Sun brings out crowds at annual tulip festival
By GEOFF PARKS
For the Capital Press
WOODBURN, Ore. -- Farmers all have to face the same dilemma of being in a business totally dependent on the vagaries of weather.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Ore., is no different, though one of the owners, Barb Iverson, hit the jackpot this spring with sunny skies and rain at just the right times for a beautiful show at her farm's 29th annual tulip festival.
Held on a 20-acre parcel that is part of Iverson Family Farms' 2,000 acres, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival this year featured 13 acres of flowers in the viewing fields, Iverson said.
The acreage featured over 100 varieties of the perennial bulbs -- "over 2 million flowers this year," she said.
"There's a 5-year rotation on the fields and we dig every year and plant in October," she said.
Iverson and her brothers Ken, Paul and Nels, sister Karen Beaver and sisters-in-law Patty and Janet all have a hand in the day-to-day business of Iverson Family Farms.
"This has been a phenomenal year," Barb Iverson said. "We were truly blessed. We had good weather Easter weekend and there were not lots of rainy days through (Sunday, April 29)."
In the second week of the festival, however, the skies opened up and Iverson said the fields were "gorgeous, but nobody was there to see them."
The website for the festival keeps those who are planning trips to the fields aware of weather and other factors.
The information was also placed each day on the farm's recorded phone line, she said. They charge $10 per vehicle, $5 per bicycle and $20 per bus and receive funds from vendor sales.
"Our real (tulip) crop is for the cut-flower market," Iverson said. The farm has 60 acres of tulips for that side of the business. The farm sells fresh-cut tulips to Safeway, Trader Joe's and several other smaller retailers, Iverson said.
The festival runs through May 5 this year, and fields are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.