It’s a warm spring morning as the sun rises over Carlsbad, California, and already the staff at The Flower Fields are preparing for another busy day.

This working flower farm boasts fifty acres of ranunculus flowers, and has long been one of San Diego County’s most popular stops for tourists and locals. Visitors roam the fields snapping selfies while workers cut blooms and package them to land on doorsteps and flower shops around the world.

For more than sixty years, this vibrant blanket of blooms has painted the hillside each Spring, drawing up to three hundred thousand visitors annually, many leaving with smiles on their faces.

“When people come into the flower fields, they don’t really know what to expect.” said General Manager Fred Clarke. “They’ve heard about it, maybe they seen pictures on Instagram, but when they walk in the door and they’re up close and personal to those blooms, it’s transformative. It changes your mood.”

The Flower Fields Sign at Carlsbad RanchA Mission of Ag Education

While those who run the farm will tell you they’re proud of this colorful attraction, Flower Fields partner Paul Ecke III is just as eager to describe the operation’s mission to teach children about the importance of agriculture. Dozens of tractors make their way around the operation daily, taking loads of schoolchildren from one activity to another, all designed to educate young visitors about the vital role farmers play in society.

“Most people don’t see a working farm, especially in Southern California.” noted Ecke. “So we’re providing a view into the agricultural working farm. We have a school program. The kids learn about composting, water conservation and other things that go into a successful farming operation. We’re really enjoying sharing the value of agriculture.”

Focus on Sustainable Farming

Worker picking flowers at Flower FieldsPromoting sustainable farming is also high on The Flower Fields’ list of priorities. In an area known for water shortages, The Flower Fields has significantly cut their water usage in the last five years by employing soil moisture sensors.

“We’ve been able to take our water usage and reduce it by 30%, which we feel is a great benefit for the environment.” said Flower Fields farmer Jess Williams. “Being here in Southern California, most of our water is coming from outside the area. So, any amount of water conservation we can do is always very important.”

Operating a fifty-acre working farm in the middle of Southern California is no small task. Given the farm’s suburban location, The Flower Fields’ management navigates rules and regulations not typically experienced in more rural settings. Despite the challenges, Ecke notes the reaction he sees from visitors as they enter makes the hard work worth it.

“Most people when they get here, they go ‘God, I had no idea this was here.’ I’ve never had a person say, ‘I’m not impressed.’ That just doesn’t happen.”

American flag made of flowers
Gathering flowers
Selling flowers


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