Gray Arbor Farm blooms with specialty-cut flowers
Written by Kathy Witt
From big box to bouquets, Chris and Kelly Stanley, owners of seasonal specialty-cut flower farm Gray Arbor Farm, traded in their power couple career in retail for life on a farm.
“We were so busy working that we really never saw each other,” recalls Kelly of the manic pace of working in big box retail. “Most of our conversations revolved around trying to coordinate our work schedules for our daughter and coordinate babysitters.”
Meanwhile, the two dreamt of owning land and fixing up a farmhouse. The idea of having their own homebased business eventually took root and, in 2016, the Stanleys found their farm and farmhouse 10 minutes outside of downtown Georgetown. Having always shared a love of working in their gardens as a family, the couple naturally gravitated toward growing flowers.
“We looked at a lot of different properties but when we saw this little farm for the first time, we just knew this was the place. We are close to I-64, which makes getting to Lexington easy. It takes no time to get to the Farmers Markets and dropping off flowers to The Hidden Trove or honey to Maime’s Fine Wine and Gifts in downtown Georgetown is a breeze!
“I also love that even though we are so close to town, once you are at the farm, you feel like you are away from town and in the country,” Kelly added. “It is the best of both worlds, plus Georgetown is truly the best community – we are so lucky to be a part of it.”
A flurry of fixer-upper activity and flower testing followed and by, 2018, the Kentucky Proud member was ready for its first season in full production. Today, Gray Arbor Farm offers flowers – all grown using organic principles and harvested at their peak – for wholesale, retail, weddings and DIY buckets.
The farm is famous for its wrapped bouquets sold at the Georgetown/Scott County Farmers Market. Two sizes are offered: Classic and Premium.
“Once we get further into the season and I have more material to work with, we offer additional wrap bouquet sizes that are available for front porch pickup,” said Kelly.
The bouquets are wrapped in kraft paper, stamped with the Gray Arbor Farm logo and tied with a twine bow.
“It is a simple presentation,” said Kelly. “But sometimes simple and sweet are all you need.”
The front porch pickup service was born out of the COVID pandemic.
“We had no idea if there would be a Farmers Market and there was no wholesale flower business – no events meant no reason for the event/wedding/retail florist to buy from us.”
After brainstorming with customers, Chris and Kelly launched contactless front porch pickups so that everyone who wanted their flowers could get them. A pre-order site was in place when the Farmers Markets returned as a way to limit contact and ever since, the front porch pickups have only gained in popularity.
Georgetown/Scott County has lots of Kentucky Proud member farms open for business, with flowers, produce, locally made jams and jellies, children’s play areas, delicious food for onsite lunches and picnics and more. See them, along with Georgetown’s many shops, restaurants and galleries and their updated hours, here.
On the Bucket list:
There’s nothing quite like a vase of beautiful and fragrant fresh-cut flowers in the summertime. With Gray Arbor Farm’s DIY buckets, you can fill your house with colorful blooms. The buckets generally fit about 50 to 60 stems, including greenery, and can be picked up at the farm or delivered for a fee.
“Summertime is when zinnias reign!” noted Kelly. “These cheerful blooms appear in all of our summertime creations. Later in the summer, dahlias make their dramatic entrance.”
• Best of the Farm Bucket – $60: A fun way to sample a lot of different in-season flowers, it features the very best flowers and greenery that Gray Arbor Farm has in bloom.
• Bucket Full of Color – $60: For those wanting a certain color scheme, the bucket will be filled with beautiful blooms in that color with greenery selected to complement it. (NOTE: If your color isn’t blooming, the farm will suggest complementary colors available.)
• Premium Bucket – $80: This bucket features your choice of colors along with some of the farm’s premium cut flowers such as ranunculus, lisianthus, lilies and dahlias. Premium flowers tend to have bigger blooms or are more delicate, so the stem count may be slightly less than with the other DIY buckets.
Author: Kathryn Witt
Kathryn Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Secret Cincinnati, The Secret of the Belles and Atlanta Georgia: A Photographic Portrait. A member of SATW, Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Books & Illustrators, she lives in northern Kentucky.