Blossom Meadow Farm has teamed up with award-winning winery Coffee Pot Cellars for their “Merlot for Monarchs” Campaign in an effort to restore the monarch butterfly population by restoring their habitat. For every bottle of Merlot sold, Coffee Pot Cellars will fund Blossom Meadow Farm to grow a butterfly milkweed plant (Asclepias tuberosa, native to New York) and work with non-profits and institutions to plant and restore monarch butterfly habitat throughout Long Island each June. For 2019, we are working with Mattituck/Cutchogue Girl Scout Troop 1291 earning their Bronze Awards, Deer Park Girl Scout Troop 1988 earning their Silver Awards, the Teen Department at Sayville Library, Patchogue Library, and the Patchogue Community Garden.
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) plays a critical role in the monarch life cycle. They are the only plants that serve as food for newly hatched caterpillars. In fact, the monarch population has declined by >80% within the last two decades and it is estimated that over 1.3 billion stems of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) will need to be restored for the species to bounce back (reference: Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 074005). Each caterpillar needs the sustenance of half to a full plant to turn into a butterfly so this project is bound to make a conservation difference. Over 900 bottles of Merlot have been sold since August 2018 and that translates to over 900 butterfly milkweed plants (i.e., a lot of monarch caterpillar food).
In an effort to reconnect people with nature, monarch caterpillars happily munching away on milkweed and chrysalises of monarchs waiting to emerge as butterflies are prominently displayed at the Coffee Pot Cellars Tasting Room/Blossom Meadow Farm Store located at 31855 Main Road in Cutchogue during the months of July, August, and September. Also in the tasting room is a chalkboard with the current tally of merlot bottles purchased as part of the “Merlot for Monarchs” campaign. Eleven-year-old pug Beasley, who is a local celebrity in his own right, wears monarch butterfly wings every day at the tasting room to show his support of the project.