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Sunny Mary Meadow

Liz Fiedler is a Certified Nurse Practitioner, the owner of a century farm in central Minnesota, a mom, a widow, a published author, and the owner of Sunny Mary Meadow – a flower business just outside of St. Joe. Liz and her late husband, Josh – the namesake of the century-old farm operation – started Sunny Mary Meadow in July 2020. Just five months later he passed away; the day after his funeral, Liz found out she was pregnant with their second daughter. Through it all, she’s persevered and built a business bringing brightness to others’ lives through flowers.

“The Fiedler farm was established in 1888. We moved to the farm – where Josh grew up – in 2016. We had some general ideas of how we wanted to spend our time living here, but we knew somehow we wanted to make somewhat of a living off the land.  Farming full-time wasn’t in the cards for us — we had careers we loved and it just wasn’t our plan. Our name, Sunny Mary Meadow, is in memory of Josh’s mom, Mary Fiedler, and her sunny personality … She passed away in 2010 as the result of a farming accident. She would have loved the chance to see the next generation growing up on the farm – my daughters are the 6th generation.”

“Josh died of a heart attack while exercising at home on his lunch break in December of 2020. That following spring, a lot of people were very surprised I was going to continue with the flowers. I had a 3-year-old daughter, and I found out I was pregnant the day after Josh’s funeral. I was due August 2021, and let’s just say being in your 3rd trimester in the middle of a hot and humid summer isn’t ideal with any job, but especially not when you’re working outside with flowers. I remember saying, ‘don’t take away one of the things that still makes me happy.’”

“From that moment on, I knew I wanted to see this business grow. It was something we started together, and I know it has taken a different turn than what we originally had planned. That first season without him was difficult because I had to ask for so much help, and I continue to do so. But I know so many of my customers are just as invested in my success as I am. After a storm this past spring, I had over 20 volunteers come out and help me get my flowers planted. What should have taken me two weeks was done in 2 days.”

“I grew up in southwest Minnesota, very near the South Dakota border, and moved here after college. It’s where I met my husband and where we built our life. There are many reasons I have chosen to stay in the area since he passed away, but “the people” tops the list. Time and time again I have experienced a wave of support from the surrounding communities and this feels like “home” to me. I also know that this is the best way my daughters can “know” their dad that they’re too young to remember — by being where I most feel his presence and can tell stories about him.”

In her first year, Liz sold about 200 bouquets. The next year, 1,000 bouquets. This year, she’ll surpass 2,000. And yes, she still works in healthcare, too. “It might seem crazy, but I’m hoping to continue to do both. I believe you can have more than one passion, and while balancing them both is challenging at times, I can’t imagine life without practicing medicine or growing flowers.”

“My flowers are grown in a very labor-intensive manner (hand seeded, water, harvested) and it takes a lot of time and effort. People appreciate that and know it’s different from a bundle you buy at the supermarket that’s flown in from another continent. I partner with a number of local breweries and shops to host “bloom bars” and bouquet classes, as well as host vendors at the farm once in a while! Of course I want people to buy flowers, but I want you to have fun while you’re doing it.”

“I have felt an overwhelming wave of support since my husband passed away. I feel like people genuinely care about how we are doing and want to see my business succeed. Ultimately, this farm is a beautiful space that I want to share … It’s about so much more than flowers.”