“Visitors can expect to see a lot of dahlias,” Carolina Flowers owner Emily Copus says of her farm’s upcoming open house, Flowers and Clay. In fact, she notes, her business is one of the largest dahlia operations in North Carolina, with 8,000 plants in the farm’s largest field and many more spread over several smaller growing areas.
During the festivities, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21, Copus will lead small group tours of her Madison County operation at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. — additional times will be scheduled with sufficient interest. She will explain to visitors how the flower fields are managed for production, including the colors and varieties grown and techniques for keeping the long-stemmed flowers upright and healthy.
Plenty of time will be allowed for questions and chatting. “There is a dahlia for every imagination,” Copus says. “I’m happy to get as nerdy as they want, so if people want to talk about nutrition, weeding and maintenance, we can go there!”
And, of course, Flowers and Clay promises a good amount of pottery — the clay part of the equation refers to the wood-fired ceramics made by her husband, Josh Copus, at his studio and kiln facility, which will be the central staging area for the open house. Slated to recur annually, this inaugural event will serve as a belated grand opening for the joint operation, highlighting both products with a kiln opening (pottery sale) and studio tours plus a “stem bar” flower sale.
There will also be food. Pizza made in the couple’s wood-fire oven will be available throughout the afternoon and evening, although Emily notes that it will be “more of an atmospheric hors d’oeuvre” than a meal. For a full dinner, she suggests that guests plan a stop at one of Marshall’s eateries or bring a picnic to enjoy at the farm.
Flowers and Clay may be the best chance for locals to explore Carolina Flowers. Despite the scenic attraction of blooming flower fields among the mountains, agritourism is not on the immediate agenda for the business. “We’re a production farm, which means we’re managing our land to scale — or that’s the goal, anyway. Carolina Flowers exists to employ locals and make a case for sustainable, scalable agriculture in Western North Carolina,” Emily explains. “It’s not easy. But it’s exciting. Madison County is never going to be Iowa, but I believe this land of steep hillsides and grassy bottoms has something to offer economically. We’re discovering what it is.”
WHAT: Flowers and Clay
WHERE: Carolina Flowers and Josh Copus Pottery, 216 Ledford and Craine Road, Marshall. flowersandclay.com
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free.