Designer Debi Lilly is ‘Floral Chef’ at Iconic Event
The annual Tower Bridge Dinner is the grand finale for Sacramento, California’s annual Farm-to-Fork Celebration. This year the event took on a floral focus with the addition of an American Grown Flowers tablescape created by Debi Lilly A Perfect Event.
Lilly, an event planner, floral designer and two-time American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour designer, served as the “floral chef” for the popular event where 800 diners gather for a multi-course meal at table that covers the length of the Tower Bridge.
She used hundreds of flowers of plants from farmers throughout California to create a multi-level tablescape that emanated fall sunshine and happiness. Think 440 vases of sunflowers. 440 vases of gerbera. 990 feet of bay leaf garland. 440 jack ‘o little pumpkins, 440 loose sunflower blooms, 440 succulents.
And in a nod to a popular feature at all American Grown Field to Vase Dinners, the event also include two boutonniere bars where guests crafted bouts and posy bouquets using California Grown Flowers.
“Everyone loved it and the bar was a dozen people deep the entire cocktail hour,” Lilly shared.
Throughout the Farm-to-Fork weekend, Lilly also hosted demonstrations on flower design trends and designed two trend tables that were fully dressed with linen, crystal, dishes, dozens of vases of American Grown Flowers and, of course, the Certified American Grown Debi Lilly bouquet.
She also recognized the farms that had contributed flowers to the event, gave a shout out to the flower farmers in attendance and discussed the importance of origin when it comes to selecting fresh blooms.
“Where flowers come from is as important as where food comes from. The origin of our food has been a focus for years, and now it’s the big story for florals, too. A lot of consumers aren’t aware that many blooms are grown thousands of miles away in other countries, so helping share the American Grown Flower movement and the stories of the farm families is an incredible opportunity,” Lilly explains.
“For the last four years, we’ve been taking our American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour around the country to highlight that the homegrown movement isn’t just about food,” shares Kasey Cronquist, CEO and ambassador for Certified American Grown. It’s also about the flowers at the center of the table being as important as the food on your plate when it comes to sustainability, freshness and beauty. It was wonderful to see Safeway and Debi Lilly take that important floral message to this iconic food event in Sacrament, the nation’s Farm to Fork Capital.”
Ballots Due Oct. 9
If you haven’t already submitted your ballot for the 2018 CCFC Election, it’s not too late.
District ballots were sent in September to farms in those districts.
This year’s candidates for Districts 2 and 4 are:
Benno Dobbe, Holland America Flowers
Michael A. Mellano, Ph.D., Mellano & Co.
Ballots must be sent to CDFA, post-marked by Oct. 9, 2018, so don’t delay.
Contact CCFC’s Andrea Philpot with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flower Donations, Ambassadors Needed
Plans for the first two Certified CA Grown entries at the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade are already underway, and the ramp up to the New Year’s Day tradition has 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, including a number of equine entries.
The theme for the 2019 Rose Parade is “The Melody of Life,” an effort that pays homage to music as a language for all. This year’s Cal Poly’s float is titled “Far Out Frequencies.”
The float will feature two giant astronauts who are rocking out with a group of green aliens. At the front of the float will stand Morgan, a 12-foot astronaut who strums an electric guitar, and his new alien friend “Ketchup,” who plays air guitar. The space concert also includes Astronaut Sally on tambourine, two aliens on accordion and Tuba Head, a little alien whose head is stuck inside the instrument.
In addition to the featured characters playing their instruments, animation on the 2019 float includes the movement of eyes and arms on some of the aliens. LED lights will add sparkle to the planet’s crystal formations and the guitar amp.
The California Cut Flower Commission’s (CCFC) Anna Kalins, who leads the organization’s Rose Parade efforts, is seeking donations of flowers and greens for the Cal Poly float. In the past, 25 farms have donated flowers to the effort.
Also needed are Rose Parade ambassadors to help at the event itself and in the days leading up to the parade. It’s a great way to connect with consumers directly, share your passion for California Grown Flowers and spend time with industry friends!
To donate flowers or volunteer, email Kalins at email@example.com.
Many thanks to the following farms who have already graciously planned to donate flowers and greens:
Ocean View Flowers
Joseph & Sons
Sun Valley Group
Money Will Fund Retail Promotional Campaign
The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) now has yet one more way to promote California Grown Flowers, thanks to a Specialty Crop Block Grant valued at $176,730 from the California
Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
This is huge news (received just this week)! The funding will supercharge the Commission’s efforts to promote hardworking California flower farmers and tout the “origin matters” message.
Specifically, the grant will fund a retailer-specific California Grown Flowers promotional campaign in the month of June, also known as California Grown Flower Month, thanks to a declaration from the Legislature.
The campaign will launch in stores statewide in June 2019 and include custom marketing materials for each retailer, videos featuring California flower farmers for use during in-store promotions and a social media program touting the overall retail campaign and sharing the farmer videos.
In other words, we’ll be telling our farmers’ stories and sharing the bounty of flowers and greens they grow right here in California.
The goal of the campaign is to increase sales of California Grown Flowers in retail stores statewide and bring consumer attention to the origin of the flowers they purchase.
