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The Growers Series: Longtime North Shore Grower Sadie Sigford Launches Cut Face Cuttings Flower CSA in Grand Marais

Feb 20, 2024 08:47AM ● By Content Editor
All photos provided.

By Kimberly J. Soenen for Boreal Community Media - February 20, 2024

Editor's note on The Growers Series: This interview with cut-flower grower Sadie Sigford is the first in an ongoing series of interviews and stories with Cook County farmers, growers, and food producers. 

KS: What is Cut Face Cuttings and why did you begin growing flowers?

SS: Cut Face Cuttings is the name of my farmer/florist operation, and began as an expansion of a small-scale farm I co-manage. In 2023, I focused my attention on flower farming and ramped up production. I provide flowers for a bouquet subscription CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), wholesale markets and events, and a weekly vending table at the local Grand Marais Farmers' Market. 

CSAs are a model where the customer purchases a subscription to the farm's product before the season starts. This commitment directly supports farms and gives farmers a better idea of what to grow and the quantities needed. Customers value the relationship with their farmers and knowing how the crops are grown. 

Cut Face Cuttings offers a variety of CSA subscription lengths including a four-week offering, an eight-week package, or once-a-month, so there is something for everyone. There is also an option to gift a CSA subscription to someone in Cook County!


KS: You also manage an organic vegetable farm in Grand Marais. What do you grow and why did you decide to include flowers?

SS: I joined my partner, Adam, in Cook County seven years ago, and he was already running a small farm which we affectionately call Down Time Farm (because it's anything but). I had prior growing experience, and together, we were able to put more fields under production. 

In previous years we had grown different types of flowers interplanted with vegetables. I would watch with anticipation as each plant budded and blossomed. It was so pleasing to see what each different flower looked like.

Adam created arrangements for individuals and businesses for several years and I thought I was content with that scale of flower farming until a few years ago when I visited a couple of large flower markets outside of Minnesota. At these markets, there was such an abundance of flowers with big blooms, long stems, endless different varieties, and swaths of varying colors and textures. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It looked so enjoyable to be surrounded by that beauty and I wanted to bring that feeling home to the farm.

From experience, I was nervous about how much time and energy farming demands and whether or not I would be able to recreate that richness in our short growing season. But I was very motivated and focused. 


KS: How many years have you been farming/growing? What are the most nourishing elements of the work and what are the most challenging?

SS: I have been growing in the Lake Superior region for ten years. One of the more nourishing elements of farming for me is practicing patience. Growing a flower like lisianthus that takes more than seven months from seed to bloom creates peace with the act of waiting that I don't experience too often. There's simply nothing you can do except start the seed, support that growth, and wait. Even when a problem arises, I do my best to troubleshoot or experiment to solve the issue, and then I am left to wait and see if it worked. 

The work of growing itself is challenging. There are unpredictable issues that arise and they change from season to season. It's physically demanding and buggy, but so worth it.


KS: You are a licensed midwife, a certified Birth Doula, and an EMT/First Responder in Cook County. You are also a talented cellist. How do those intensely intimate human practices and experiences form you as a person?

SS: My work in health care meets people at vulnerable times in their lives and requires me to be clear-headed, compassionate, and set myself aside. It has taught me to love other people and to take care of myself. It has strengthened values like community-mindedness and empathy and shared life lessons like autonomy in health care, clear communication, and teamwork. In some ways, farming is a break from the intensity of the field of health care. It's not like a vacation, but it is both meditative and restorative.


KS: Do you recall one or two instances where someone gave you flowers and it brightened your day or lifted your heart?

SS: I do, and years after the flowers have come and gone, I still feel fond of those instances. The act of giving flowers shows deliberate thoughtfulness and it's usually a surprise to the recipient. That's a stellar combination. I adore hearing how the flowers I've grown have made an impact. Last season, I was told stories of how my flowers were used in birthdays, weddings, memorials, as surprises for a loved one, to cheer up a neighbor, or as a gift for oneself. I found myself thinking of these stories again and again in the field on long workdays. Hearing tales of these events and the role the flowers played or the feelings they evoked, especially in our small community, was deeply fulfilling.


KS: You are beginning to grow flowers over the winter hydroponically. For those of us who do not have a background in chemistry or farming operations, how do you do it?

SS: I have been experimenting with forcing tulips hydroponically through the winter. Tulips grow from a bulb, which holds most of the energy the plant needs to grow. To simplify, the basic steps are that the bulb needs to be chilled for a certain number of weeks, allowed to root in conditions that simulate spring, and then it can be grown on with adequate lights and temperatures. Growing hydroponically has benefits because it is not messy, doesn't take up as much space, and can be done year-round in the right conditions. There's trial and error involved and different varieties have specific requirements. I would love to be able to offer a winter flower CSA in the future.  


KS: How will the Cut Face Cuttings CSA work and where can we find you this summer?

SS: I will be a vendor at the Thursday Grand Marais Farmers Market again this summer selling our bouquets, vegetables, and herbs.

Bouquet subscriptions can be ordered on the Cut Face Cuttings site at



Related: The Growers Series: David Abazs on Building a Viable Food Systems and Farming with Clean Energy in the Arrowhead

About the writer:

Kimberly J. Soenen writes from Grand Marais, Minnesota and Chicago. She specializes in the health humanities, healthcare and Public Health.


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