B-Side Farm sits on one colorful acre next to a small rushing creek in Sebastopol, West Sonoma County, California. We use organic methods to grow a wide variety of old-fashioned, fragrant flowers for use in our design studio and workshops. Full-service wedding design is our specialty, and by growing most of the flowers we use in our designs, we're invested in every aspect of the process from planting the seeds, to caring for and picking the flowers, to putting the finishing touches on the bridal bouquet before it's carried down the aisle (a favorite moment, every time).
On-farm classes and workshops offer chances for the public to come out to the farm and get their hands dirty. We host workshops on all aspects of flower gardening and floral design - from centerpieces for the kitchen table, to elevated arrangements for special events, to crash courses in flower farming. If you don't see the class of your dreams or you want to schedule a semi-private workshop with a group of friends, just let us know!
Lennie Larkin started B-Side Farm after falling head over heels for flowers. She came to farming and flowers from a background in adult education. Naturally, B-Side Farm has quickly become an educational farm where Lennie not only grows and designs with flowers, but teaches others how she's doing what she's doing. B-Side Farm workshops are designed to meet every student where they're at and encourage them to dive a little deeper into the world of flowers - whether in the garden or design studio. The B-Side Blog is a growing resource for both of these arenas.
Before staring B-Side, Lennie spent two years at the UCSC Farm and Garden, and then moved on to run the educational farm at Petaluma Bounty where she taught the public to grow crops for the local community for three seasons. Before that (in what feels like a past life) she worked in refugee resettlement in her hometown of Boston, translated a novel in Brazil, and took advantage of her final season NOT farming by hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Lennie has now calmed the wanderlust and settled happily in Sonoma County where she runs the farm, is the West Coast Director for the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, and teaches flower farming and horticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College.
When not farming, designing or teaching, Lennie also writes about flowers, farming and sustainability for the B-Side Blog, Grab 'n Grow, The Cut Flower Quarterly, and Sunset.com.
Lennie is an active player in the local flower movement, and is honored to be featured at the following workshops and conferences:
How To Build A Farm: Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Conference, San Jose, CA - March 23, 2015
Getting Started With Cut Flowers For Bouquets: Petaluma Bounty, Petaluma CA - August 27, 2016
Bridal Bouquet Workshop: CRAFT at Fly Girl Farm, Pescadero, CA - September 30, 2016
Getting The Most of of Year 2 As As Farmer/Florist: Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Conference, Grand Rapids, MI - November 4, 2016
B-Side Farm and The Local Flower Network: Women In Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Portland, OR - December 1, 2016
Specialty Flower For Floral Design: Oregon Small Farms Conference, Corvallis, OR, February 18, 2016
What is your typical price range for a wedding?
Our favorite price range for florals, the sweet spot where out work can really shine, is between $7k - $15k. We do have a minimum of $7k unless yours is a truly small, intimate wedding (just your favorite 75 guests).
Do you travel for weddings?
While we're located in the green, wine-soaked heart of Sonoma County, we frequently travel north to Mendocino, down to Marin County, further south San Francisco and Big Sur, and over to Napa County. These areas are standard practice. Beyond that, please inquire as it's been known to happen.
Do you grow all of your own flowers?
Each year on the farm is a little different. There are some flowers we grow every year - dahlias and ranunculus and now garden roses (hallelujah!), to name a few. But there are some where we take a year off, or where mother nature makes the decision for us. For these reasons, we've developed close ties with other local farmers and we source flowers from them frequently. If your wedding calls for that perfect white anemone and we don't have it, we'll find it for you! In rare instances we travel down over the bridge to the SF Flower Mart to source other domestic flowers. *Stay tuned 2019 brides as we just planted rows of luscious peonies, with your name on them!
How many weddings do you do in a weekend?
Our model is small and intimate. We limit to just one to two weddings per weekend. Sorry/ not sorry.
Do you provide flowers for DIY weddings?
