Alaska Perfect Peony started growing peony for the cut flower market in 2006. We not only harvest from our own farm but from several other neighborhood farms here on the Peninsula.
Our family arrived in Alaska in 1966. In 1968 we purchased our first 14 acres at the End of The Road and fixed up the existing abandoned log cabin originally built in 1947. With no running water or electricity it was a bit of a challenge with 4 little ones but the memories are good. We were able to get electricity before the year was out but for 5 years we learned how to melt snow, find at least 3 uses for every drop of water and we chopped a lot of ice from Fritz Creek hauling tanks of water pumped from the creek back to the cabin.
Our farm now consists of 26 plus acres as we have purchased the surrounding properties over the years. In 1996 we opened Fritz Creek Gardens a retail garden center that specialized in over 500 varieties of Alaska Hardy® perennials, trees, shrubs, roses and vines. Folks traveled from all over the state to visit the 16 Theme gardens and purchase hard to find plants. Rita Jo speaks extensively all over Alaska about gardening in Alaska. October 1st, 2012 Fritz Creek Gardens was sold to Dutch Boy Landscaping.
Rita Jo worked on a farm in New Zealand to learn the growing and harvesting aspects of the peony cut flower business as well as she has traveled extensively studying growing, harvesting, packing and marketing techniques.
My Husband Leroy and I were very pleased when our Son, Shannon, who lives next door to the farm, decided to take an interest in the peony production. Up to that point, Leroy and I thought of the peony portion of our operations as our late retirement buffer and only planted out 3,500 tubers. When Shannon came on board we changed our prospective completely. We have about 15,000 tubers in the ground now and are clearing and preparing ground to bring that total to 20,000.
Leroy and Shannon owned and operated Shoultz and Son Construction for 40 years and Leroy comes from a farming family. These talents are now being used to build pack houses, irrigation systems and clearing and preparing new fields.
Rita Jo has a background in Commercial Real Estate Development with 35 years of retail marketing experience.