In the rolling hills of the southern Quebec town of Frelighsburg, one local business continues to captivate the hearts—and senses—of all who discover it. Floramama Ferme Florale, a stunning flower farm set in the heart of the Eastern Townships, is known for its lush and vibrant blooms.
And the story behind it is arguably just as beautiful as the flowers themselves.
It began when Roy was just 11 years, when she moved from Montreal to a beautiful ancestral farm in Bedford, QC. Growing up in nature, she would often stash handfuls of dry hay in her backpack to smell in class whenever she missed the farm.
Roy was living in Frelighsburg at 19 when she had her first child, followed by her second at the age of 21 and third at 26. With three young children at home, Roy chose to be a stay-at-home mom while completing a program in sound engineering. A few years later, she met Maude-Hélène Desroches and Jean-Martin Fortier, owners of a small vegetable farm called Les Jardins de la Grelinette in St-Armand.
Admitting that she fell in love with the business and the people who worked there, she spent two seasons working with Desroches (Fortier was writing his bestselling book The Market Gardener at the time) before deciding to start her own small farm.
I wanted to stand out with an innovative project. I came across a small, alternative American organic gardening journal that devoted an entire section to growing cut flowers in each of its issues. – Chloé Roy
Roy wondered why local growers weren't incorporating this crop on their farms, and thought to herself: "Why grow vegetables when no one is growing flowers?" Recognizing there was no local or ecological alternative to the imported flower industry, she jumped at the opportunity to grow flowers, an innovative crop well known to consumers.
With very little money in her pocket, she launched Floramama as a small ecological flower farm in 2014. "It was an excellent business opportunity and I was able to create a job for myself in exceptional beauty," said Roy.
Roy partnered with her friend Raphaëlle Noirjean in 2017 to assist with the administrative side of the business, shifting her main focus to handling production. The farm's business model is structured the same as small organic vegetable farms—which she learned during her time with Desroches and Fortier—but a flower version.
The farm operates with a few important ideals in mind: short circuits, few or no intermediaries, proximity with the customers and the land, few upfront investments (the farm is hardly mechanized), and respect for the living world. Floramama distributes its flowers mainly through seasonal subscriptions, as well as in grocery stores (including all Avril supermarkets), at the Laurier farmer's market (every Thursday, 3-5 pm, from May to October), and via wholesale for corporate clients.
Frelighsburg is my adopted home, my heartland. I have lived here longer than in Montreal, where I was born. It's a good place to live because it's a village where people are dynamic, open-minded and creative, where nature is lush and the population is sensitive to environmental issues, where the climate is conducive to floriculture. – Chloé Roy
While planning for her book, Roy admitted that it was the people who really drove her to get it done. She feels connected to her customers by how interested they are not just in floriculture, but also in the company itself. "The curiosity behind the scenes of Floramama, a company built and operated 100% by women, is also very strong," she noted. Feeling touched by all the support in recent years, Roy felt a sincere desire to share the knowledge she has acquired over the past nine years by publishing a book.
Hoping to highlight the beauty of nature, the book is meant to inspire. "If even one person is moved by nature, to integrate the culture of living things into their life, I will have achieved my goal," Roy shared. The author wanted the information to be as accessible as possible so that it could be used as a reference for anything from a small garden to the creation of a flower farm. Obviously, flowers are a huge focus of the book, and are highlighted through the photography of Roy's partner, Stéphane Cocke.
Unsurprisingly, Roy revealed the most difficult part of writing the book was staying in front of her computer for more than a year and not being present with her team in the field. A close friend, Lena Guezennec—who has worked at Floramama for the past 5 years—stepped in to take care of production and team management for the past two seasons.
But it seems to have all been worth it. Even before the book hit shelves, Roy has been showered with praise. "Probably the most gratifying part was people's reactions when the book was announced. I honestly didn't expect such an enthusiastic response!"
In a world where the pace of life seems to move faster every day, Floramama is a reminder of the power of slowing down and connecting with the natural world. Always a farm girl at heart, Roy remains forever proud to be a Montrealer, particularly of the city's artistic creativity, innovation and audacity.
Grab a signed copy of Floramama, Du jardin au bouquet : tout sur la culture des fleurs on pre-sale via the company's website. It will be available in bookstores across Quebec as of May 9th.