by Laura Houk
June 20, 2023
Moonflower Farms is a unique u-pick flower experience, and it all began as an effort to honor my family who paved the way before me. When my parents, Ralph and Ruth Patterson, passed away a few years ago, my husband Eddie and I inherited half of their 40 acre property, located on beautiful Sand Mountain. It was important to me that we utilize this land in a meaningful way, and somehow pay tribute to both my parents and my maternal grandparents who had all farmed this land. As we began to discuss what we wanted to do with our property, a concept began to take shape, an idea for a place where families could gather and enjoy a space of community and creativity.
Despite growing up on a farm, I had very little cultivating experience beyond my childhood. Eddie was born and raised in the city, so his experience was even more limited than mine. However, neither of us are strangers to hard work, so we began to study and research, and as the result of a great deal of trial and error, we opened the area’s first u-pick flower farm in the summer of 2021. Since then, the farm has grown to become a popular spot not only for locals, but for visitors all over the southeast. Each spring our field is full of beautiful tulips. In the summer months, guests will find popular annuals such as zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias, celosia, strawflowers, cosmos, amaranth, giant marigolds, and a large wildflower field.
It truly makes our hearts happy to see our guests strolling among the rows to pick their own bouquets. People of all ages seem to enjoy the opportunity to spend time outdoors among beautiful flowers. The field is also a popular place for local photographers who stage photo shoots on the property. In the spring of 2022, we added a gift shop on site which features items such as t-shirts, hats, jewelry, candles, children’s toys, and local soaps and lotions. The barn porch is a gathering place for special events such as painting classes, birthday parties and family gatherings. In March 2023, we hosted a free vendor event called Moonflower Market, so local craftsmen and business owners could set up booths and sell their products. This was a huge success and will now become a regular event.
Most importantly, the farm allows us an opportunity to give back to a community that is so special to us. We have hosted groups of special needs adults and have welcomed beautiful ladies from a local drug treatment facility. At the end of each season, students from local schools are invited to come pick all remaining flowers in the field free of charge and take them to local nursing homes and senior care facilities. There truly is joy and healing in flowers, and we love to share that with others.
The name Moonflower Farms is a tribute to my parents, who always had moonflower vines wrapped around the railings on their front porch. Many evenings, they would call and ask us to come sit on the porch and look at the moonflowers. It is our hope that Moonflower Farms will be that kind of welcoming place, where families and friends can relax, spend time together, and enjoy the beauty of locally grown flowers.
During the summer season from July through September, Moonflower Farms is open Thursday evenings from 5:00-8:00 p.m., Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00-5:00 p.m. We are also open by appointment for large groups. You can find us on the web at www.moonfloweralabama.com. We also have a very active presence on Facebook and Instagram. Come visit us this summer at 948 County Road 112, Fort Payne, Alabama 35968. To reach us by phone, dial (256) 717-8792.