While the wildfires in Southern California approached some of the nation’s largest flower farms and hampered the ability for some employees to work, the Golden State’s farms are open and operating.

“We haven’t received any reports of production loss or farms lost due to the fires in Southern California,” explained California Cut Flower Commission CEO & Ambassador Kasey Cronquist. “We’re in close contact with our farms in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Diego Counties and so far our farms are checking in as safe and continuing to operate.”

The Thomas Fire

Flames could be seen on the hillsides from the nurseries in Carpinteria Valley on Monday morning. Photo by Ivan Van Wingerden of Everbloom, Inc.

The Thomas Fire near Carpinteria, known as the nation’s flower basket, appeared to get dangerously close to some farms and nurseries. However, farmers in Carpinteria Valley confirmed that the fires appeared closer than they actually were.

Interactive Map Highlights the proximity of the fire to the flower farms in Carpinteria Valley.

“Everybody is still in business, there have been no losses to farms as far as I know,” reports David Van Wingerden, owner of Westland Produce Inc. “It’s business as usual for Carpinteria-area flower farms.”

David Van Wingerden of Westland Orchid provides an update on the fire conditions near his flower farm in Carpinteria. Click to watch video.

The Lilac Fire

The Lilac fire near Oceanside came close to Mellano & Company’s farming operation late last week, forcing mandatory evacuations, road closures and some power outages. By Saturday, the power was back on and Mellano & Company was able to report no products were affected.

An image from last week shows smoke from the Lilac Fire behind Mellano & Co. in San Diego County.

Today, the farm is open for business despite some staff shortages and ongoing road closures.

“We’re thrilled to report that California’s flower farms are safe, open and operating. Several very close calls last week had farmers worried, but today harvesting and shipping of flowers and foliage is going full bore at most farms,” Cronquist reported.

Lilac Fire in San Diego County skirted, but did not harm, flower farm in the area.

The CCFC will continue to update customers via Facebook Live and online at ccfc.org/fires, where readers will find a map of the fires and the nearby flower farms.

Cal Poly Float to Feature More CA Grown Varieties Than Ever Before

 

Plans for the first two Certified CA Grown entries at the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade are already underway, and the ramp up to the New Year’s Day tradition has just begun.

The entries from Cal Poly Universities and FTD Companies Inc. – the first to announce so far – will both feature CA Grown flowers and foliage. Additional CA Grown entries will be announced in coming weeks.

Cal Poly Universities’ float is titled “Dreams Take Flight” and will feature baby animals flying airplanes amid a whimsical landscape. Cal Poly students are currently working on the miniature scale model of the float, and the chrysanthemums that will adorn it are already in the ground due to their 18-week growing cycle.

Ashley Nally of Calla Co, adding one of their beautiful callas to the 2017 Cal Poly float.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography

This year’s float will showcase more CA Grown flower varieties than ever before thanks to a  deck design that allows for large mixed arrangements in addition to the chrysanthemums and gerberas that cover the float’s characters. The chrysanthemums have been generously donated by GroLink Plant Co., while students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo are growing (and will dry) the statice and straw flower for the float.

Anna Kalins speaking to guests about the gorgeous California grown flowers being placed on the Cal Poly float.

The California Cut Flower Commission’s (CCFC) Anna Kalins, who leads the organization’s Rose Parade efforts, is seeking additional flower donations for the Cal Poly float. In the past, 25 farms have donated flowers to the effort.

Our Ambassadors enjoy the experience of getting to go behind the scenes and talking with the public about our amazing California Grown flowers.

Also needed are Rose Parade ambassadors to help at the event itself and in the days leading up.

To donate flowers or volunteer, email Kalins at akalins@ccfc.org.

Many thanks to the following farms who have already graciously planned to donate flowers and greens:

 

  • Glad-A-Way
  • Joseph & Sons
  • Kitayama Brothers
  • Mellano & Company
  • Ocean Breeze Farms
  • Ocean View Flowers
  • Pyramid Flowers
  • Sun Valley Floral Farms
  • Sunshine Floral
  • Topstar Floral, Inc.

Send Us Your Suggestions For American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour Stops

If our map has a blank look on its face, it’s because we’re just getting started with identifying stops for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

As we ramp up for our fourth year of this wildly successful tour – bragging timeout: the tour just won Marketer of the Year from the Society of American Florists (SAF)! [“Field to Vase Dinner Tour Wins Marketer of the Year“] – we’re busy asking flower farmers, florists, wholesalers, flower designers and our sponsors where we should stop in 2018.

We’re canvassing the country, checking out locations and looking to shine the spotlight on America’s best flower farms, floral designers and communities that exemplify the growing support and movement for American Grown Flowers.

Got a suggestion for the perfect location? Email us at  info@AmericanGrownFlowers.org and tell us why the American Grown Dinner Tour should stop in.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO and ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), will be a panelist for a session at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans Oct. 19-21.

