The farmer behind the flowers &
the women behind the farmer
Hello and welcome to Periwinkle Flower Farm. My name is Michelle Kenstler and I’m the owner, dreamer, farmer, photographer & designer here.
Each Periwinkle Farm bouquet represents my lifelong passion for flowers. I’m a country girl and come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family. I have vivid memories of paging through fresh batches of seed catalogs every spring before the words meant anything to me. Those pictures…anything and everything seemed possible! Nature was every bit as magical as any fairy tale to my young eyes and remains that way to me still.
In my childhood, flowers were a constant. My mom and I would seek out new additions to her perennial and dahlia collection each year and gradually expand the garden’s footprint. No walk was complete without a handful of wild posies to bring home. The spring blooming of grape hyacinths in the back woods was a highly anticipated event! The annual trek to the spring flower show at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh was practically sacred. My next door neighbor and honorary grandma, Virginia, had a home-based floral design business and was always busy tending her cutting gardens or foraging for wild flowers and seed pods to dry.
Summer weekend visits to my grandparents’ farm dazzled me with all the bedding plants and hanging baskets my grandma and aunt were growing and selling at their roadside stand. And when my other grandma wasn’t tending her flower gardens, she was cataloging in albums all the photos of flowers she had grown or discovered in her travels. We regularly paged through those albums, discussing the details of each flower and I never realized that this wasn’t something everyone documented when they took a vacation. These magical women trained my eye to see life blooming around me everywhere I went. As a child, I took it for granted, this gift, but now realize what a treasure it is.
Life took me in many directions and to other states, but a love of growing brought me back to Pennsylvania and back to farming. I officially started my own farming career as an apprentice on an organic CSA farm in Kutztown, PA in 2009. After spending eight years working on and managing various vegetable, fruit and flower farms in eastern PA and two years spent purchasing, designing and merchandising for a local floral retailer, my love of flowers gradually won out. 2018 brought the opportunity to start my own floral growing and design business, Periwinkle Flower Farm. My grandmas and my lovely florist neighbor, Virginia, are gone now, but, thankfully, my dear flower-loving mama is still with me. It is such a deep joy to share this next chapter with her. Not a day goes by in the flowers that I don’t think of all of these dear ladies with so much gratitude. I hope that they would be proud of their legacy.
The partner beside the farmer
My husband Andy has been a steady supporter of this farming life. As a professional writer, teacher, bicycle mechanic/ frame builder and antique motorcycle restoration guru, he shares a passion for creativity, nature, beauty and design. His mechanical skills and creative problem solving are always a welcome contribution. He is a dreamer and a doer, avidly supporting my farming dreams and lending a hand whenever possible.
Periwinkle Flower Farm would only be an idea without Andy.
Periwinkle Flower Farm is pretty tiny when compared to most flower farms. With just a 1/4 acre, I use organic, small space intensive methods to grow thousands of stems of unusual and beautiful flowers. Scented blooms that you can bury your nose into. Unusual textures that beg to be touched. Because every stem is grown with organic methods, you and your children can do this with peace of mind. Birds, bees, grown ups & kids…we can all revel in the beauty together. If you’re in our neck of the woods sometime, stop by and say hi!
Why buy local?
It’s an important question with a surprisingly important answer…click here to read about how our flower choices have a real impact on our world.