This year’s hurricanes put a fine point on the need for domestic flower production. The storms and their aftermaths left many wholesalers nationwide scrambling to find domestic sources of flowers and foliage while the Port of Miami remained closed.
And since recoveries from these storms take a bit of time, the need for new connections can’t be overstated.
The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) has a tool in place that makes finding sources for American Grown Flowers easy. Almost like that “easy button” in those office supply commercials.
When you visit the CCFC’s Farmer Directory, you’ll find flower farmers throughout California who are renowned for growing spectacular blooms and foliage. Search by variety, location or distribution method, and use our map to get a birds-eye view of all of our farms’ locations throughout the Golden State.
Once you meet our farmers, we’re convinced you’ll appreciate all they have to offer – glorious, sustainably grown flowers and foliage that go from field to vase in no time.
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.
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.
Just one stop remains on the award-winning 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. The pop-up dinner is headed to FernTrust Inc. in Seville, Florida, on November 18. Don’t miss this last stop in 2017!
After all, our Oct. 8 dinner at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, was sold out weeks in advance. And we’re expecting sellout dinners in 2018, too.
Despite significant damage from Hurricane Irma, David Register, FernTrust’s executive vice president, is promising an amazing event. In fact, he thinks the hurricane presented the perfect opportunity to really educate guests about how fern and foliage farmers handle whatever Mother Nature deals them – and bounce back in record time.
The hard working farmers of the FernTrust cooperative rebounded in a matter of days post Irma, filling as many orders as possible just two days after the storm. This after clearing roads of trees, getting generators started to keep harvested fern cool and working to repair damaged shade cloth.
If the team at FernTrust is this resilient, you can bet they’ll pull off the experience of a lifetime for the Field to Vase Dinner. And the learning – that will be hurricane force. Guests will enjoy a multi-course artisanal meal surrounded by fresh fern. Floral design celebrity J Schwanke will wow guests with his designs – making this even more of a must-attend event.
J plans to create a full-on foliage experience using time-honored techniques and textures to bring the excitement of the "all-foliage" trend to the dining table. He’ll leverage Pantone’s color of the year, Greenery, to immerse guests in the depth, beauty and passion of the latest “all things foliage” look.
Add the VIP farm tour with Register to learn more about fern growing and how he and his team have bounced back from two hurricanes in a row.
Make your experience truly fantastic by adding the foliage design workshop J Schwanke, also on Nov. 18, from 9-11 a.m. At this exclusive event you’ll learn how to weave palm leaves into nautilus shells, create aspidistra roses and attach Milky Way foliage to wine and
champagne glasses. Each participant will also make their own all foliage crown and foliage centerpiece.
Plus, you’ll get hands on in helping create the exclusive foliage photo backdrops that will be part of the dinner.
Show your support for Florida’s hard-hit fern farmers and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience dining among the fern in the “Fern Capital of the World.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
Certified American Grown recently published its first “Farm & Flower Guide” in collaboration with Florists’ Review. The publication includes Certified American Grown farm profiles, a botanical directory and a national directory of American flower farms.
Distributed in a special polybagged edition of Florists’ Review and SuperFloral magazines, the guide’s purpose is to be a resource for the industry as momentum for American Grown Flowers continues to grow and provide opportunities to (more…)
The new partnership will be launched via video conference on September 14, introducing the team at WFCF and highlighting program improvements as well as the new benefits of the Certified program going forward.
WFCF is an agriculture-focused certification company that specializes in origin claims for food and products. Based in Castle Rock, Colorado, WFCF has over 20 years of experience with source verification programs and is recognized as the No. 1 provider of certification and verification services to the food industry.
“WFCF’s depth of experience, paired with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the great potential they see in further developing Certified American Grown, will really help take our program to another level,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator for Certified American Grown.
Millions of stems of flowers are now Certified American Grown every year to help consumers quickly identify homegrown blooms at point of purchase.
Certified American Grown is the largest consumer-facing brand in the floral industry, communicating the importance of origin and buying American Grown Flowers.
With WFCF in place, Certified American Grown has created a new online audit processing system that streamlines the procedure for farms seeking to earn this valuable certification for marketing and increasing sales.
Earning certification as an American Grown flower farm not only communicates the homegrown origin of a farm’s flowers and foliage, it also helps consumers quickly make purchasing decisions based on their understanding of quality, sustainability, seasonality, freshness and consistency.
The American Grown Flowers brand symbolizes a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms representing small and large entities across the country. Together, the brand and its logo give consumers confidence in the homegrown source of their flowers and assure them that the bouquets and bunches they purchase come from an American flower-farming family.