“This funding to promote California Grown Flowers and California Grown Flower Month could not be more timely,” shared Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador of CCFC. “We’ve seen how this celebration of California Grown Flowers really drives sales for our retailers during the month of June. It also helps raise awareness among consumers about the quality and value of buying California Grown and supporting our farms. It really does make a difference.”
After all, consumers continue to tell us that origin plays a huge part in their purchasing decisions, trumping terms like “organic” and “sustainable.” So it makes sense to drive home that message in hundreds of stores at the height of growing season.
We can’t wait to get this promotion underway! Your stories, your blooms, your efforts are worth sharing!
For 17 days this summer, California Grown Flowers were center stage at the California State Floral Association’s (CSFA) booth at the California State Fair. This year’s theme was “Back to the Floral Future.”
The fair’s run was kicked off at the California State Fair Gala on June 21 that featured flowers and foliage donated by California Pajarosa, Dramm & Echter, Glad-A-Way, Holland America Flowers, Joseph & Sons, Mellano & Company, Myriad Flowers International, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers and Sun Valley Floral Farms.
For more than two weeks, fair visitors learned about the value of buying California Grown Flowers and visiting local florists as they viewed floral arrangements at the CSFA booth. Visitors were also provided with post cards and other information about California Grown Flowers that was provided by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).
California flower farmers Robert Kitayama of Kitayama Brothers, Janet Louie of Green Valley Floral and Hannah Muller of Full Belly Farm also made appearances at the booth each weekend of the fair.
And flowers were the focus of the fair on July 22 which was declared Flower Day at the State Fair for the fourth year in a row.
In a love tribute, extra donated floral product was given to The Petal Connection, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect beautiful floral bouquets with local hospice patients and seniors in need of a little joy.
Battling it out with her fellow members in California’s State Assembly, Assemblymember Monique Limón showed off her floral design prowess, winning this year’s Floral Design Challenge hosted by the California Cut Flower Commission.
First held in 2016, the friendly design competition between legislators was created to help raise awareness for June as “California Grown Flowers Month,” and the value California’s flower-farming families bring to their communities and the economy.
Contestants had just five minutes to create their designs and members of the audience voted for their favorites by placing a marble in the jar after designs were complete.
This year’s competition was held in conjunction with the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, which hosted over 150 people for a farm-to-fork style dinner on the lawn of the state Capitol.
“I was prepared,” shared Limón, “Representing the largest flower-farming region in the United States, I was careful to listen to my constituents on what it would take to win.”
As the winner, Limón took home the coveted crystal vase. The vase will be displayed in Limón’s office and filled each month with flowers representing the Golden State.
The winner of the last Floral Design Challenge was Assemblymember Cooper.
On Monday, the California Senate officially declared June to be “California Grown Flowers Month.” The resolution was put forth by Sen. Mike McGuire who represents the state’s 2nd Senate District.
In honor of the declaration and accompanying resolution, senators, flower farmers and California Cut Flower Commission CEO and Ambassador Kasey Cronquist gathered on the Senate floor – California Grown Flowers in hand.
The resolution notes that the designation is designed “to recognize and honor the men and women of the California grown flower industry for their dedication and productivity,” and describes that statewide, flowers are grown across 701 million square feet, spanning the distance from San Diego through the Inland Empire to Carpinteria and north all the way to Oregon.
The resolution also recognizes 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.
It was a proud day, and we’re thrilled to celebrate California Grown Flowers Month throughout June. Join us!
On June 11, the California Senate will officially declared June “California Grown Flowers Month.” The resolution is being put forth by Sen. Mike McGuire who represents the state’s 2nd Senate District.
The resolution notes that the designation is designed “to recognize and honor the men and women of the California grown flower industry for their dedication and productivity,” and describes that statewide, flowers are grown across 701 million square feet, spanning the distance from San Diego through the Inland Empire to Carpinteria and north all the way to the Oregon border.
The resolution also recognizes 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 tax
The California Cut Flower Commission will be on the Senate floor with California Grown Flowers on June 11 for the formal presentation of the resolution declaring June as “California Grown Flowers Month.”
California Grown’s mission is to connect Californians with the people who grow and produce their food. Soon, they’ll be doing so via a new marketing campaign that’s described as a love letter to California.
The project will celebrate California agriculture through a digital media effort that includes live action and animated videos, and social media, among other approaches. The goal is to pay homage to the folks that produce all of the state’s crops in a lighthearted and fun way, explains Nick Matteis, executive director for the Buy California Marketing Agreement.
“We’ve taken the story of California agriculture to another level to send a love letter from our California producers and their fine products through a digital media effort we think will be a fabulous story to share with our audience,” Matteis says. “We’ll approach it from the idea that these crops are a gift from our farmers and farm workers for all to enjoy, and we’ll connect to where the product starts and where it ends up.”
That will be achieved with video and images provided by ag organizations – including Certified American Grown and the California Cut Flower Commission – that will show the growing process from planting to growing season to harvest to distribution.
