“Meet the Vendor” Barb Rietscha, Owner of Stow Greenhouses

Tell us a little about your business

Stow Greenhouses is a farmer-florist business operating on our 14 acre cut-flower farm. We’re 30 miles west of Boston in Stow, MA. We grow over a hundred varieties of flowers using sustainable farming practices and bring them daily to our customers at the Boston Public Market and area farmers’ markets. We also sell our flowers direct to florists and businesses as well as to several wholesalers. Our design studio works with brides and others to create fresh-from-the garden designs for weddings and celebrations.

What makes your business unique?

We specialize in heirloom and artisan varieties of flowers as well as garden favorites. Varieties include sunflowers, peonies, dahlias, chrysanthemums, sweet peas, zinnias, snapdragons and more! Our locally-grown flowers last longer in the vase because we cut and bring them to market within a day. Many of our flowers also have a wonderful fragrance. Another factor which sets us apart from other flower farmers in New England is our ability to grow year round in our 1-acre bio-mass heated greenhouse.

What is your personal favorite flower or item to sell?

My favorite changes every time we start cutting a new variety! We specialize in lilies, so they are always a favorite of mine. I’m also in love with dahlias, sweet peas and lupine.

What has been your biggest career accomplishment?

We bought the business in 2010 and when we bought it, it was primarily a wholesale business. Our goal has been to change so we can bring our flowers direct to the public. The Boston Public Market has been a large factor in allowing us to make this transition happen.

How has selling your product at the Market changed or enhanced your business?

The Boston Public Market has given us an outlet to sell our flowers year-round. It is interesting selling downtown because many people live in apartments and want houseplants and succulents so we have expanded that product line.

Do you use any special methods?

Our floral design studio business continues to grow. I am a certified florist, as well as a farmer, and love to work with brides to bring their vision to reality. I also have begun teaching classes and enjoy helping others learn to appreciate the beauty of flowers.

What is your favorite thing to buy at the Boston Public Market?

I love the greens at Corner Stalk Farm!

Where is your favorite place to travel?

When I first got out of college I was in the Peace Corps and served in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I spent three years there and taught farmers how to raise fish for an added source of protein for their diets. Africa remains one of my favorite places for travel.