Ask any Texan how they know spring is here and they will usually mention the bluebonnets that start to pop up across fields and along roadsides right about now. But folks who live near Pilot Point might also say “tulips”!
I’m cruising along FM 2931, just east of Pilot Point’s downtown. This is Horse Country, and I’m enjoying driving by one ranch after another, seeing horses grazing, passing wide open green fields. Suddenly a burst of color appears: rows and rows of pinks, purples, reds, yellows, oranges, whites –
5 acres of bright tulips in full bloom! I’ve arrived at Texas Tulips, the only tulip farm in the state.
Texas Tulips opened in 2015 and this year, Feb. 18th kicked off their third season offering tulips directly from the field to the customer. The owner is Pieter Koeman, a man who comes from a family of tulip growers in Holland, where they sold wholesale flowers and bulbs to the floral industry. Pieter and his wife Petra decided to take their tulip talents to Texas, where the spring-time growing conditions north of Dallas were just right. The couple says the tulip industry in Holland was impersonal, shipping thousands of bulbs to clients; now, in their new venture, they enjoy the personal touch — getting to meet the people who purchase their tulips, educating them on where the flowers come from and watching families have a great time. In fact, Pieter Koeman’s direct cell number is listed on the website so you can call ahead and ask him about conditions or which varieties are in bloom when you’re planning to go.
After I parked my car and paid my entrance fee ($3.00), I grab a picking basket and head for a row of bright yellow blooms, making sure not to trample the beauties with my big ol’ boots. For a fleeting moment, I realize I am the only guy here who’s not accompanied by a family, but that’s OK; I happen to be in touch with my sensitive side. In between picking stem after stem, I find myself just standing there for minutes at a time, enjoying the sensory overload of a blue sky on a warm spring day, a kaleidoscope of colorful flowers and laughing kids. Before long, I’ve picked a huge bouquet of colorful blooms that I just know my wife will love. (I’ve already been assured that they will last the four hour drive home). At $2.50 per stem, I know I could have gotten a cheaper bunch of flowers at Kroger’s, but the experience of picking my own in this happy place was worth it!