The CCFC is working hard to try and determine a name for this BRAND NEW rose varietal, only available in California!

What should we call it?
A) Star Struck
B) Disco Queen
C) Funfetti

We need to know today!

Leave your vote in the comment section below or go add your vote on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaGrownFlowers

Posted in American Grown, California Grown, CEO Message, Locally Grown, promotion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tweeting, Posting, Delivering the Message that ‘California Grown’ Matters

Armed with their passion, their stories and the Twitter hashtag #AgDay, farmers from across the country celebrated National Agriculture Day and communicated the value of American Agriculture brings to the economy and our communities on March 19th.

On March 20th, California Agriculture celebrated Ag Day on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.  The Commission and the California State Floral Association co-sponsored the floral booth, featuring the bounty of “CA Grown” flowers and sharing the important economic impact that the floral industry has on the state’s economy.

The "CA Grown" logo continues to represent a powerful message to both lawmakers and consumers. Are you labeling your sleeves?

CSFA’s Executive Director Ann Quinn organized all of the industry and student volunteers to help ensure that the California flower booth was another big hit and that all of the “CA Grown” flower bouquets were delivered to members of the legislature.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, proudly wearing her "CA Grown" button, during her remarks at Ag Day in Sacramento

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross provided the official remarks from the Brown administration, highlighting the importance of celebrating AgDay and the significant role California’s family farms plays in producing safe and healthy food, both nationally and internationally.

“This annual effort is an important opportunity for California’s agriculture community to work together to promote itself and highlight its significance,” explained CCFC CEO/Ambassador Kasey Cronquist.  “Working with Ann Quinn and her team at CSFA to showcase our industry on the steps of the Capitol, is just another opportunity for us to explain why California’s flowers are America’s flowers.”

 

Visit our Flickr page to see more photos from Ag Day

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The fresh new design look for 2013.

I am very excited about this year’s 2013 California Farm & Flower Guide.  The project is well underway, with another fantastic design by the team at Florists’ Review. This year’s project feels even more involved and important because of the increasing momentum for American Grown Flowers by consumers.

Because California represents approximately 80% of the flowers domestically produced, this guide provides a window into the flower fields of America.  While California may represent the majority of the domestic flowers grown in the United States, the vast majority of the flowers sold in the U.S. are foreign.  In fact, over 80% of all flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily from South America.

Therefore our farm guide becomes an important publication to help tell the story of our family flower farms in California, encouraging local retailers, florists, designers and event planners to pick American Grown flowers when they place their orders.  It makes a difference, not only to our farms, but to the communities that they support.

If you’d like a copy of one of our 2012 Farm Guide, please let me know and I’d be happy to send one to you.   In the meantime, be on the look out for the 2013 edition, its sure to be beautifully packed with what you might expect growing in California.

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All hands on deck at Mellano & Co, as farm workers bring the flowers and greens in from the field to meet Valentine's Day demand.

Each year I am impressed at how much media attention the cut flower and floral industry receives for Valentine’s Day.  Or maybe it’s that I’m actually more impressed at how little attention it gets, aside from our two big flower holidays; Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.

For our farms in California, it’s a rush to get the product from the field to consumers for an important holiday marked by love and romantic expectations.  For the Commission, it’s a rush to get answers, stats and interviews lined up for reporters on deadline to capture the short attention span of their readers and viewers.  However, this year I recognized a distinct theme of interest in the information being requested from the Commission.

That theme?  Origin Matters.

TIP: Red roses are classic. But pink, peach and lavender offer a unique spin. Check out these “NOT SO Usual Suspects” and ask for California Grown Flowers!

Reporters were, and are, increasingly interested in understanding where flowers come from and ask questions as to why not all flowers purchased this Valentine’s Day would be grown in the United States.  Obviously some reporters, those who call each year, are well aware that the majority of the flowers sold in the United States are from South America.  However, even they are almost always surprised to learn that less then 3% of all the roses sold in the U.S. this Valentine’s Day will be American Grown.

True story.

