ORLEANS — Ever since she was in middle school, Ashley Kreutzer wanted to have a farm with the boy who would become her husband.
Her dream has come true, but the type of farm is a little different from what she imagined.
After graduating in family studies from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Ashley had married this college boy, Jonathan. The couple soon had their first son, Casen. Her dream of living on a farm with Jonathan came true when they moved to their farmhouse in rural Harlan County in 2017.
Ashley chose to be a stay-at-home mom after having Casen, but she still wanted to do something for herself. She had a craft business with her mother, but the Kreutzers soon had two little boys and twins on the way.
“Raising kids and not having your own thing is hard enough. After we had Sawyer and I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was like, ‘I have to find something that I love,’” she said.
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Before moving, Jonathan often bought Ashley flowers and created bouquets for her. But with few options for buying flowers in their area, the bouquets became fewer and fewer. When she discovered Floret Flower Farm on Instagram, she became obsessed. Jonathan thought their farm would be a place to raise cattle, but Ashley had another idea.
She pitched the idea of a flower farm to her husband, and he thought it was a perfect idea for them.
“For people here, they don’t want to drive that far. Some people don’t even go to Phelps County,” Kreutzer explained.
The Kreutzers named their farm Iris Creek Flower Farm because of the road they live on and the creek that runs behind their home. They started by starting all the flowers from seed in their kitchen and basement in February 2020. They announced their new business on social media and created a business page for Iris Creek. The farm offers fresh flower subscriptions which can be delivered on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Customers can also participate in U-pick, where they come to the farm to pick their own flowers and create bouquets.
They planned to have a slow start in 2020, but customer response has been overwhelming.
“We were going to slow down the first year because of COVID but there was so much. They wanted subscriptions. They wanted flowers. We did pick-your-own. We did it all the first year,” Ashley said.
Ashley grows over 40 different flower varieties and tries about 10-15 new flowers each year. The flowers are usually all annuals, so each year it starts with a blank slate.
The couple were nervous about opening a business at the start of the pandemic, but it turned out to be the right time for them and their clients.
“We were so grateful because people weren’t as scared to be outside. We were able to socially distance everyone if we had a pick-your-own or something,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it affected us as much as other people. We were nervous as it was our first year, but it could have been so much worse.
Last year’s season started in February, with flowers available for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and continued through October. They have created bouquets for bridal showers, baby showers and even some weddings.
Ashley and Jonathan welcomed their fifth baby, Ezra, into the family in December. With four young children and a newborn, they knew they couldn’t do as much this year. The 2022 season will run from July to October.
Ashley hopes to one day have a barn on their property to host parties and workshops. Using her creativity to brighten the lives of her clients is the best part of her job.
“I think that’s been my favorite part, is creating something beautiful for people. Especially this year of COVID. I think everyone was so scared and kinda depressed in some way, when they had flowers delivered out of the blue or just seeing them light up by something so simple was a great feeling,” she added.
Ashley always knew she would have a farm with Jonathan, even if it’s a little different from what she originally imagined.
“I remember telling my best friend that I was going to have a farm with him, but did I ever imagine a flower farm with five little kids running around? No,” she said, laughing.