CALDWELL, Idaho — If you build it, they will come. That’s the story behind Lovely Hollow, a floral farm in the Treasure Valley.
"I grew up on Chicken Dinner Road, my family came from South Dakota in the 50s," said Idaho native Nikki Van Lith. She moved away from that home, off Chicken Dinner Road in Caldwell, as young people do.
"I studied AG business at Utah State," she said.
When Van Lith returned to Idaho, she decided to give flowers a try.
"I just planted some flowers and they grew," she said.
In 2019 she launched Lovely Hollow Farm. It started off small.
"Super small. There was just 12 rows of flowers," she said.
Turns out, having an outdoor business during a global pandemic was exactly what her customers wanted.
And now, in it’s fourth season, Van Lith moved her successful flower farm back to her families’ land.
"I’m just so happy that it worked out the way that it did. It’s just one of the best blessings of my life to be able to move home to the road that I grew up on," she said.
In a lot of ways, Van Lith is the new face of farming.
"I even struggle calling myself a farmer because I’m just a giant gardener," she said. "I have to check on my crops, I have to check on pests, I have to check on weeds, I have to do water management."
Aging farmers and the price of entry into the industry pose a challenge for U.S. agriculture. In fact, a third of America’s 3.4 million farmers are over the age of 65, according to the most recent census from the Department of Agriculture.
"Farming is very risky so I understand why some families are like, 'We’re done. We can’t do this anymore,'" she said. Van Lith said she’s grateful she can continue to work the land.
"I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to continue Idaho agriculture instead of choosing other options," she said.
So while others choose those options, like selling their land, Van Lith uses her platform to introduce visitors from the city to the country where new micro farms are cropping-up.