Name: Fred Clarke, General Manager
Company Name: The Flower Fields
Type of Business: The Flower Fields is 50-acre of beautiful and colorful flowers set on a hillside that overlooks the striking Carlsbad, California coastline. With venues to enjoy live music and additional special events, there is something for everyone and every occasion.
Founded: Early 1920s
How did you and your organization respond to COVID-19? How did you pivot or reimagine your business or mission?
Overall, we stayed with what we knew in providing an exceptional outdoor experience for guests. From operations to marketing to our ticketing system, we worked together, as a team, to create an enjoyable, safe experience during our 10-week season for visitors. We spent a lot of time researching and staying up to date with the latest changes within state and local guidelines through the tiered system.
Through our new online ticket-only system, we managed the flow and levels of guests onsite. Our slogan “Bloom On” carried and inspired our entire team throughout the season as we continued to welcome guests in a post-pandemic world.
During this season, we were also able to implement a few new offerings, including our U-Pick Blueberry Patch and the online sales of our flower bouquets.
Our blueberry patch is an almost 2-acre patch of blueberries located at the top of our fields. Guests were able to pick their blueberries for just $5 per basket. The blueberries are delicious, sweet and a perfect addition to any flower field visit.
For the first time, we offered fans of The Flower Fields near and far the ability to order hand-picked flowers right from our farm and have them delivered right to their homes.
What was a difficult point for your organization during the pandemic?
The most challenging point for our organization during the pandemic was not being able to offer our educational programs to local schools. Although we provided a much smaller scale to the charter and home school organizations, it was disappointing not to welcome the expansive number of schools and children as we do during a normal season. This program is very near and dear to our hearts, and we enjoy educating and sharing the world of flower growing and farming.
It was also difficult for us not to offer our special events such as the Sunset Wine Tasting and full-scale Tea in the Garden, Yoga & Flowers and more. We find that many visitors want and get excited about additional interactive experiences like these to enjoy from our famed Flower Fields.
What kept you hopeful?
Coming out of 2020 and being able to welcome guests again has been enough to keep us hopeful, optimistic, and excited about the future. We continue to be hopeful about expanding interest into our non-bloom season for options as an outdoor destination for weddings and events.
How are you handling the reopening? What are the biggest challenges? What did you see as your biggest opportunities in a post-pandemic world?
The biggest challenge was the unknown and how the county would open and how people would respond. One of our most significant opportunities was having a destination that was outdoors with freedom to roam around. Our biggest opportunity was having a mainly 100% outdoor destination where people could feel comfortable to come and melt their cares away under the Southern California sun amongst the glow of the bold ranunculus flowers.
What advice do you have for others?
The advice for others would be to be prepared, stay positive and work together as a team. Whatever business you may be in, remind each other why we do what we do for visitors to the San Diego area. For us, it was to allow our visitors to enjoy these 50 acres and the millions of bold ranunculus blooms full of color and vibrancy—and to BLOOM ON!
As we embark on the road to recovery, what is the one thing you are looking forward to doing (or have already done)?
In the near term, we are looking forward to welcoming events and weddings during our off-season. Outside of the 10-week blooming season of our flower fields, we have an expansive outdoor event space with beautiful gardens. For our 2022 season, we look forward to bringing back the same full-season experience.