Growers Supporting Growers - Michael Wells
Harris Seeds’ dedicated staff loves the work we do and we’re committed to serving the agricultural industry. Our team includes experienced growers whose invaluable knowledge and expertise help us identify the best products and practices so we can better serve you. You’ll find a snapshot of our grower employees, including a brief look at their operation, the markets they serve, and the passion that drives them to serve the agricultural community.
Featured Grower: Michael Wells - 365 Fresh
Plants have always been a part of Michael’s life, but once he set his hands on flowers nearly 16 years ago, ornamentals became his passion. Over the years he managed farmers markets, and worked in retail and wholesale florists. He owned and operated 365 Fresh for four seasons, a specialty cut flower farm in the greater Rochester area. His cut flower products supplied multiple marketplaces including a flower only CSA, farmers markets, roadside stands, and D-I-Y wedding flowers. The main focus of Michael’s business quickly turned to direct sales to florists with an interest in unique products not available through general wholesalers.
“As a grower, my focus was to produce specialty cut flowers that were fun and a little different,” said Michael. “I tried many types of products to find what my customers wanted. Their favorites included standards like Benary’s Giant zinnia, Pro Cut Gold and Orange sunflowers, Amazon dianthus, and popular colors of lisianthus. My customers also expected to find an array of textures and colors from celosia, snapdragon, dahlia, and unique foliage like Mahogany Splendor hibiscus.”
His small farm had two primary requirements to start each season: quality seed for direct sowing and a reliable source for pre-started plants. Harris Seeds was his ‘go to’ for their great range of tried and true direct sow items. He also found their partnership with plug and liner growers to be very helpful, particularly Raker and Gro ‘n Sell who grew all of his pre-started plants.
“I always found I learned the most from people with growing experience to keep up with trends and growing practices. Many of the team members at Harris Seeds have helped me by sharing growing tips and their personal experiences,” Michael points out. “Another resource I highly recommend is the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (www.ascfg.org) as this group is an invaluable resource that pays for its self very quickly.”