CARNEGIE, OK (KSWO)- Horn Canna Farm originated and continues to operate in southwest Oklahoma because they don't take the same path as others.
In the 1920s, Dustin Snow's Great Grandma Frances Horn received six canna bulbs from her aunt in Arkansas. Before long the cannas had claimed a large portion of the family's vegetable garden.
Even during tough times, canna sales grew and became a significant source of income for the family. An endeavor that started decades ago remains a family business four generations deep that now produces about two million bulbs annually.
Instead of raising peanuts or cotton, or going the direction of wheat and cattle, Neil believed he could make a go of it with a tropical plant in Caddo County. They have shipped bulbs to not only other states, but to several countries including, Dubai, Greece, Italy and Thailand. Today Dustin and wife Nikki Snow grow about 70 acres of cannas.
"We've talked about what in the world led his great grandpa to peddle them and then what made Dustin Snow's grandfather come along and go,' I could make a business out of this'' Nikki said. "What in the world possessed that man to think he could make a crop out of this tropical plant? It was his forward thinking and creativity."
"He was a creative person," Dustin said. "He really enjoyed creating equipment that would make this work, both the harvest equipment and the washing apparatus. He believed in these plants. He married my grandmother two days before he was shipped off to World War II. So he always told people that he took care of her to take care of his cannas."
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) plays a role in facilitating and certifying Horn's cannas so they may be shipped to other states, and perhaps more importantly, to other countries. There are other growers of cannas in Oklahoma, but Jeanetta Cooper, who works with Plant Protection & Certification Programs in CPS, says Horn Cannas is the largest in the state.
On Mondays through Fridays, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. visitors from across Oklahoma pull off a county road onto the gravel driveway of Horn Canna Farm to marvel at the vibrant canvas of red, yellow, pink and orange cannas and stop by the office to ask questions.
"September is peak season and the best time to view the field at its best," Nikki added.
Dustin Snow not only grew up around this process, but has been a full-time employee for 22 years. That doesn't mean that he is any less amazed by the beauty of the crops than he was as a child.
"There are some moments of the year where you just look out and say, 'Wow,' especially when the weather starts to cool and they are fully grown," Dustin said. "The prettiest time of the year to me is the first blooms of the season and then right before harvest. We're impressed with the beauty of the crop."