“The Certified American Grown national marketing program that we’ve really does help drive our sales,” explains Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peonies. “It’s the only guarantee in the floral industry and our customers tell us they are seeing sales increase in their stores with the Certified American Grown logos.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to be selected as the exclusive certification company for Certified American Grown,” shared Leann Saunders, co-founder and COO of Where Food Comes From. “We see great potential for this program. Combined with our certification experience within the agricultural industry, we’re excited to see this program grow for America’s flower farmers.”
Floral Daily recently announced that Flowers Canada (Ontario) has launched its own version of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, calling it “Petals & Plates.”
The Petals & Plates dinner series will stop at three Canadian greenhouses during the months of September and October to help highlight, “Canadian flower growers and their importance in our agricultural landscape.”
Next up, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour stops at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, Oct. 8 where guests will meet floral designer turned flower farmer Holly Chapple.
Located in the heart of Loudoun County’s breathtaking countryside, Hope Flower Farm is a tranquil retreat, design facility and destination (also a registered bed and breakfast) where American Grown Flowers and floral designers learn and grow together. Certified American Grown in 2015, Hope Flower Farm covers 25 lush acres deep in the Northern Virginia rural landscape. The historic site was once a working dairy farm and has several impressive barns and a stone Quaker house dating back to 1820.
As the 2017 tour winds down, you don’t want to miss this chance to tour this amazing farm, enjoy a multi-course gourmet meal and hear from Holly and husband, Evan, about their passion for American Grown Flowers.
The most recent stop for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour was Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska. This dinner marked the 22nd dinner in three years as the event continues to crisscross the country. It’s also a dinner that was a year in the making!
This Field to Vase Dinner spotlighted a burgeoning group of peony farmers who harvest glorious, massive peonies during the months of July and August, when there aren’t typically any available in the lower 48.
Despite the remote location, the dinner played to a sold-out crowd of 116 people, many who flew into Anchorage and made the drive to Homer. A number of people from Fairbanks and Anchorage also attended.
Certified American Grown flower farmers Beth VanSandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies, along with an incredible team of friends and family, prepared the farm and hosted an amazing event.
Kelly Shore of Petals By The Shore was the featured floral designers – you may remember her from the CCFC’s work on the the First Lady’s Luncheon earlier this year. Working with Beth, Kelly created a tablescape and design installations that honored the Alaskan fishing culture and the entrepreneurial spirit of Alaska’s peony farmers, while highlighting how all growing momentum for American Grown Flowers.
Chef Dave Thorne of Delicious Dave’s did an outstanding job with the evening’s salmon dinner, especially the king salmon caught the day before on the Kenai River.
Despite the distance to the location, the Alaskan Field to Vase Dinner exceeded expectations – proving that the appetite for American Grown Flowers is a healthy one!
Society of American Florist CEO Peter Moran will retire at the end of the year after 33 years with the industry’s national trade association.
Kate Penn, currently chief content officer and editor-in-chief of SAF’s flagship publication Floral Management, will assume the role of CEO effective Nov. 1, after which Moran will help work through the transition through the end of the year.
Moran joined SAF in 1985 and became SAF’s executive vice president and CEO in 1991. During the next 26 years, he oversaw several significant changes at the association, including the implementation of a strategic plan that shifted SAF from a segment-driven organization to one guided by its key objectives of providing
government advocacy, business guidance and consumer marketing. Moran has also led several efforts to put flowers in the consumer spotlight, including his oversight of SAF’s involvement in coordinating the floral décor for four presidential inaugurations.
Penn was hired by SAF as a writer and editor (1987) and then named editor-in-chief (1990) and publisher (1993), vice president of publishing and communications (1999) and, eventually, chief content and publishing officer (2014). Penn has been a key member of SAF’s senior management team and has participated in SAF board meetings since 1999.
Over the next several weeks, the California Cut Flower Commission will be highlighting California flower farmers who are investing in the future and growing their farms through a series of blog posts entitled, “California Growing.” With increasing demand for American Grown Flowers, these farms reflect the dedication, commitment and hard work that is being made to deliver high quality, consistent, year-round supply of fresh cut flowers and greens.
Dramm & Echter
There are a handful of conditions that flowers need to grow well. Sun. Water. The proper temperature. Humidity. And carbon dioxide.
Get these things right and flower productivity really takes off.