“We’re excited about that fact that this campaign is a love letter from our farmers to the folks that enjoy the products. It’s a positive vibe on so many different levels,” Matteis says.
Be sure to watch for glimpses of amazing California Grown Flowers when the campaign launches!
Carlos Cardoza has an enviable problem. He can hardly keep up with demand for the novelty flowers grown at CamFlor in Watsonville where he’s the sales manager.
Since 2012, CamFlor has been growing at a steady rate of 10 to 12 percent a year. Some months it’s closer to 30 percent.
Something had to give.
In addition to recently renewing a 50-acre lease for flower-growing land, CamFlor is adding another (more…)
Take Inspiration From Them, Then Promote Women’s Day March 8!
Neighbors used to call Diana Roy “Flower Girl.”
“I never seemed to have quite enough flowers in my own yard, so I was always asking neighbors if I could cut some of theirs,” she says.
Now the business manager of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Roy has all the blooms she could possibly want. She’s combined her passion for flowers with her background in public relations to help make the farm one of California’s largest suppliers of (more…)
Rene Van Rems, Debi Lilly to Design Tablescapes at California Dinners
We’re always excited when things really start coming together for each of the American Grown Field to Vase dinners, but this year, the excitement is through the roof as we announce that two renowned floral designers have joined the tour.
Meet Rene Van Rems and Debi Lilly!
Rene Van Rems
Designing tablescapes at the April 7 Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, is Rene Van Rems, a renowned ambassador to the floral industry. Van Rems is a leading speaker, educator and demonstrator who has led workshops and design shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He’s also frequently featured at art museum events, including “Art Alive” in San Diego. (more…)
It’s not just floats that glide down Colorado Boulevard during the annual Rose Parade. There’s also an incredible group of vintage and contemporary cars – and for the last 5 years, all were adorned in California Grown flowers.
The floral designs for the VIP parade vehicles are the handiwork of Keith White, AIFD, lead designer for FTD, and breathtaking doesn’t begin to describe them.
Since 2006, White has arrived in Pasadena on Christmas Day; he begins working on the cars on Dec. 26, using “trade secrets” to be sure the vintage cars are protected as the flowers and foliage are added. Each car takes a full day to adorn, and this year there were two Honda pace cars and five vintage cars, each receiving unique floral designs.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s FTD California Grown car fleet: (more…)
Check out the 2018-19 American Floral Trends Forecast
Wrapped inside the pages of the January 2018 issue of Florist’s Review is the 2018-19 American Floral Trends Forecast.
And it’s glorious!
5 Breathtaking Stops Announced for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour
The fourth season of the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is underway, and Certified American Grown wants you to grab all of your flower-loving friends and head to a flower farm for an award-winning experience you’ll never forget.
Click the video above and imagine yourself at one of this year’s American Grown Field to Vase Dinners.
They have an exciting lineup of farms involved with this year’s floral-infused dinner tour. Known for stopping at America’s most beautiful flower farms, this year’s tour includes amazing destinations, and they’ve also made some notable tweaks to (more…)
Kelly Shore’s Doing Her Homework
A week spent in Alaska with flower farmers was the tipping point for Kelly Shore, owner and lead designer at Petals by the Shore in Maryland.
Shore was in Alaska to design the tablescapes for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner being held at Scenic Peonies last summer. She went there with a job to do, but when she left Alaska 10 days later, her gut told her that her next job would be to consider an awesome possibility: Sourcing 100 percent of the flowers and foliage she uses in her designs from American flower farms.
“When I went to Alaska and I saw what the farmers there face, it sparked something in me. I had some really good conversations with the flower farmers on the host farm and with other farmers in attendance, and I thought (more…)
Co-Owner of Ocean Breeze Farms Has Long History of Service, Advocacy
June Van Wingerden has been a constant force in the ag community, advocating for California cut flowers and water and labor issues for decades. The California State Senate recognized her dedication when they named her California’s Woman of the Year in 2005. Now, she’s bringing her heart for (more…)
Customers who visit The Bouqs Company website might be surprised to see some smiling faces posted alongside the flowers and custom bouquets sold on the site.
Just who are they? They’re the American flower farmers who grow a variety of blooms sold at the popular site. And in addition to getting a glimpse of the farmers and their locations, customers can also click to see a one- to two-minute documentary video about the farmer and their flower operation and read a brief bio of each farmer. (more…)
PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 1, 2018 — The Certified California Grown 2018 Rose Parade® entry from Cal Poly Universities has earned the Past President’s Trophy, an award that recognizes outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials. The float, designed, constructed and decorated by students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, included nearly 97 percent of cut flower and greens from California.
The float earned California Grown Certification at a ceremony Dec. 31 led by California Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross. Certified floats must be decorated with more than (more…)
It’s a year-end tradition that helps us both remember where we’ve been and chart a successful path into the new year – the top 10 list, that is.
And so as 2017 winds down, the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) is pleased to share our top 10 blog posts of the year. As you’ll see, the past year brought the flower industry growth, optimism, consumer awareness and a bit of anxiety toward to the end thanks to a round of wildfires.
Here’s a look at our most-read posts of 2017 (more…)