits of the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We did it. Not without growing pains, a few mistakes and a complete lack of sleep. But we are hustling and making it work. The demand has been incredible,” she said.
Opportunities for future growth on the farm are exciting, she said. Armijo will plant 15,000 tulip bulbs for harvesting next spring, along with 10,000 daffodils and 6,000 ranunculus and aenenome. She also plans to expand from 800 dahlias this year to 1,500 next year.
“We will have a lot of spring flowers. By far this is the best time to be outside,” Armijo said. “I’ve always grown flowers since I was a little girl, I always had a garden. It’s been so much fun for our family and for my husband to have an excuse to use a tractor.”
Looking ahead, Armijo plans to offer flower arranging workshops and other events on the farm. They are also building a farm stand, which they hope to open at the end of the summer.
“Flowers have a unique way of bringing people together,” she said. “It’s so joyful.”