21 Petals takes its name from more than just the flowers it sells.
The Lafayette flower farm’s name comes from trisomy 21, or a third copy of chromosome 21. This third copy is the causal agent in Down Syndrome, which affects 1 in 700 babies born in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.
Owned and founded by Purdue graduates Stefani and John Goetz, 21 Petals is in its second season of operation. The couple founded the farm in honor of their five-year-old son, Foxx, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth.
“When he was born, we wanted to think forward to his future,” Stefani said. “We wanted to build this farm as an option for him to be raised contributing to his community.
“Our vision includes him being able to have this for his future, and to be able to employ others with disabilities as well.”
Foxx and his 10-year-old sister Reeslin are already involved with the farm’s operations.
“He’ll go around and give everybody hugs and high-fives, and fill the buckets with water,” Stefani said. “She’ll go up and talk to everybody and tell them about the farm. People are always so impressed with her.”
The family also uses the operation to spread awareness about Down Syndrome. A table in the main barn is littered with pamphlets and flyers about Down Syndrome, from information about adult life with the disorder to advice for prospective parents and teachers about how to raise and educate affected children.
21 Petals operates largely on weekend hours, due to the demands of Stefani and John’s day jobs. Stefani is an assistant principal in the Lafayette School Corporation, and John is a detective with the Purdue University Police Department.
The farm is open from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The farm’s picking season runs from mid-June to the first frost —generally around mid-October — but bouquets are available from March to Thanksgiving.
The farm operates on a “you pick” system. For $30, guests can fill a bucket of flowers, which the owners will wrap at the conclusion of the visit. The family also sells pre-arranged bouquets.
The family cultivates over 100 varieties of flowers on the farm, but not all are available for the full season. The farm rotates “warm” and “cool” seasonal flowers in accordance with where the farm is in its season.
Many Lafayette residents and Purdue students are attracted to the farm for its novelty, including area teachers Lindsay Tylenda and Maddy Vaughn.
“Usually, if you get flowers, you buy them at the store,” Vaughn said. “Here, you actually get to go pick them yourself.”