Bear Creek Farms
Bear Creek Farms is one of Stillwater’s best kept secrets — 40 acres of flowers, local foliage and greenhouses nestled southeast of Stillwater proper has been providing the area with fresh cut flowers for 20 years.
Vicki and Terry Stamback opened Bear Creek Farms in 1997.
“After I graduated from college, I worked part time at OSU as a research technician in the horticulture department,” Vicki said. “That’s how I found out about cut flowers.”
The flower farm has more than 100 varieties of cut flowers, and uses a lot of locally growing plant material, Vicki said.
“All your cut flowers started with weeds, really,” she said. “That’s really popular right now. People want local, they want native, they want weedy-looking. We have a lot of customers who love local cut greens because they’re cooler, they’re different, they’re fresh.”
Bear Creek Farms recently added vegetables to their portfolio, Vicki said.
“We have honeybees, and diversity is always good,” she said. “Not just diversity (in produce) to sell, but diversity to grow because when you can rotate your vegetables and flowers and have less disease problems, less bug problems, it’s good for the soil. Everything takes different things out of the soil.”
The Stambacks provided 1907 Meat Co. with fresh cut flowers as table centerpieces for about six months, and then built custom succulent box centerpieces as a more sustainable option. They also provide seasonal produce that 1907 Meat Co. uses in the kitchen, including ingredients the restaurant’s popular hot sauce.
1907 Meat Co. utilizes Fresno peppers to create the Fresno hot sauce used on the Smothered Burritos, which are served during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Matt Buechele, the Executive Chef at 1907 Meat Co., asked Vicki to grow Fresno peppers so he wouldn’t have to buy them from a commercial provider, and Vicki was happy to give it a shot.
“We grow peppers very well out here,” she said. “Peppers love it out here.”
Fresno pepper seeds are difficult to come by, Vicki said, but they found some through Park Seed and planted about 120 in May; the peppers were ready to harvest in August, and Vicki plans to start a second batch early next spring.
“We will give them more space and I think they’ll get bigger,” she said. “The small plants are absolutely loaded with peppers.”
Vicki said they enjoy working with 1907 Meat Co
“It’s a really unique thing and we like it because when people come to us and ask if we can grow something, it’s like a challenge,” she said. “It’s fun, growing for a specific purpose instead of growing for the sake of growing.”