Written by Aimee Blinder, CFM Committee Member
In our new interview series, It Takes A Village, Meet Yours, we take time out to meet with a variety of our cherished vendors where they share interesting and fun perspectives on their lives.
We recently had the pleasure of having a virtual sit down with our premiere floral connoisseur Amanda Vanhoozier of Bishop Hill Farm Flowers. She spoke with us from her home & urban flower farm just a hoot & a holler away from Old Town Coppell. And what makes this interview even more special is that nearly 20 years ago Amanda was a founding member of Coppell Farmers Market. So not unlike the beautiful flowers she now grows, she has seen CFM blossom from a seedling into the flourishing & vibrant community centerpiece it is today.
Where were you born and raised? Amanda was born in a small town called Shell, Wyoming, and raised in Powell, Wyoming, but she has now lived in Texas over 35 years.
What does Texas pride mean to you? Like many who transplant from another state, Amanda was a reluctant Texan for many years, but she shared “All of my children were born here so later in life I realized that Texas was in fact where I now call home. So, my kids really were a big part of that transition.” She also became very involved with the Native Plant Society of Texas, which definitely helped deepen her connection and appreciation for the state over the years.
Is there a particular family tradition that stands out in your life? Amanda said “As a child growing up sharing meals together as a family at the table stands out and that was something that I carried on with my own family. The joy of cooking, eating, and connecting together.”
What do you enjoy most about being part of CFM? For Amanda it’s all about the comradery, “the customers, the vendors, the CFM committee, together creates a great sense of community.”
What does it mean to be able to serve the community directly? Amanda shared its being able to bring joy to everyone through an extension of nature, which was also really her original mission & vision when first starting CFM. And through that, she finds building the relationships and trust with the community to be so wonderful.
What is your proudest moment so far in regard to your business? Lovingly Amanda recounts, “When I was first starting my business and thinking of names, I thought of my grandparent’s farm Bishop Farms and thought, that’s it, that feels exactly right. And choosing that name to carry on the family tradition made my mother so proud, which filled me with joy.”
Do you have a nickname and if so what’s the story? Amanda shared,
“I grew up being called Mandy and when I taught preschool here locally, I was called Miss Amanda. From time to time I will see some of my previous students around town, now grown of course, and they all still call me Miss Amanda, it’s very sweet and very Southern.”
What is your true north star in life, or a motto you live by? For Amanda a couple things came to mind, “I always make sure to try to align with nature in whatever I’m doing and in my decision making. And also, that importantly, it is always about the people and everything else you’re doing is just the vehicle.
What is something you are really good at that would surprise most folks? With a laugh, “Oh yes. I can whistle a very shrill whistle. A lifesaving whistle. One day when I was in 5th grade, I decided I was going to teach myself how to do it. I of course nearly passed out from trying for hours and hours, but I did it. I also have a certain whistle that only my kids know and I can still find them in a crowd.”
Of your peer vendors, what is one of your favorite foods to get at CFM? Without hesitation she proclaimed, “I love Tree Folk Farm mushrooms in particular the oyster variety. They are simply amazing. I get them every week.” And we certainly can’t argue with that choice.
Do you have any pets that serve as a helper or companion in your daily farming/curating? Amanda has a cat named Wally that sometimes keeps her company while she works outside, but due to local bobcats she generally keeps him safely inside most of the time. Wally has a very special knack for tipping over vases so he’s also lovingly known as O’ Wally.
If you could have any performer in the world come and sing at CFM one beautiful summer Saturday, who would it be and what song would you want to hear? Amanda went old school with Nina Simone, and the song Feeling Good (which I listened to as inspiration while writing this). She shared, “My dad was a drummer and had a great record collection, which I inherited. I transferred all of his albums onto my old iPod so I can never get rid of it.”
If you set out on a camping trip and could only bring 3 provisions from your offering, what would you bring and why? Although some flowers may be edible Amanda concedes that she wouldn’t be bringing flowers, but instead would bring bacon from one of the CFM farmers, one of Village Baking Company’s kouign amann (which is a rich & wonderful pastry, described by the New York Times as “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe”), and a jug of SoCo ginger beer. We’ll happily share in that feast, sounds perfectly balanced!
If all of the CFM vendors were part of a band, what instrument would you want to play? She would play the piccolo, which she previously enjoyed playing in school band, with all its running notes and trills.
If I could grant you a superhero power what would it be? Like any good lover of nature and a farmer she said “I would make water, because that’s always needed.”
In one moment if you could only choose cheese, chocolate, or coffee, which would it be? “Cheese for sure, I like all of the sharp and stinky cheese varieties.”
For wintertime, North Face or Carhartt’s? Would probably be Carhartt’s.
For summertime, pools or lakes? Having lived in Wyoming and been spoiled with the most pristine lakes she’s very particular about her lakes, so she would say mountains.
For fall, apple cider or pumpkin spice? Her choice would be pumpkin spice.
If you could raise any baby animal, what would it be? She said it would be a little baby lamb, which we’re sure Wally would happily train to join in on his vase tipping adventures.
What time of day is your most productive golden hour and why? We see a theme with our farmers, “Early, early morning, pre-dawn before the sun rises.”
We hope you enjoyed your time with Amanda (and O’Wally) as much as we did. This local floral farmer is something special for sure and owed a great debt of gratitude for her role in creating CFM. Visit her every Saturday at her Flower Booth or pre-order from her website at www.bishophillfarmflowers.com where you can also subscribe to her newsletter (to hear about in-person experiences at her flower farm) and also follow her on Instagram at @bishophillfarmflowers for more information. And if you listen closely you may just hear her one of a kind whistle!
The Coppell Farmers Market provides groceries year-round and vendors are vetted to ensure they make and grow what they sell, so shoppers can be confident in the quality they receive! We’re asking shoppers to adhere to certain safety precautions, like practicing physical distancing, and wearing masks, during this time. Please be familiar with these guidelines prior to attending.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are accepted at the Coppell Farmers Market.
The market is located at 768 W. Main St. in Old Town Coppell. Open 8am-noon every Saturday.