Our farmers in Homer, Alaska are proud to produce the latest crop of American Grown peonies in North America. We work together to share knowledge and improve our product. We use sustainable farming practices to cultivate peonies along the coast and in the hills above Kachemak Bay. With farms distributed over a range of elevations, we have the longest harvest period in Alaska. We are often able to supply farm fresh flowers starting in late June into September depending on weather patterns.
Spek and Ina Jones are both children of families who homesteaded on the lower Kenai Peninsula before statehood. Their land is located close to the original Jones’ homestead near the head of Kachemak Bay. Spek and Ina’s farm is a family business. The ranch part of their business includes raising beef cattle, horses and hay. Farming is not new to the family, but peonies are a new endeavor. Their children, along with their families, live on the farm as well and are an integral part of the family business. Their grandchildren are learning the same values that Spek and Ina learned from their parents. These lessons include the satisfaction of a job well done and to understand that we are all stewards of the land. We farm the land in a manner that is sustainable, preserving the homestead for the next generation to come.
Learn more about how our farm contributes to the co-op via KTVA Frontiers with Rhonda McBride. Our latest addition to the homestead is the AK Dimond J Wedding Venue.
Mark and Jolie Rested added peonies to their homestead in the hills above Homer in 2013 and cultivate five varieites with the help of their children and oversight by their goats, chickens and horse. Their home on Diamond Ridge provides a late spring, cool nights, and maritime breeze. With care and perseverance they grow and harvest quality flowers, including whites and pinks.
Boni McNatt and her husband MG started their Peony farm in 2013 as she neared her retirement after 40 years as an Emergency Room RN. In contrast to the pace and stress of working in the ER, growing the most beautiful flowers in the world sounded wonderfully peaceful.
Two years after the farm began, honey bees were added to the farm’s operations. Six hives of bees tend 4000 peony plants each summer cleaning the sticky nectar from the buds. In return, Boni and MG get a portion of the honey for home and to share with friends.
The farm is located in the beautiful Hidden Hills at approximately 1000 ft elevation. With 19 cultivars of peonies having 180 degrees of south-facing exposure to the midnight sun, you can practically watch the plants grow as they stretch upward during our 18 hours days.
Carey Restino and Craig Matthews expanded their market garden vegetable farm with peonies in 2013 and have now become quite accustomed to a house filled with flowers each summer. Using growing techniques from their successful vegetable farm, such as home-made compost tea, they grow Alaska-size, sweet-smelling, vibrant varieties of white, pink and coral peonies that love our soil and endless summer sunshine.
The farm is a family affair, with Carey’s children Liam and Théa as well as Craig’s children and grandchildren joining the farm harvest team.
In 2015, they expanded their farm, purchasing 13 adacent acres and planting a new peony field, bringing their total number of plants to 2,500. They have also tried their hand at farm-fresh bouquets, which they sell at the farmer’s market and locally.
Located on the historic Kilcher Homestead, Charlotte and Otto Kilcher grow peonies along with their other farm and ranching operations. Otto was born and raised a homesteader and Charlotte joined him in the adventure 28 years ago in 1990.
The peony field was established in 2010. Having a modest 450 plants, Charlotte is able to manage the day-to-day work on her own, keeping it simple and hands-on. Otto’s contributions include ingenuity and precision, establishing the flower beds, having all the right equipment needed, along with being the best cheerleader and go-to fix-it guy for all farm problems. Yay team! Who wouldn’t love being surrounded by heavenly peonies all summer!
Tom and Sue Klinker’s Late Bloomer farm is a small, hand-tended, off-the-road-system peony farm. Tom runs a commercial salmon fishing boat. Sue works as a registered nurse. Their daughters and their children also help manage our farm nestled in the hills above Kachemak Bay, set in the middle of acres of breathtaking Alaska wildflowers. Their vehicles include wheelbarrows and 4-wheelers to get the buds to the coolers. The Klinkers have lived in Homer for 40 years and are excited to offer peonies available during July and into September.
Marie and Ron Bader, owners of Moss Island Farms, have an “urban” peony farm right in the heart of Homer. For 26 years the Bader’s have farmed oysters and mussels at their home in Peterson Bay, and have tilled their garden soils for decades more. Thus, a soil-based peony farm along with a marketing/delivery co-op fits right into their interests and energies.
For Vision and Don Money peonies are a delightful addition to their property. With just 1,000 roots in the ground they’re a real mom-and-pop operation. Vision tends the field and Don keeps all the equipment running. They are enjoying the challenge of being 21st century farmers; creating a harvestable crop, using local organic products, while merging naturally with the existing environment. Now in their fifth year, their field includes a wide variety of whites, blushes, corals and pinks.
Anha Iredale (ahnairedale.com) is an artist specializing in pottery who farms 10 varieties of peonies in hills above Homer. She employs organic methods in caring for her flowers. Ahna has a line of vases made for optimum display of peonies.
Margaret Johnson and Marianne Hooiser of Spit Sisters Farm cultivate eight varieties of peonies including classic favorites such as Duchess de Nemours, Nick Shaylor and Festiva Maxima and newer cultivares such as Lemon Chiffon and lavendar. They employ organic practices such as the planting of red clover between our rows, which provides a green manure to nurish the plants and attact beneficial insects.
Allison Gaylord started a garden at the age of four when a neighbor gifted her a few strawberry runners over the hedgerow. Her passion for growing veggies, fruits and flowers has become a lifelong endeavor shared with her family and farm interns. With more than 2,500 peony plants, the “garden” is officially a farm. Sustainability through the use of organic inputs, cover crops, compost, water recapture and beneficial insects are the foundation.