Nestled about 150 yards from the banks of the James River, Mason Moomaw’s half acre dahlia farm introduces an exclamation point of colors against the natural backdrop of the Powhatan countryside. Moomaw launched Burst + Bloom earlier this year offering fresh cut flowers, mainly dahlias, to the Richmond market.
While Burst + Bloom recently started, Moomaw is no stranger to working on a flower farm.
“I grew up on my parent’s farm in Lynchburg. It’s always how I spent my summers, working on the farm and flowers in particular,” said Moomaw. “For me, half the fun was working outside and the responsibility for taking care of the flowers and everything else that benefits from the flowers. I always knew that I wanted to return to that at some point.”
Moomaw’s parents decided to close the family farm – Irvington Spring Farm – last June after 23 years in business. He purchased about 2,000 of his parents’ dahlia tubers and found a small piece of land to rent in Powhatan earlier this spring.
“It was in my blood, and I wanted to get back to it,” explained Moomaw. “I had been looking for land for two years.”
In Virginia's zone 7a, dahlias generally bloom from July-October. Packed and organized in rows, the Burst + Bloom field overflows with more than 45 dahlia varieties of all shapes, sizes and colors. Instagram sensation Café Au Lait is the farm’s most popular wedding variety, while a large salmon dinner plate dahlia is another favorite. The family lost track of many of the official dahlia names after digging up the tubers each year to store them during Virginia’s winters.
Moomaw continues to work a full-time job in addition to taking care of the field and cutting flowers. He commutes about 45-minutes, five days a week, to cut flowers during the season. On average, he hauls back about 12 buckets filled with 40 flowers each to his home in Oregon Hill where he built a storage cooler to keep stems.
“One of my favorite things about dahlias is there are a lot of varieties and different types," said Moomaw. "Even within the same variety, you can get flowers that look slightly different. Every single day there’s one flower that’s a true standout and that keeps it interesting.”
Burst + Bloom sells to floral designers and directly to consumers, and is a great option for people who want to purchase local flowers. For prices and to join Burst + Bloom’s mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, Moomaw is selling bouquets of dahlias in Oregon Hill on Friday evenings. Follow the Burst + Bloom Instagram account for details.