Residents of the Middle Peninsula eagerly search for the first daffodil just as those in other parts of the country watch for the first robin. The daffodil is a sure and certain sign that spring is on the way.
It’s much more to this area: for years the daffodil was a real money crop, helping dozens of farmers bring home cash early in the year for a flower that was craved in the still-frozen Northern markets. The Ingram operation continues at North, but most of the farms have long since disappeared. The daffodil itself remains a valued and welcome spring friend.
And it also retains much value in a modern form. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs just off Ware Neck Road is a thriving business, good employer, and great neighbor and friend, bringing in bulbs through contacts in Holland that go back for generations in the Heath family. Brent and Becky’s builds on the local daffodil tradition built up by earlier generations, and generously gives away thousands of bulbs every year to nonprofit groups to help beautify the community.
The value has grown in another way in the past three decades. With revival of the pre-WWII Gloucester Daffodil Festival, crowds come to Main Street to celebrate spring and spend some cash on arts, crafts and food.
Many roadsides bloom with the daffodils, remnants of the fields cultivated and picked in former generations. They seem to last forever, and that’s a wonderful thing.