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In Bloom

Petals Farm owner Thanh Luu ditches chemicals for greener bouquets

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Thanh Luu, owner of Petals Farm in West Kingston, moved to Rhode Island in 2013. She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do career-wise but was sure of her care for the environment. That summer, she decided to grow mostly veggies and two beds of flowers on a small piece of land. During her second year she dedicated half the land to flowers, and soon realized that that was where her grower’s heart was. From Petals Farm, where she grows tens of thousands of specialty plants on an acre plot of land, Luu is devoted to keeping every stage of the growing process au natural. “Every single year just confirms that I’m meant to be growing flowers,” she says.

What drives her is a chance to connect customers to growing practices and to the people growing the flowers we buy. “As a consumer, we go out and buy flowers and don’t really understand what’s behind it, you just connect with the person behind the counter. I want to focus on building that connection between the consumer and the process in the field.”

This is Luu’s fifth season of growing, and within that time she has amassed a following of customers who appreciate the love and work that goes into farming without the aid of harmful sprays, which can ease the growing process but do so at the expense of workers’ and consumers’ health. Considering that much of the cut-flower industry uses chemicals that require workers to wear masks and body suits, Luu decided, “to make sure that me and my workers are surrounded by safe products and that they are exposed fully and purely to the crop and not having to be covered in another layer.” The flowers they grow are healthy, beautiful, and safe for consumers to smell or eat as long as they’re naturally non-poisonous. “I know that if I’m going to sell something that I want to convey and encourage joy and happiness, I want it to be a pure product.”

Her dedication to natural growing doesn’t come without its losses, but Luu is understanding. For her, it’s all about bringing it back to the basics and utilizing her land as efficiently as possible. “It’s a lot of work, but I don’t regret one bit. I don’t complain one bit, I love it. It’s been a great journey and I want to keep going with it.” West Kingston