Juneau planners OK first Southeast peony farm

Peonies grow for much longer in Alaska's climate and are available later in the year. (Creative Commons Photo by Random Michelle)

Peonies have a longer growing season in Alaska. (Creative Commons Photo by Random Michelle)

A Juneau man has received city approval for the first peony farm in southeast Alaska.

The Juneau Empire reports the planning commission Tuesday approved a conditional use permit for Brad Fluetsch.

He intends to grow peonies on 24 acres he’s purchased on North Douglas, bringing 15 to 20 new jobs to Juneau.

Peonies grow later in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States, providing the state an advantage in the Lower 48 wedding business for July. Lower 48 peonies bloom in early May.

Peony farms are flourishing across Alaska, and it’s the fastest growing sector of Alaska agriculture.

Fluetsch says each bloom can sell for as much as $10, meaning one acre can produce about $200,000 in blossoms.

He anticipates the first crop in 2019.