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A handful of joy

Updated: May 31

In 2020 Alex and Rachel Hogeveen were enjoying country life at their home on the corner of Thompson Rd. and County Line. They decided they would grow a small sunflower patch-about 10,000 seeds - on their property and run a flower stand at the end of their driveway. The support was so good that they decided they would expand in 2021 and grow they did. Not only did they expand their sunflower patch to three times its size but they decided to add zinnias to the mix as well. That Fall they brought in planters from a local greenhouse to also sell.

The year 2021 saw them make a big change when the opportunity arose for them to purchase a farm just outside Waterford. “We were nervous and excited and quickly got together a plan of what our business model would look like. Rachel’s parents have a background in greenhouses and so we came to the decision to put up a greenhouse and grow planters and hanging baskets” states Alex. “We tested out the waters of selling planters in the fall that we brought in and it was a success so we solidified that plan”.

Alex was kept busy over winter 2022 putting up a three bay, gutter connect greenhouse which gave them 7,000 square feet of growing space. There were many frustrations and weather delays but they persevered and finished the greenhouse in early March. First plants were ordered that March break, arrived the following week and they were well on their way.

The year 2023 saw more growth with more varieties of cut flowers, they doubled the amount of mums they grew and weddings were added to the mix. Their sunflower crop was increased to about 80,000 seeds …about 4 acres of sunflowers. “Traffic continued to pick up at our new farm location on Highway 24 …it brought on so much excitement for expansion in 2024” adds Alex. This year they are adding Ranunculus, Anemone, Lisianthus and a small amount of Dahlias.

Alex adds “2024 is starting off strong with our first ever tulip crop in the ground and in crates along with many more cut flowers to be grown in time for Mother’s Day. I’m not going to share all of our secrets for 2024…you’ll just have to wait to follow along to find out”.

When it came to naming their new business venture it wasn’t too hard. “We saw the joy that sunflowers brought our customers. They bring a bit of happiness to everybody”. So fit was only fitting that they chose Handful of Joy as the name of their business.

Rachel is putting her creativity to use as they now offer wedding flowers, funeral arrangements, Mother’s Day bouquet/ late Spring subscriptions, and even delivery. With 4 delivery dates you can use the bouquets to spruce up your home or office with flowers that will be fresh every two weeks – May 11th., May 23rd., June 6th. and June 20th. Their delivery service covers a wide area and more info and details on this new service can be found by looking them up on Facebook (Handful of Joy) or Instagram @handfulofjoynorfolk. Rachel added that it was easy to come up with a name for their venture. “Flowers bring joy and they’re such a feel- good experience. They bring a bit of happiness to everybody. There’s really not any bad combination of flowers. I’m really excited about working with black and deep red and white, pastel pinks, blues and Peach fuzz – the color of the year”.

The couple receive a lot of help from their families. Alex’s Dad loves working in the garden and is only about 15 minutes away. “Reliable help is hard to find. Our parents have helped us so much and they are a wealth of knowledge”. The help is certainly needed as the greenhouse operation is a sun up to sundown job. ”We’re out here working basically from the time we wake til we go to bed. The kids love hanging out and playing in the greenhouse and the dirt pile. It’s a life style we love”.

The greenhouse typically opens the last week of April or the first week of May (depending on the weather) and will be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm, Fridays 8am to 6 pm and closed Sundays. The roadside stand is open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.

A flower ‘fix’ is welcome any time and a visit to their greenhouse (once open) will be sure to satisfy and brighten anyone’s day. Be sure to stop at their stand. Flowers always bring a smile to the face! 


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