Cronquist will be speaking about trends in flower farming.

The summit draws 19,500 attendees from 60 countries who meet with experts, leaders and decision-makers from every link in the produce and floral supply chain. The event is also a professional learning opportunity where attendees hear about today’s bright ideas that will reshape tomorrow’s produce and floral landscape.

Representatives from Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, recently traveled to South Africa to participate in the International Protea Association’s Conference (IPA) and pre-conference tour.

Diana Roy, business manager for Resendiz Brothers and chair of the California Cut Flower Commission, was one of five protea farmers representing the United States and California at the event. During the IPA Grower’s Day, both Diana and Ismael Resendiz presented a report on growing protea in the Golden State, covering the number of stems grown, varieties, the state of protea farming and the increasing demand for the flowers.

She also submitted findings and data for an USA Area Report covering industry trends, demand and sales of protea, issues with labor and wages and drought conditions. This report will become part of the conference proceedings published by the International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS) in ACTA Horticulturae after the conference.

Roy was asked to take on a new role with IPA leading its member communications. She plans to create a community of protea growers on social media and start a new quarterly newsletter that will include coverage of news items, research grant findings and details on IPA’s future conferences.

“The conference is an amazing chance for protea growers to come together, gather ideas and get inspired,” Roy explained. “There’s a lot of opportunity for these flowers in California, so it was essential for us to be there and share our experience and the positive news about demand from wholesalers, retailers and farmers.”

Also during the course of the conference, Resendiz Brothers owner Mel Resendiz was elected president of IPA.

All big leadership wins for California flower farmers.

We’re beyond thrilled to share that the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour has earned the 2017 Marketer of the Year Award from the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Floral Management magazine.

American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour earns front page attention in the June issue of Floral Management.

The prestigious award recognizes original, highly successful marketing campaigns that increase awareness and the overall sales of cut flowers.

What made for the winning entry? We’ve since heard that Marketer of the Year judges were impressed with the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner campaign on several fronts: its professional execution, its distinct branding and its impressive media pick up.

But what the judges really liked was the dinner tour’s smart and effective use of experiential marketing that immerses the consumer in a floral experience in such a unique way – they’re on the farm with the farmers and the designers, and then they’re surrounded by the beautifully designed flowers during the dinner, and then they leave with their own bouquet.

As one of the judges commented, “When a consumer experiences flowers in this way, it’s a win for the industry.”

For the uninitiated and the yet-to-attend, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is a cross-country series of elegant, intimate pop-up gatherings located on flower and foliage farms from coast to coast. Seasonal, homegrown and sustainable blooming flowers dazzle on beautiful tablescapes elegantly dressed by top U.S. floral designers, while scrumptious meals are prepared by local farm-to-table chefs.

Photo by Linda Blue Photography

At each unique meal and through the accompanying farm tour and design demonstrations, guests make a personal connection between flowers and agriculture as part of America’s floral landscape. Along the way, they experience the age-old art and science of flower farming while being served platters of delicious, seasonal and locally grown fare through four courses, including specialty desserts accompanied by vintage wines, micro-brewed beers and floral-inspired cocktails.

Guests enjoyed a stunning tablescape at an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Jello Mold Farm in Mount Vernon, WA. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

Each event includes a tour of the host farm by the resident farmer and a floral design demonstration with one of the nation’s premier floral designers.

As the Marketer of the Year Award winner, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is the cover story on the September 2017 issue of Floral Management. [See the full story here.]

The recognition is truly an honor. And what it means for flower farmers – now that’s the big news!

To view the full press release, click here.

California’s Legislature Declares June California Grown Flowers Month

Today, California Sen. Mike McGuire took to the floor of the Senate to urge his colleagues to support California’s flower-farming families by passing Senate Concurrent Resolution 58 declaring June “California Grown Flowers Month.”

In presenting the resolution, McGuire acknowledged California’s hardworking flower farmers for the beauty, variety and economic value their flowers bring the Golden State.

Bouquets filled with CA Grown flowers adorned each Senator’s desk to welcome them as they entered the Senate, prior to passing the Senate’s resolution declaring June as California Grown Flower Month.

 

“Today, we are recognizing California as America’s best source for high-quality cut flowers,”Senator Mike McGuire said. “The industry has blossomed since its inception back in the late1870s. California flower farmers, distributors and florists generate thousands of jobs and drive$12.2 billion in economic activity every year. Our own Humboldt County is one of the largestflower producers in America, growing more fresh tulips than anywhere else in the nation.”

As part of the announcement, each senator received a bouquet of California Grown Flowers from McGuire to help commemorate the occasion.

