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Check Out Renee Whinnery’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Whinnery. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Spokane WA and came to Ohio via The Ohio State University to study Animal Sciences. After I moved to Coshocton County I gardened for fun. I loved watching plants grow from see and change over the season. I was obsessed with trialing different varieties and species of vegetables and then a few years later, flowers. The first few years the flowers were cut and brought into my own home for decoration. In the late summer of 2017, I posted a picture of one of my bouquets that I had just finished, and a friend offered to buy it. I was blown away, I had never considered growing flowers for profit, but a small flame was lit. I started reading and researching flower farms and methods to grow row crop flowers. By early 2020 I had branded the farm as Golden Sky and dove head first into flower farming. Every year I have grown more and more flowers and I can’t wait for each season! The Coshocton community has been so supportive and welcoming, I could not ask for a better place to grow a business. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Nothing about farming is smooth. I have decided that it take three years to finally grow a new type of flower successfully. The first year you do somewhat decent, you get a little confidence and you decide to grow it again. The second year everything falls apart and you bomb the crop, you consider never growing this type of flower ever again. Then finally, in the third year, you take all the learnings and grow a successful crop. The biggest challenge is mother nature, she can ruin a crop with one windstorm or bless you with a stellar year. I believe that every failure is a learning opportunity, every bloom I get is something to be celebrated. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I focus on growing specialty cut flowers. I want my customers to see flowers that they would not typically find in a grocery store bouquet. A huge percentage of flowers that are purchased in the United States travel from South America or Africa, and only certain varieties can handle being shipped that far, these are not the flowers I grow. Additionally, the flowers grown are not a part of my landscaping, but in rows like a typical farm crop. The focus is not to create a beautiful space for me, but to create beauty for my customers to bring into their homes. I love seeing people’s reactions each week to my bouquets, the small details they find beauty it. No two bouquets will be the same and no two weeks will produce the same flower mix. 

What was your favorite childhood memory?
Every year growing up my family would go to the Spokane County Interstate Fair. We would spend hours wondering around looking at the beauty that the surrounding communities brought; animals, vegetables, flowers (especially the dahlias!). I was not raised a farm girl so I always found awe in that people could grow all these things. There was nothing I loved more than the mid-September nights walking around the fairgrounds with my family until late, the air feels magic at a good county fair. Now as an adult I enter in every class I can at our county fair because I believe a full barn in a beautiful barn! 

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