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275. Flower and Vegetable CSA | Eastward Gardens | Larry and Michelle Lesher | Hardinsburg, Indiana
3rd June 2019 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:57:33

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We were city kids, he was a professional skateboarder and neither of us had a background in farming.

There’s just the two of us but we do it for a living.

I think I found you on Floret. How big is your place?

I’m going into my 3rd season growing flowers. We’re going on selling vegetables etc on 3 years. I was a nurse with the dream I could leave my job.

took us a while

try to make it quick

We moved from Seattle to louisville so I could go to grad school

that’s when Larry started interning on a farm. He’s been farming ever since then.

I just joined full time in  June I quit my job. That’s when I bumped up the flower production. 

I can do more with it

a lot of flowers

we grow on 2 acres

our farm is 16 1/2 acres

We crop rotate

we only have, theres about 6 acres of workable we rotate it and do about 2 at a time.

We sell

  • Vegetables
  • fruit
  • culinary herbs
  • micro greens


We sell a lot of micro greens through the winter, we sell a lot of microgreens through the winter months.

Culinary herbs who do you sell those to and do you want to tell listeners the diffeence between culinary and medicinal?

we just specific culinary

herbs people cook with

  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • sorrel
  • parsley
  • basil

Who do you sell to? A CSA?

  • 20 week CSA
  • 2 famers markets a week
  • local health food store

small scale because there’s just the two of us


health food store we consistently

20 week CSA program

2 farmers market

May or June – Oct

  • radishes
  • turnips
  • arugula

flower share this year for the first time

flower bouquets

in with vegetables

  • ranunculus
  • anemones

Start April

4-6 weeks once they start

more veggies I can say


  • salad mix
  • spinach
  • first boxes

unique about our CSA

Organic Farm


newsletters in each box


items in the box


are all plant based recipes

nutritional value

how to store the crops

processing and preserving


under the CSA tab

6 years worth of newsletters there

that have recipes

work really hard on the newsletter


sharing recipes

good cooked simply

lentils and rice

beans and rice dishes

white bean dish

good to add in


plant based pesto

doesn’t have cheese in it

have to add cheese


when you’re a farmer I don’t like to see anything go to waste

Pesto is a great one you can process and freeze

arugula have to blanch it

boil for 30 seconds

stop cooking process

  • arugula
  • basil and cilantro
  • kale
  • brocoli
  • parsley

all those options are really taste

5 cloves of garlic

walnuts ~ healthy for your brain

pesto is a great way to do in the

store with parchment paper

ring and the lid store in the freezer


great way to use up the foods

best on homemade bread

so the flowers are a total labor of love for me

I’ve wanted to grow flowers my whole life, never really have

year before I quit my job

he was hesitant at first

can’t really eat a flower for one

he didn’t see that we would have much of a market for them

if anything it will attract bees, be pretty

happiness to the farm

wanted to get bees

plan to do in the future

plotted out the field

wasn’t the best spot



come to find out the flowers are easier to grow then food

  • zinnias
  • sunflowers

our first go at it we actually did really well

Mennonite neighbors who do dahlias

gave us our first dahlia tubers

  • sunflowers
  • zinnias
  • cosmos

sun friendly

started bringing bouquets to market

give one bouquet away at market to be thankful

when we started to do that,

it was amazing the reaction

people started crying

I’ve given a lot of tomatoes, but there’s something special about these flowers

he was really sold

the produce is nurturing and feeding our bodies and our health


flowers are feeding people’s hearts

impact on him and I both

3rd flower season

tripped the amount of flowers

we added

  • 1000 ranunculus
  • 1000 amenones

we’re doing heirloom mums for fall planting

extensive season out on the back end of it

brings a lot of life


attract a lot of people to the table

found customers

with the produce

come for the flowers buy the produce

incorporate for us with the flowers


struggled with depression

when I’m out there harvesting

it’s interesting

one of the things that spoke to me with flower farming

as christians

we’re all individually made

very individual

god is life giving to us

I would go out

Sunday morning

pick em heavy

I think I’m not gonna have any flowers for Tuesday

I won’t have enough

harvest aggressively

zinnias pick

lower you harvest the stem

lower you do it

pick a lot

more they grow


celosia is not that way



more aggressive you harvest

more they grow

all these new flowers the next day!

That would be one of my biggest pointers

pick them low

there will be some branching flowers

don’t pick it low

cut off those buds that are branching

stem for the bouquet

more aggressive you are with the depth of cutting

first buds

bushed out a lot more

other little tip I would say

old videos

this year to last year

only going into my third year

did in mason jars

cumbersome getting to

predominately f

now I need to add

where are they

45 min drive

right outside Louisville KY

have a CSA pickup

Jasper ID

drop spots

what I have discovered

wrapping bouquets in paper

I think they look better

sticker with our logo on it

we just get

what’s the paper called

forget the name of it

something you can buy at Lowes

you can fit a lot more bouquets in a van

jars are cumbersome

masking paper

tan paper you can pick up at lows

wrap the bouquets


customers like it better to

farmer’s market

where are they going to put

he’s the backbone

he’s been farming for 12 years

when we met he was a professional skate

Tell us a little about yourself.

We, Larry & Michelle Lesher, are going into our 13th season farming. Larry was a professional skateboarder before farming and Michelle was a student. Both of us grew up in Louisville KY as city kids…never really planted any food of our own to grow. Michelle pursued a nursing degree at University of Louisville and realized she did not want to become a medicine dispensary and decided to get her masters degree in nutrition to empower people to heal themselves and prevent disease with diet and lifestyle. She was accepted into Basty Universities Masters in Science and Nutrition program and that was when we made the move to Seattle area in 2006. Larry decided before moving there that he wanted to learn more about growing food and had already been avoiding GMOs and eating organically for years. He understood the importance of knowing what happens to your food from the beginning to the end of the growth process. And this is how it all began.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Yeah, probably I grew up in the city

we really

when I went and interned in Seattle

one experience

owned a body piercing shop in Reno Nevada

total mess

planted sunflowers

at home

I saw the packet

that would be neat to see what they do

see them sprouting

they’re actually growing

always been into nature and hiking and being in the woods

sort of marvelous thing

totally unprepared for this experience

planting these 400 foot rows

planting everything!


head lettuce



this is like

I had no idea what I was doing

3 of us

2 planting

by the end of the day I thought I was gonna day,

Michelle’s like what happened

I worked all day

about to die

are you gonna be able to do this

I’m the chattily strong person

the first week


got those muscles into shape

ever since then

first time I went to farmer’s market

this was the moment I knew there was nothing else I could do anymore


literally got goosebumps

ever since then this is all

hard worker

couldn’t find

that thing that was his purpose

In 2006 Larry interned on a farm in Carnation WA outside of Seattle. It was here that he realized the impact and responsibility that growing food for people really has. The concept of stewardship and the exchange of service between plants, farmers and the community.

never understood the bible

eastward and eden

the first gardener was god

a lot of people don’t think about this


who’s job was to tend to the garden