“The month of June is the perfect time to celebrate the beauty and bounty of what our farms grow in California,” explained California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) CEO & Ambassador Kasey Cronquist. “The resolution helps to remind people that the origin of your flowers does matter and buying California Grown Flowers does make a difference – not only in the quality of the flowers, but also by helping the state’s economy.”

Members of the Assembly and Senate joined Senator Mike McGuire and CCFC CEO Kasey Cronquist for a photo on the Senate floor after Senator McGuire’s remarks urging his colleagues to support Senate Resolution 58 declaring June as California Grown Flowers Month.

In addition to the resolution, the CCFC is recognizing California Grown Flowers Month with a social media contest on Facebook and Instagram where consumers can enter to win a bouquet of California Grown Flowers each week through the month of June.

The CCFC will also feature retailers like Safeway and its “Blue Bucket Campaign” that highlights the company’s support for and commitment to providing customers with California Grown Flowers.  The CCFC recently debuted a video highlighting Safeway’s California Grown Flowers campaign, a promotion that has been wildly successful in spotlighting California Grown Flowers in its stores.

Click to watch the video featuring NorCal Safeway’s California Grown Flowers program.

 

The video explains that 74 percent of consumers don’t know where flowers come from, and yet 58 percent would prefer to buy California Grown Flowers. Consumers are in awe of the freshness and variety of California Grown Flowers, explains Crystal Hedgpeth, floral sales manager for Safeway’s NorCal division.

In Northern California Safeway stores, Hedgpeth reports that California Grown Flowers are outselling non-California grown flowers. She says Safeway is proud to support California’s flower farmers and hopes the trend of promoting CA Grown Flowers continues to inspire others to feature the beauty and bounty of California.

# # #

About the California Cut Flower Commission

The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) unites the state’s approximately 225 flower farmers to advance California’s $320 million flower industry. In addition to providing cooperative marketing opportunities and administering advocacy efforts, the commission has positioned the California Grown brand as a highly recognizable, consumer-facing brand to drive sales of the state’s fresh flowers and foliage. Learn more at ccfc.org.

 

Media Contact:

Kasey Cronquist

CEO & Ambassador

916-441-1701

kcronquist@ccfc.org

This year’s First Lady’s Luncheon, hosted annually by the Congressional Club, was an all American Grown Flowers affair. In support of Certified American Grown Flowers’ sponsorship of the event, flower farmers shipped over 18,000 stems of beautiful domestic flowers to a team of over 20 volunteer professional floral designers led by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, Christy Hulsey of The Colonial House of Flowers and Margaret Lloyd of Margret Joan Florals.

This year’s lead designers, (pictured left to right) Kelly Shore, Margaret Lloyd and Christy Hulsey.

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The word “magical” comes to mind as the best description of the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. It’s a word we’ve heard over and over from guests who have attended the first three of seven dinners on this year’s tour.

The magic continued on the third stop of the tour at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad last month where a sold-out crowd enjoyed a wonderful dinner by Chef John Miller of Bistro West while overlooking a sea of ranunculus that seemed to trail off into the Pacific Ocean.

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The flower farmers of Carpinteria held their 9th annual Greenhouse & Nursery Tour on April 1st. The tour is annual effort to welcome the public into greenhouses and learn about the process of growing cut flowers for the market.

 

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The countdown to the largest flower-giving holiday is upon us. Mother’s Day is May 14 – but there’s no need to panic!

Turn to these tips to prepare for success:

Hire extra help now. This might include designers, drivers and support staff. Also, let current employees know if their schedules will change leading up to Mother’s Day.

Double-check your flower orders. Be sure you have enough flowers and foliage coming, and increase your order if the season is looking particularly promising. Also, be sure you have enough of the most popular flowers for moms, and remember that this holiday isn’t about a single day – it tends to expand to a week.

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As June winds down, American Flowers Week starts. Why not design a promotion around the week – set for June 28-July 4?

American Flowers Week is and advocacy, education and outreach campaign co-produced by the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing and Slowflowers.com.

Now in its third year, American flowers advocate and journalist Debra Prinzing created the U.S. version of the domestic flowers promotion campaign with inspiration from British Flowers Week.

The week seeks to heighten the attention to the importance and value of American Grown Flowers.

Use the #americanflowersweek hashtag to draw attention to your efforts during this exciting week and help spread the origin matters message.

 

In 2017, the California Senate declared June to be California Grown Flower Month.

When announced, the resolution noted the designation was designed to recognize and honor the men and women of the California flower industry for their dedication and productivity. The resolution also recognized the flower industry’s impact on the state’s economy: creating 145,665 jobs, generating $12.2 billion in business activity and creating $1.1 billion in additional taxes.

With June fast approaching, what do you have planned to celebrate or recognize California Grown Flowers Month?

CCFC has several promotions in the works in conjunction with retailers. We’ll also be spreading the word through various Commission communication channels and on social media.

Tell us what you have planned and we’ll help spread the word!