Cindy Bliss, of Zekiah Ridge Farm and Flowers in La Plata, Maryland, knows firsthand the impact of buying local – sales from her flower farm stand pay her grocery bill. So when the opportunity arose to purchase a local fertilizer that came recommended by other farmers, she was excited to give Bloom a go on her three-acre cut flower farm.

“Last year we had an issue with the local Beltsville soil; when it gets wet it turns into rock. It seems like Bloom has resolved that; everything is going, and growing, great now,” Cindy said. “I like to be self sufficient, and Bloom was something I could easily spread myself. It was a lifesaver when we couldn’t get the animal manure we were accustomed to using.”

Cindy used Bloom both in the hoop houses and fields, where it was incorporated, and disced and tilled in before putting down a row cover. Her fields are rainbow of perennials and annuals, including butterfly bush, dianthus, strawflower, lavender, peonies, ammi, zinnias, cosmos, daffodils, ranunculus celosia, dahlia, sunflowers, and fall mums.

Now in its fourth year of operations, Zekiah Ridge Farm sells its specialty flowers locally through a Saturday farmer’s market in La Plata; its own farm stand Friday to Sunday; and through a network of local stores, including Nick’s, Hancock Family Farms and soon, Oasis Grocery in Indian Head. The farm, which Cindy took over from her late father, also serves as a picturesque event venue for weddings and other occasions.

“When you support local businesses like mine, it makes a huge difference to the whole community. Much of the cut flowers on the market are imported from farms using heavy pesticides and downright unethical practices. Buying our flowers instead not only supports local agriculture, but also allows me to employ local labor and keep this land as green space in perpetuity,” said Cindy.