By Susan Kline Smith
I would like to introduce you to Zack and Kat Elledge. Together, with their three children, they own and operate Glade Rock Farms. A ‘u-pick’ tulip farm in Ironton.
Zack and Kat Elledge met and became friends in 2nd grade here in Arcadia Valley. They stayed close friends and then became high school sweethearts and are now married best friends.
After traveling and living abroad, they decided to move back to Ironton to be close to their family and friends.
Farming has always been a plan of theirs. Kat grew up on a large cattle ranch, and Zack spent so much time out there that it felt like a natural thing for them to do together. When they decided to buy their farm in 2018, land was fairly expensive, and flat land was non-existent here in the Valley. When their realtor showed them the property, they fell in love with the view, and the challenge of making a rocky farm nestled on the backside of Shepherd Mountain, feel like home.
Kat said, “Our first year here we mass planted flowers, and tulips were the only flowers to really do well in our rocky soil. We knew we wanted to open our farm up to the public in some way, to help make farming cool again and encourage more people to do it. When we saw our tulips blooming, the idea for a ‘u-pick’ tulip farm was born. In 2021 we opened our farm to the public for our first ‘u-pick’ tulip season.”
Every April, Glade Rock Farms is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM-4PM. Their farm features over 10,000 tulips (and counting) in dozens of varieties along with lilacs, a wisteria arbor, a farm store, outdoor games, photography bookings, photo ops, pre-made bouquets, and more. They invite you to join them as they turn their forgotten farm into something thriving and beautiful.
“Throughout the year we also grow native wildflowers and any flower that acts as a great pollinator. We offer seeds and bouquets from those flowers in our produce stand which is open every weekend. Our produce stand was an idea born from pure necessity. Since we are only open to the public for flower picking during the weekends each spring, we needed a place where we could sell pre-made bouquets during the weekdays, and a place for our produce when our garden is prolific throughout the summer,” Kat said.
A big part of their business comes from photographers. Early each spring before ‘u-pick’ tulip season, they open up reservations for photographers to privately rent the field through their social media pages. Kat said,
“We’ve had proposals, engagement photos, pregnancy announcements, first birthdays, family photos, you name it captured by the wonderful photographers who have been out so far.”
“This little farm of ours was very much forgotten when we bought it. You couldn’t see the house from the road and on the inside… well it’s been a chore. So, for the past four years, we’ve been working hard on fencing, clearing, planting, and running the business. It’s a bit of ‘one step forward, two steps back’. But we love sharing what we love with everyone!”
You can contact Kat and Zack through their facebook page: Glade Rock Flower Farms LLC