When a California couple arrived in Colorado to pursue their farming dreams, they didn’t foresee their success would smell so sweet…
By Jen Murphy
People want their jeans to be made in America and their food to be local and organic, but what about their flowers? “Walk into any grocery store or flower shop in the U.S. and 80 percent of the flowers are grown outside of the country,” says Don Lareau, co-owner of Zephyros Farm and Garden in Paonia, a hidden gem of a town on Colorado’s Western Slope. “You have no idea if they are covered in pesticides, but people don’t think twice about putting them to their face.” Lareau and his wife, Daphne Yannakakis, are crusaders in the local flower movement. Their certified organic, 35-acre farm grows over 1,000 varieties of woody and herbaceous perennials, annuals and bulbs.
The couple eventually sold their animals, scaled back their heirloom vegetables and amped up their flower farming. Today, Zephyros Garden and Farm grows nearly every flower you can imagine, from globe thistles and peonies, to nearly 100 varieties of dahlia, Yannakasis’ favorite flower. Last spring, the couple launched Studio Z, a floral design business.