Joan Jach is a remarkable urban flower farmer (Old Town Flowers) and we want you to know who amazing this maker/farmer is. Here at The Hop she provides us with flowers, body balms, teaches classes, and every once in a while a peach or two. Joan’s farm is located in Old Town Champaign and she lives there with her husband Jason, daughter Abby, two cats and a dog. Not only does she provide goods and services to the shop, she is our dear friend and confidant.
Hi Joan! You're a hyper local maker, tell us about your farm and how it came about.
Our farm is in our backyard which is about 5 blocks away from Hopscotch - we keep bees and chickens in our backyard, as well as grow flowers and veggies. It is about a quarter of an acre maybe a little bit smaller - it is a small space but we do a lot of farming in the backyard and there is a lot of diversity. I use the flowers and the herbs in my bodycare products and I sell the flowers as straight up bunches. Many flowers and herbs that I grow I turn into medicine and the body care products.
What does 'shop local' mean to you?
To me is a powerful statement about voting with your dollars. Being a farmer who has sold flowers and vegetables, when you buy from a farmer you know who is supplying your food and that the dollars are staying in your community. When you support a local business that money is reinvested when they go out and spend money in their community. It’s a power statement when you buy your veggies from a local produce or flower farmer instead of going to Walmart and buying a flower arrangement. It's about knowing you are supporting a real live person and you can meet them - that's really important to me.
You are a natural teacher - what is different about your classes?
I teach from the perspective of someone who's been in a classroom for the last 15 years of their life teaching all ages. My view on teaching is that people learn by doing and you will not find me talking for more than 5 minutes at a time during a class. When you come to one of my classes there's minimal talking from me but there is a lot of interaction and instruction on a one-to-one basis as I walk around. In my class you will be doing and not just sitting there listening.
What classes do you have coming up?
My next class is Build Your Own Terrarium where we will be making terrariums of all shapes and sizes and we have a bunch of fun plants, ornaments, rocks and crystals in the terrarium. We will be learning about how to make it and how to keep it alive depending on what kind of plants to put in the terrarium. This fall I am going to do the pumpkin floral arrangement class which is great for the upcoming holidays and centerpieces. I also teach painting classes based on my love for water color that I have been doing for my whole life.
What is your favorite goodie at the shop?
It’s a toss up! Flourless chocolate cake, but I also love the coffee cake, but I also love the cheesecake. If I had to choose I would get the cheesecake for two and eat the whole thing with a cup of coffee. Her daughter Abby’s favorite are the following: macarons, the flourless chocolate cake, the cheesecake, the peanut butter cookie, the chocolate chip cookie, the donuts, lemon custard with the strawberries on top (pure summer in your mouth!).
Listen to Joan here!