I started Cross Street Flower Farm on less than an acre at my house in 2015. I hired a local horse farmer with a tractor to plow up my front yard with my husband, Scott, looking on in part shock. I am a self-taught gardener turned flower farmer and entrepreneur. I did not grow up farming, and if anyone had told me at age 15 that I’d start a flower farm, I would never have believed them.
My path to Cross Street Flower Farm is a long and twisting tale that starts with a Russian degree in undergraduate, followed by a short career in international banking in Boston, graduate work in nonprofit and Internal Studies in New York City, and then 8 years raising my 3 young boys. I am not a native New Englander. In fact, I grew up moving up and down the East Coast with my family for my dad’s job, never living in the same place for longer than 5 years and developing a serious wanderlust for traveling the world.
When Scott and I decided to leave Boston to raise our family in Norwell in 2006, I literally developed hives thinking about staying in one place for the next 20 years. But it turns out that setting roots is exactly what I needed, and the symbolism of the phrase "bloom where you are planted" could not be more fitting.
Once I settled in our new home in Norwell, I started a large garden, learned to raise chickens, planted apple and peach trees, started beekeeping, and read every book I could find about small scale farming and homesteading.
My interest in farming took center stage in 2010 when I helped to start and run Norwell Farms, a nonprofit community farm. Over the next 5 years, I learned how to build a farm from the ground up and set strong roots in the Norwell community.
When I turned 40 in 2014, ignoring all the naysayers and my own doubts, I finally followed my heart and apprenticed in the fields to learn how to farm. I was paid $9 an hour and have never been happier than I was as a member of the field crew spending long, hot summer days planting, harvesting and weeding the fields of vegetables. The only thing I felt was missing were flowers to bring some color to the fields and bouquets to the farm stand. I asked the farmer if I could grow flowers for him the next summer at the farm, and he said no, but if I grew them at my house, he’d certainly buy them from me.
That summer was a turning point for me, and I knew I had found my calling digging in the earth and creating something simple yet beautiful to share with the world. Cross Street Flower Farm was born later that winter with trays of cut flower seedlings overflowing from my dining room table onto the floor.
Five years out and the seasonal rhythms of farming have become very symbolic for me. The full circle metaphor continually shows up on the farm. It personally represents completing a full circle in my life and finally following my heart to a simpler, more intentional lifestyle. It signals the beginning and end of each day, the season's cycles, and the life of a flower from seed to bloom.
Farming has taught me so many lessons, but none greater than to have gratitude for the journey, and to be unafraid of the unexpected twists and turns life brings us. That’s where all the magic happens!
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you at the farm!
- Nikki Bartley
We believe in the values of hard work, dedication, gratitude, and respect for the land. However, we also each embrace our own deep and meaningful connection with the farm. We believe that one size does not fit all, in farming and in life.
We bravely face challenges head on and are constantly working to improve our flowers, our business, and each other. From refining our growing techniques to working the land in concert with nature, our small team works very hard everyday to grow the most outrageously beautiful blooms you've likely ever seen.