SEATTLE — In the Skagit Valley, nestled between an old barn and a little white church, lies a patch of sacred land. Here grow rows and rows of Dahlias, several thousand of them, with their bright and blooming faces pointing up toward the sunset.
"This is a very unique little slice of Washington," said Vivian Larson, owner of Everyday Flowers.
Almost shoulder deep in her precious Dahlias, Larson gathers her livelihood one stem at a time. It's a race to beat the sun to bed. From there, she places them in a bucket of water and then into a cooler until they go to market.
"I sleep in until three," Larson said with a laugh.
"The first staff member gets here at 4 am," Molly Sadowsky, Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market's market manager, said. "We start pulling product out of the coolers that we stored overnight, we load it all up on carts and start going through it. We display it and the growers start arriving with product for the floor."
Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market started seven years ago and has been growing ever since. That's a lot of early mornings.
"I'm not a morning person; coffee is my friend," Larson joked.
The fun began when a small group of farmers decided to form a co-op to pool their resources and sell fresh flowers where the skyscrapers grow.
"Our clients are mostly florists, retail florists and event florists. We have other business owners that use flowers for their businesses so we've got photographers that come in here, and interior designers and restaurants...things like that," said Sadowsky.
"I just came down here to get some stuff for our flower shop in West Seattle," said client Wendy Damoth, owner of Seattle Flower Lab.
All of the flowers brought in are seasonal and local, harvested by farmers who deeply care about the land and relationships with many of their buyers.
"Local flowers are fresher, you know a lot of what is on the floor today that I'm selling to customers was cut yesterday," said Larson.
"They are so proud of their product," said Damoth. "It's exciting to talk about it and then take that excitement back to my business and talk to my customers about it."
Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market is located in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood and is open to the public year-round on Fridays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM | 665 South Orcas Street, Seattle, WA 98108