We don't provide stand alone bulk buckets for weddings. However, we fully support the DIY couple and want to help you make your wedding everything it should be. We offer DIY wedding workshops, one-on-one tutorials, and occasionally offer a la carte wedding bouquets and arrangements with extra buckets of flowers to accompany (with a minimum of $1,500 for the latter). Inquire about any and all of this.
Do you offer pick-up for wedding flowers?
If your wedding is a simple one (IE no arches, chandeliers, or other acrobatics) we occasionally offer on-farm pickup to save you the money from our set-up fee. Ask us!
Can I come visit the farm?
We're so busy most of the time that we just can't accommodate random drop-ins. If we're doing your wedding, worked with you in the past, or you've attended one of our workshops, drop us a line and we'll make it happen. For everyone else, please check out our workshops page or inquire to schedule a tour.
I'm getting married soon and want to bring my bridesmaids to the farm. Do you do this?
Hosting wedding parties for champagne-soaked afternoon getaways in the sun or floral workshops is a fun option - reach out!
Where is your farm and studio located?
We're about 5 minutes from downtown Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California. We used to have another field in Petaluma as well.
Are you organic?
We grow using all organic and sustainable practices, and care about our soil and surrounding ecosystem more than just about anything.
What flowers do you grow?
Oh, man. We try to grow it all but it changes year to year. Check out our Pinterest page to get a sense of what's in store for this year!
Are you offering a flower CSA this year?
in 2017 we'll be offering just a small flower CSA for pickup in Sebastopol. Please send us an email to get on the list and we'll reach out in the spring.
The workshop I wanted is full, can I get on a waiting list?
You sure can. We use the waiting list in the case that we're able to open up the workshop to more attendees, and also to gauge interest in adding another worksop (which we have certainly done in the past). Let us know what you're excited about, and we'll do our best.
Do you offer private workshops?
We sure do. If you're getting married and you're dead set on doing your own flowers, reach out and we'll schedule a private lesson or two to get you up to speed. Or if you're looking for a special getaway birthday treat for that person in your life who is most at home in a garden, reach out. We can accommodate everything from private to small group sessions.
Do you offer refunds if I can't make a class?
Since we keep our classes so small and intimate, we really can't offer refunds. However we encourage you to gift your space in the workshop to a friend - while we're all special snowflakes, spots are completely transferable.
I was hoping for a class I don't see offered.
That's not really a question. But, let us know! Education is a primary goal around here and we'll work with you to develop a class for the future.
Do you offer flower deliveries?
As we're focused on the fields and on wedding design, we unfortunately can't accommodate one-off deliveries. If, however, you've worked with us in the past for a wedding or workshop, please reach out and we'd love to make it work!
Do you like receiving flowers after being surrounded by them all day every day?
Me? The farmer and florist? Why, yes! Could someone please tell my boyfriend?
Where is your farm, I can't find your address?
We're right near downtown Sebastopol, only 1.5 hrs from SF. If you're lost on your way to a meeting at the farm, call us at (617) 407-9272 and we'll help you out.
Why aren't local flowers cheaper than imported flowers?
Cheap labor overseas, harsh chemicals, mono-crops, the list goes on. Have you guys read Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart? Check it out. I promise, it's not even just for flower geeks. Also check out the Slow Flowers website - you won't believe what you'll learn.
Do you offer consulting for new flower farmers?
Oh yeah. Please get in touch and we'll send out a description of Lennie's consulting packages.
Do you accept volunteers on the farm?
Unfortunately we can't accommodate drop-in volunteers. If you're local and want to become a real part of the farm, reach out, you never know.
I want to be a flower farmer! Can I come hang out?
Cool! Your first step is to check out the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. It's amazing. Beyond that, please reach out for our consulting package and we'd love to help get you started.
Why the name B-Side?
Much like the B-Side of a record, many of the flowers we grow are undiscovered gems. Often forgotten, overlooked for their bright and shiny counterparts. We're bringing back the lost ones.