This graph is from a previous post I had written for Valentine's Day that you can find here: http://ccfc.org/blogs/blog/2011/03/07/where-do-your-roses-come-from-probably-further-than-you-think/

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, there are 27 rose farms remaining in California and roses continue to be a very important crop for our state.  However, relative to the production that arrived from offshore this week and last, it will be increasingly difficult for the average consumer to find, let alone identify, a bouquet of California or American Grown roses.  In fact, since federal trade policy was established in 1991 to allow for the duty free access of roses into the United States from Ecuador and Colombia, American flower farmers have seen almost all of the demand for roses move offshore (see graph above).

Ah, but with such challenge, there is the opportunity!

If a person is seeking romance this Valentine’s Day, if a person is wanting to be environmentally sensitive this Valentine’s Day, if a person is looking to mind all of the details involved with making this Valentine’s Day extraordinary for that special someone…then finding and giving a bouquet of California Grown or American Grown roses would go a long way in telling that special someone just how special they are!

Origin Matters!  Make this Valentine’s Day extra special and ASK for California Grown flowers.  It makes a difference!

  • Do you know where your flowers came from this Valentine’s Day?
  • What are you looking for when you’re buying flowers for that special someone?
  • Does origin matter to you?
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Detroit gets it.

Farmers are the hot new thing.

After a full two-minute ad by Ram Trucks during the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl (great game, darn Niners), I couldn’t help but feel an extreme sense of satisfaction that a company like Ram Trucks saw to it that their two minutes would be a tribute dedicated to the hard working American farmer.

Click on the image to view the commercial.

Of course, my satisfaction isn’t because I’m a farmer (I’m not), but rather that a company with their massive marketing budget, a company with their opportunity to advertise during the Super Bowl, a company that could have said anything they wanted to with their two minutes, chose to align their brand with the American farmer.

Apparently somebody at the top of their organization thought this approach would sell more trucks.

I think it would also sell more flowers.

And I think we’ve been saying that…

Now for our industry, Teleflora’s annual Super Bowl ad was suspiciously absent from this year’s Super Bowl commercial lineup.  However, consider for a moment if Teleflora were to take this approach in their marketing efforts?  Rather than “Save the Florists,” how about “Save the Farmer?”  The American Flower Farmer.

Not likely.

In fact, any effort like this by Teleflora would look more like Whole Foods’ effort with their Whole Trade Flowers. We can see how that is working for Whole Foods by reading their customers’ comments found on their own blog post promoting their Whole Trade Roses for Valentine’s Day:  http://wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/share-your-love-whole-trade-flowers

My point here is; why doesn’t our floral industry see the opportunity of association with the American farmer that Ram Trucks identified?

Origin Matters.  American Grown.  Buy Local.  Made in the U.S.A.  California Grown.

These statements can (and should) all be true and marketable statements when it comes to the flowers Americans really want.

If the California Cut Flower Commission had the ability to spend $4m on a thirty-second, sixty-second or two-minute Super Bowl commercial, I’m confident that we’d focus the entire time – and the entire budget – on driving home the connection between our farms, our farmers and our flowers.  It would have been a commercial featuring that same authentic, “American Grown,” value driven message that you saw by Ram Trucks and Jeep during this year’s Super Bowl.

However, I would submit to you that we don’t need a Super Bowl budget to make this message work for our industry, we just need retail champions to start working the message.

It’s true, when it comes to the field of competition, South America has the America flower farmers pinned back at the 20 yard line.  We currently represent less than 20% of all flowers sold in the United States, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Due to federal trade policy, America's flower farmers have lost their home-field advantage to the South American flower industry.

People do care where their flowers come from, they do support local and they will buy American Grown flowers if given the choice.

So, this week, I have to admit, I’ve gone to work each day feeling a bit more empowered and encouraged about the position of our nation’s flower farmers.

And for some reason…I want to buy a new Ram Truck.

The Ram brand has declared 2013 “The Year of the Farmer.”  I couldn’t agree more.

You can meet our flower farmers here: http://www.ccfc.org/flower-lovers/meet-a-farmer

How do you see the momentum for American Grown, Made in the U.S.A., products impacting the floral industry?  Do you see an opportunity for a resurgence in American flower farms driven by this consumer demand for local?

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