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Meet the Maker: Euclid Farms

We are so excited to welcome Euclid Farms to our collection of local blooms! We sat down with Shannon Whelan, the owner and founder of Euclid Farms to talk about all things florals and urban flower farming! Growing in 11 residential and commercial yards in Toronto’s West End, their unique dried floral bouquets found on our market are delicate and have an everlasting beauty. Read on to learn more about this amazing local gem!

Fresh City: How did Euclid Farms start? Take us back to where it all started!

Shannon Whelan: Euclid Farms started as a small scale urban flower farm and has blossomed over the last four years into a full floral studio and storefront! It started as a hobby in my backyard and one neighbor's, and turned into a true passion project. A good friend told me to put my dream out into the atmosphere in August 2017 so I made it 'official' by creating an Instagram account August 31 2017. I was managing a full time career in the arts and a mini business on the was a lot! I decided to go part time at my full time job in January of 2020 and then the pandemic hit and I was basically out of work!

However, the need for flowers was growing at the same time, so I threw myself full time into EF to see where it could take me. The business exploded and needed to move out of my apartment, we needed more space! While I was only looking for a warehouse type space, we found a shop and fell in love. That was the scariest thing, going from an Instagram business into a full blown shop on Queen Street. I crunched the numbers and signed a lease in the middle of the pandemic. We opened our shop to the public October 2020 and haven't looked back since!

FC: Shannon, can you tell us how you got into dried florals? What do you look for when arranging a dried bouquet?

SW: I got interested in dried florals because I hate waste! The amount of flowers that get tossed at the end of a week at floral shops because they didn't sell, or after large events just seemed incredibly wasteful and not financially sound. We would work hard all week harvesting and arranging bouquets for a market and if it rained on market day, nothing would sell. I just couldn't throw these bouquets in the green bin, especially since I had grown them for MONTHS, from seed to flower. I just couldn't do it. So we started hanging everything. We experimented with which florals looked cool fresh and dried and started only growing varieties that had a shelf life at both stages. We love using a lot of dried grasses in our dried bouquets because they create such different textures. Some grasses that grow in Ontario, if left all winter outdoors and harvested in the spring, become bleached from the sun. They become these beachy, boho, sun burnt beauties (hard to imagine in Ontario Winters)! Seed pods are also very cool. Some flowers such as scabiosa, lunaria and poppies are even more interesting after they've bloomed!

FC: Why do you love dried arrangements?

SW: I love working with dried flowers because flowers shouldn't have to be only enjoyed fresh! Appreciating all plants and botanicals at different stages gives you such a different appreciation for nature and how lucky we are to experience four changing seasons in Ontario. In the middle of February I sometimes wish I didn't live in Ontario because it is so cold BUT our changing season allows us to grow so many types of botanicals that other climates cannot and that is something to be celebrated.

FC: Fresh City will be carrying your dried floral bouquets, can you tell us a little about them and the blooms that you've selected for us?

SW: The blooms selected for Fresh City will change regularly. They will feature a mix of grasses, seed pods, herbs and flowers, each bouquet is unique and different! Every stem we used in our Fresh City bouquets will be either grown by us at Euclid Farms or are from another Ontario farm but dried by us. 

FC: Our passion for sustainability is a common thread between our two brands, can you share a bit about Euclid's sustainability practices?

SW: We work very hard to grow our florals without the use of chemicals and pesticides, which is so much better for our planet. We use natural methods to help keep bugs and pests away while celebrating all the pollinators that visit our farm daily.  Outside of our small summer growing window, our floral shop supports other local growers and imports florals when necessary. Our bouquets are wrapped in paper, are floral foam free, and we recycle our vases. Eliminating unnecessary waste is something we care greatly about.

FC: Can you share some information on how you source your florals? Are there any specific Ontario growers or regions we should note?

SW: In addition to what we grow in our 11 micro-farms in Toronto's West End, we source Ontario-grown florals from other flower farmers who wholesale directly to florists. We are so fortunate that the local flower and food movement is alive and well in Ontario and that we have access to such exceptionally grown products in our province. We supplement what we grow ourselves with flowers from a local flower collective all summer long. Through the collective, we are able to shop from other small-scale growers who practice the same sustainable growing methods we respect and adhere to. One grower, Palatine Fruit and Roses, delivers incredible Ontario-grown roses to us each week AND peaches and cherries! 

You can find Euclid Farms on Instagram and shop their beautiful dried floral boquets on our market!

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