On a late October day, Sara Mallory demonstrates how to make pumpkin bouquets to a class at the Freckled Flower Farm in Montpelier, Va. The crowd gathers around Mallory as she shares tips on for hand bouquets and how to use Oasis flower foam. When a few participants express hesitation about their ability to create a bouquet, Mallory quickly offers words of encouragement.
“I really love the classes,” said Mallory. “That may be my favorite part of it. Everyone always comes in and says ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ and then they leave with something I would literally sell on my website. I love that people leave feeling accomplished.”
Mallory opened the Freckled Flower Farm in the summer of 2016 with her wife Kelly Waldrop after traveling the world from their home base in Taiwan where they taught English. Both Richmond natives, Mallory and Waldrop worked as teachers in Hanover County Public Schools before a case of wanderlust sent them to Asia.
After six years in Taiwan, the couple began discussing the future. Mallory always enjoyed gardening and knew she had access to family land to farm – but she didn’t know what she wanted to grow. Then Mallory made up her mind after seeing a video from the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers: Local flowers. She spent the remaining months in Taiwan reading anything she could get her hands on related to flower farming.
“We came back mid-July  and the next day off the plane, I was on the tractor plowing the field,” remembered Mallory.
The Freckled Flower Farm quickly found an eager fan base. When the fields bloomed, Mallory began selling flowers at the Lakeside and Montpelier farmer’s markets and bouquets for special occasions soon followed. Flower arranging classes that include the opportunity to pick straight from the field started in 2017.
Across organized rows, the Freckled Flower Farm is home to a dazzling array of cheerful sunflowers, zinnias, celosias and snapdragons. Tina Fey, Chicken Little and Americana – the farm’s chickens – can often be found marching throughout the blooms. The farm’s name is an ode to Mallory’s complexion.
“My whole family is covered in freckles,” joked Mallory. “Someone just brought [the name] up. It’s really stuck though. People love it.”
Waldrop often chips in to help harvest and sell flowers, along with the couple’s parents. She also serves as Mallory’s cheerleader. This year, she encouraged Mallory to tackle wedding flowers.
“I’m the dreamer,” said Waldrop. “We can’t say no we can’t do it, unless we try it.”
Mallory is thankful for Virginia’s friendly gardening community. She mirrored the Freckled Flower Farm’s fields off of Lisa Mason Ziegler’s The Gardener’s Workshop flower business in Newport News.
“The flower farming community is super supportive,” explained Mallory. “There’s no competition. It’s all about supporting, helping and teaching.”
Both Mallory and Waldrop look forward to what’s to come. They’ve already hosted classes and community groups, and hope to turn the farm into more of gathering place in the future.
For more info, visit www.thefreckledflowerfarm.com.