A mother-daughter duo turn their garden’s bounty into a thriving business.
Money may not grow on trees, but Crystal Selchow and her 8-year-old daughter, Alexia, have found a way to turn trees, vines and plants into a small business, offering sustainable, natural products. From their oversized suburban yard on the east side of Maple Grove, Crystal and Alexia grow a bevy of herbs, fruits and vegetables. And like many gardeners with a healthy green thumb, the duo grows produce with the intention to share their bounty, but rather than thrust excess tomatoes or zucchinis at their neighbors, the Selchows preserve their harvest and sell it through their cottage company: The Rare Daisy. Their products include everything from spices and herbs to infusion kits and cocktail syrups to rim salts and sugars.
“I just wanted to create something with simple ingredients that was safe to consume,” Crystal says.
August marked the one-year anniversary of their company, but Crystal’s love of gardening goes much further back. “I’ve had a passion for gardening and growing food for us for a long time,” she says. “I learned to garden as a kid in my mom’s garden … In 2018–19 is when I really started being intentional about it.”
Crystal likes the sense of control she gets from growing her own food. “There’s so many things you can buy on the store shelf, but you can’t control what’s in it or where it comes from,” she says.
In her yard, Crystal controls the soil, fertilizers, water and more. She starts many of her plants from seed under grow lights in the dark of winter. “There’s a different sense of achievement when growing from seed,” she says.
With nearly an acre of land, by the time summer is winding down, the Selchows are overgrown with produce—herbs, fruit, tomatoes, jalapenos, peppers and beans among the harvest. Then, Crystal and Alexia begin the process of freeze drying for their various offerings. The eclectic mix of products available through The Rare Daisy is a result of the duo trying their hand at various products that they loved.
Crystal recalls one friend gifting her a blackberry-sage cocktail syrup with a challenge in hand. Crystal says, “She said, ‘I know once you drink it, you’re going to figure out how to make it.’” And she did—along with lavender-blueberry; honeysuckle; and rose-cardamom syrups. The rose-cardamom syrup has become one of Crystal’s favorites. “It’s a hidden gem,” she says. “It pairs so well with so many things.”
The Rare Daisy—a reference to Crystal’s April birth month flower—also offers a trio of rim salts and sugars to spice up any cocktail or mocktail. Those include lemon sugar, lime salt and spicy jalapeño salt—one of their top sellers. Those products can be paired with its infusion kits to create a cocktail or mocktail sure to dazzle guests. Its infusion kits include Spicy Mango Margarita, Cranberry Sauced and Speakeasy with a combination of dried cherries, oranges, lemons and rosemary.
“There’s a lot of trial and error, but I have a close group of friends and neighbors who support me,” Crystal says. “It’s been a lot of fun for us.”
And Crystal is making sure that her daughter is along for every part of the process. “I wanted to show her that even at a young age, you can do anything,” she says.
“It’s fun,” Alexia says. “I like counting the money.”
The Rare Daisy offers its products via its website for pickup or free delivery within a 30-mile radius. Crystal and Alexia also frequent craft fairs throughout the year and keep the website updated with upcoming events.
While her business is still in its infancy, Crystal has dreams of seeing her creations in a store—either someone else’s store or her own. “I would love to have a storefront someday,” she says.
Lavender Blueberry Lemon Drop Martini or Mocktail*
- 2 oz. vodka
- ½ oz. limoncello
- 1 oz. Lavender Blueberry Cocktail Syrup
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Karo syrup
- raw cane sugar
- lemon peel twist, for garnish
In a shaker, combine the ice, vodka, limoncello, Lavender Blueberry Cocktail Syrup and fresh lemon juice. Rim the glass with Karo syrup and raw cane sugar. Pour the drink mixture into the glass, and add a lemon peel twist for a garnish.
*For a nonalcoholic version, omit the vodka and limoncello, shake ingredients and top off with sparkling water.
Cherry Rosemary Prosecco
- prosecco of choice
- ½ oz. Cherry Rosemary
- Cocktail Syrup
Pour chilled prosecco into a glass. Add ½ oz. (or to taste) of Cherry Rosemary Cocktail Syrup. Stir to combine, and enjoy.
- 1/3 cup espresso, brewed via specialty coffee maker or espresso machine
- 2/3 cup milk, steamed
- 1/2–1 oz. Rose-Cardamom Cocktail Syrup
Brew your espresso using a specialty coffee maker or espresso machine; while brewing, steam milk and froth using a frother. Pour espresso into mug, add Rose-Cardamom Cocktail Syrup, then top off with milk.