The local food market in Alaska is well established. But there’s a quieter movement gaining momentum in Alaska agriculture: flowers. Peonies make up the largest share of flower farming in the state, and they’re exported around the world. And at Anchorage farmers markets zinnias, sunflowers and dahlias have moved in alongside the kale and potatoes. Anchorage Daily News Columnist Julia O’Malley visited a dahlia farmer in Palmer and has this story:
Rob Wells talks about his dahlias the way some people talk about ships or impressive storms, using the female pronoun and a tone of reverence.
“Dahlias express themselves in so many different ways,” he said Wednesday as I followed him through his greenhouse near Hatcher Pass. “Size, form, shape.”
There were 200 plants in our immediate view, each 4- or 5-feet tall, with a psychedelic array of blooms. The blossoms ranged in color from creamsicle orange to merlot to luminous white. Some flowers were huge, as wide as 10 inches, others took a round form the size of a tennis ball. I wrote plant names in my notebook: “Totally tangerine,” “Vanquisha,” “Candlelight,” “Edge of joy.”