Send a Sustainable Bouquet this Valentines Day from Bumblebee Flower Farm

‘Love is in the air’

Always find that phrase being bandied about for Valentine’s a little amusing almost to infer its like a light bulb that’s switched on for the 14th February. To a degree it is, it does create a certain urgency and gives the men folk the courage to be bold!

This year at Bumble Bee Flower Farm we have sustainable bouquets available for delivery to 26 counties. Ranging from €40 – €60 plus €10.00 delivery. Simply click here to order. All orders must be placed by February 11th to ensure delivery for Valentines Day.

Things have changed a lot since that first bouquet of imported roses I put together over 20 years ago. My journey into growing my own flowers began in 2010 but it wasn’t until a happy accident in 2013 where I was asked by a bride would it be possible to have a safe posy for her 2 year old flower girl that I discovered I was actually growing almost 60% of edible flowers. Roll on to 2020 and now over 70% of our produce is edible.

Working with nature and seasonality is at the core of everything here on the farm. While we do have year round production, the winter months are very limited and completely weather dependant. December to February are the leanest months and it’s always a challenge to meet demand but chefs and cake bakers are very understanding of seasonality and the general public are beginning to embrace this too. 

One of the cake bakers we work with Louise Clarke of had a very understanding bride who wanted a meadow style cake and as these are applied directly onto the cake they need to be certified edible for safety reasons. Luckily, she was understanding of the limitations with the time of year and was happy with what we could supply. 

There is an awful lot of work goes into producing flowers organically but when I see what these talented cake bakers create with my flowers it blows my mind.  This cake was for a wedding on the 24th of January 2020.

Because of the extensive range of flowers and herbs that we grow here we are able to supply the variety needed to create these beauties, but it is definitely much easier to meet these demands in the summer months.

Eddie Atwell’s move to the Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff was another pivotal moment in the farm’s development and direction for the next decade. I’ve never met a chef before to have such an understanding of plants. Eddie’s grandfather grew vegetables and his father grew flowers, so he’s been inspired by them both. My background in floristry has been a blessing as it encouraged me to seek out different edible flowers and foliage and Eddie’s insatiable thirst for continuous innovative recipes is a match made in heaven. We’re like children in a sweet shop and our gardens are our labs.

Chocolate is almost as synonymous with Valentines as flowers are.  Eddie’s signature aerated chocolate has long been a firm favourite but the marriage of natural floral flavours like calendula, rose, marigold and herbs such as strawberry mint are delicious and interesting addition. Eddie has also created a dairy free option for me!! This is something we will be bringing to market in the near future.

Because local seasonal produce is what we are both passionate about we relished the opportunity to showcase our ideas for A taste of West Cork food festival through our ‘Flora Fauna & Food’ event where guests were treated to an 8 course tasting menu including drinks made from produce grown on the farm like meadowsweet and elderberry. Our guests loved the idea of ingredients being harvested as they ate and served up immediately. This is another area that we are developing for 2020 and beyond.

Our floral offerings at this time of year are Calendula, Purslane, Malva and Winter Dianthus followed closely by Allium, antirrhinum and feverfew foliage includes, rosemary, apple, grapefruit mint and feverfew foliage.

Meadow style wedding cakes were highly popular last year and are set to continue this year if orders for 2020 are anything to go by. These require a lot of work and varied mix of ingredients to complete the look and get that professional finish.

Deconstructing flowers is also a part of this design and suits garnishing also. This is where you separate individual petals and sprinkle like confetti or just a few strategically placed petals on your dish. You really get to appreciate the intricate patterns and remarkable beauty of flowers.

We will be hosting a variety of workshops over the season including using edible flowers for cakes with Trish Messon of the Stuffed olive in Bantry showing how to apply and create a meadow style cake.

Eddie will also be joining us for another workshop with a farm tour of the edibles we grow and Eddie will be demonstrating their uses and what you can create at home.

Visit Bumble Bee Farm to order sustainable bouquets or to enquire about the extensive range of edible flowers and even tours/courses available.

Cake bakers Bumble Bee Farm work with regularly include Cove Cake Design, The Cake Cuppery, Heavenly Cakes, Couture Cakes, The Stuffed Olive

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