Flower farmer Bob Echter of Dramm & Echter is investing in ensuring flower-growing conditions are just right for the flowers and greens he grows. This approach nets increased productivity to meet the demand from customers who can’t get enough of his (more…)
Certified American Grown Flowers is sponsoring the 50th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition, the longest running, live, national floral industry design competition.
The event will be held Sept. 9, 2017, during the Society of American Florists (SAF) 2017 convention in Palm Beach, Florida.
During the competition, the nation’s best floral designers are given the same flowers (all American Grown), foliage and design supplies and have just two hours to create a design.
Grand prize winners receive $3,000, the Sylvia Cup trophy, recognition at the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner and complimentary registration to the next SAF convention. Two runners-up receive $500 and $250 respectively, an award plaque and recognition at the awards dinner.
The next stop for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner tour is Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, on October 8. With every stop so far on this year’s tour sold out, it’s not too soon to save your seat.
Hope Flower Farm covers 25 lush acres deep in the Northern Virginia rural landscape. The historic site was once a working dairy farm and has several impressive barns and a stone Quaker house dating back to 1820.
The farm is the brainchild of Holly and Evan Chapple and is a place where American Grown Flowers, creativity and relationships are celebrated, as well as being a playground for floral design and teaching.
Attend the Field to Vase Dinner and be transported by the historic charm of the grounds at Hope Flower Farm as you dine on a four-course artisanal meal paired with local wine, craft beer and a signature cocktail.
Holly, both farmer and designer, will grace dining tables with her floral designs, bringing her signature style that’s been called “Hollyish,” in other words, wistful, sophisticated and stylish.
Also included are a pre-dinner reception, farm tour and a floral design demonstration.
The Certified American Grown program was launched July 1, 2014, to help educate the buying public on the importance of the origin of their flowers. After all, a consumer research study recently found that 74 percent of people had no idea where the flowers they purchased where grown, yet 58 percent of them would prefer to buy homegrown blooms if given the choice.
The Certified American Grown Flowers brand represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. The group now certifies hundreds of millions of stems of flowers each year, guaranteeing consumers that the flowers they are purchasing were grown in the U.S.
Certified American Grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow.
When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and guarantees that the flowers they purchase were grown by an American flower farming family.
Last month, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.”
Co-sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families.
Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month.
“I have seen firsthand the value the cut flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my visits with our Central Coast growers,” said Rep. Carbajal. “California produces three-quarters of all cut flowers grown in the United States. I am committed to recognizing their contribution by designating July as American Grown Flowers Month, in order to celebrate the beauty this industry brings to our homes and celebrations year-round.”
It’s a movement that’s gained tremendous traction in recent years as consumers become more and more concerned about the origin of the products they bring home.
“Origin matters,” explains consumer advocate Debra Prinzing, author of the book Slow Flowers and member of the Certified American Grown Council. “As the founder of American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), I have witnessed a profound culture shift in flower buying in the United States. Like the slow food movement, more and more Americans are looking for a better and more sustainable choice when buying their flowers.”
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Lisa Murkowski introduced a similar measure in the Senate.
California is the largest producer of cut flowers and greens in the United States, providing almost 80 percent of domestic production and approximately $300 million in farmgate value. But these flowers aren’t being grown on corporate farms or by multi-national conglomerates. These flowers come from family farms, dedicated to the craft of growing flowers, in some cases, for more than six generations.
With growing consumer interest in where products, like our food (and flowers), are coming from, the CCFC has been telling the stories of many of the state’s flower farmers through a story-telling series called “California Growing.”
The articles highlight family farms, their flowers and their continuing commitment to grow, develop and expand their operations to meet the increasing demand for flowers grown here in the U.S.
This collection of stories provides great examples of investments California flower farmers are making in growing their farms and increasing production – and their bullish outlook on their future ahead.
Read, and relish, the stories here. We know you’ll be impressed by what flower farmers are up to.
Visitors to the Kendall Farms website learn instantly there’s a key word this farming family has an affinity for. “Obsessed.”
It’s right there in the “About Us” section: Kendall Farms is a family owned and operated business, obsessed with growing the finest flowers and greens in the most conscientious way. Seriously, we’re obsessed.”
Flower farmers Jason and Danielle Kendall are applying that obsession to several new initiatives – programs and processes that both expand what they’re offering to consumers and create efficiencies that allow them to meet ever-increasing consumer demand.
“We’re going 100 miles an hour in 100 directions,” Jason explains. “We’ve been in total growth mode over the past year. We see great opportunities with California Grown Flowers and Certified American Grown Flowers.”(more…)