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!

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…)

Certified American Grown Flowers has selected Where Food Comes From Inc. (WFCF) as its official exclusive third-party certifier.

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.”

Flowers Canada announces their own version of the “Field to Vase” dinner tour concept.

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.”

The dinner tour is underwritten in part by the Canadian government.

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.

Hope Flower Farm

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.

Holly Chapple

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.

Save your seat!

Planning for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is underway. If you would like to have the tour stop at your farm, fill out an application today.

Beth VanSandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies.

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.

Kelly Shore of Petals By the Shore was the featured designer at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, Alaska.

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.

Dave Thorne of Delicious Dave’s with Certified American Grown Administrator and dinner emcee Kasey Cronquist.

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!

Peter Moran

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

Kate Penn

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

Encinitas, California

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.

Designers compete in front of a live audience during the annual competition.

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.

 

[Click to watch video of Hope Flower Farm] The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner will kick off a week of flower filled festivities at Hope Flower Farm in October. Make sure you save your seat today!

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.

 

Holly Chapple, founder of the collective of designers known as the Chapple Designers, will be hosting the next American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in October. Click to save your seat today!


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.

 

A former dairy farm, Hope Flower Farm now plays hosts to floral design workshops, events and the next American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in October.

 

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.

 

Reserve your seat today!

 

Certified American Grown Flowers is celebrating its third anniversary!

The largest consumer facing brand of its kind in the floral industry, the Certified American Grown brand can be found on the sleeves of flowers throughout the United States all year long.

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.

Branded sleeves make it easy for consumers, designers and florists to quickly identify Certified’s homegrown bloom guarantee.

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.

Click to watch Congressman Carbajal introduce the resolution onto the House floor.

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.”

Flower farmers rallied in Washington, D.C. earlier this year to advocate for America’s flower farming families.

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.

 

Great social media support throughout the month of July came from farms, flower lovers and industry partners like Syndicate Sales.

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.

 

Sun Valley proudly displays the “CA Grown” logo on their bunches of iris.


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.

Guests enjoying an evening of great food, wine and flowers during our American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, Alaska.

With five of the seven 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinners in the books, planning has begun for the 2018 tour.

Certified American Grown Flowers recently put out a call for farms who would like to host a pop-up dinner in their flower fields for the 2018 season, the fourth year of the tour.

Would you like to be a part of the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour? Let us know by filling out an application today and click on the link above!

 

Stay tuned for details on where the tour will head in 2018! We may be coming to a city near you!

Kendall Farms

Fallbrook, California

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…)

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.

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers

Fallbrook, California

When Diana Roy looks out across the steep, brush-covered hillside Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers purchased a few years ago, she sees a vast world of opportunity.

That’s why Roy, business manager for Resendiz Brothers, is excited to share the company’s plans to expand its production by 43 acres over the next three years. And the farm won’t just grow in size, it will also expand into (more…)

 

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.

Green Valley Floral

Salinas, California

Green Valley Floral is so confident in the California cut flower market that it has doubled down on two innovative expansion efforts. The firm has formalized its rose propagation program and has broadened its brokered product offerings – two moves that demonstrate strong demand for the bounty of California Grown Flowers.

A rose propagation program that Green Valley started two years ago as a trial has become official, says Janet Louie, sales manager and owner. In fact, Green Valley Floral has doubled the space dedicated to propagation and can now grow enough plants replace the 400,000 square feet of rose plants it grows as the plants meet their lifespan (roses need replacing every five to seven years).

In addition to being able to replace plants, the propagation venture allows Green Valley Floral to expand into new rose varieties. Louie says they are transitioning from hybrid tea roses to garden-style single stem and spray versions to meet demand.

“We specialize in event work and garden-style roses are wildly popular as far as color, shape and scent,” Louie explains.

Janet and Curtis Louie of Green Valley Floral. Janet Louie serves as a Commissioner for the California Cut Flower Commission in District 2. Green Valley is a Certified American Grown Flower Farm.

On a second expansion front, Green Valley Floral – growers of hydroponic roses, gerberas and lilies – is also broadening the flower and foliage varieties it offers customers by increasing the products it purchases from local farmers.

Beautiful double lilies grown in California by Green Valley Floral.

Louie estimates she’s purchasing product from as many as 20 nearby small farms, allowing Green Valley Floral to sell California grown delphinium, gardenias, stephanotis, dahlias, dusty miller, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium leaves and ming fern, to name just a few.

On any given day, Louie can offer customers 30 to 50 additional flower and foliage products, helping surrounding flower farmers along the way.

She says uncovering and bringing additional original products to market is exciting and helps meet her customers’ appetite for sustainable American Grown Flowers that are grown within a few miles of her farm.

The bottom line – Louie’s optimistic about flower farming and customer demand for locally sourced flowers.

“If you’re going to grow the best flowers on Earth, this is the place to be. Sure, there are changes in the ag community in terms of labor and energy for example, but the demand remains. I can feel it. Customers call us more often than I call them,”  Louie says.

 

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.

Ocean Breeze Farms

Carpinteria, California

Tucked between the coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean, June Van Wingerden can look out almost any window and see rows of greenhouses spilling over with gerbera daisies.

She can’t wait to add more.

“We’re in the process of getting permits to build 6 acres of greenhouse to grow lilies in,” says the owner of Ocean Breeze Farms.“Right now, it’s just dragging.”

You can’t have too many greenhouses in Carpinteria. The area, dubbed California’s “flower basket,”is known for supplying half the state’s cut flowers. At one point, as many as 90 percent of gerbera daisies in the United States were germinated in one of the extended Van Wingerden family’s nurseries.

“Demand is great. Almost every greenhouse is growing gerberas in Carpinteria,” she says. “They’re kind of known as the California flower because they’re hard to ship, so they don’t travel as well from South America.”

Rene VanWingerden giving a tour during the annual Carpinteria Greenhouse Open House.

With around 40 acres of greenhouses, June and Rene Van Wingerden work hard to keep up their gerbera numbers while also expanding their other varieties. In addition to buying another 4-acre gerbera nursery with Rene’s brother, they’re looking forward to adding new high-end greenhouses that will help them grow oriental lilies more efficiently.

“The new greenhouses are all hydroponic so they use less water,” June says. “You have better control of insects because when it’s closed, it’s really closed. And there’s a lot less upkeep on a metal greenhouse than a wood greenhouse.”

June VanWingerden is a Commissioner for District 3 and Vice Chair of the California Cut Flower Commission.

Efficiency is a priority at Ocean Breeze. By growing all of their gerbera daisies hydroponically, they’re able to collect, sterilize and reuse their water three times. These types of efficient growing practices, combined with a healthy local groundwater supply and mild coastal weather, have helped shelter Carpinteria farmers from the effects of the drought.

“Everybody’s become more efficient at growing,” she says. “For example, with gerberas, you can grow minis instead of the regular size and you can grow a lot more of them in the same area.”

For the Van Wingerdens, growing flowers isn’t just a business. It’s a family tradition that stems from centuries growing fruits and vegetables in Holland. In the 1960s, Rene’s dad and uncles moved their families to Carpinteria where they started growing carnations, freesias and chrysanthemums. After working in his father’s business for several years, Rene started his own farm – named Ocean Breeze for the pleasant climate that makes the area ideal for flower farming.

“We’re kind of blessed here. It’s a real farming community with a small beach town to go with it,” June says. “It’s just the perfect place.”

Learn more about Ocean Breeze Farms.

June and Rene VanWingerden of Ocean Breeze Farms.

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.

Joseph & Sons

Santa Paula, CA

Tony Ortiz once asked his dad why he chose to grow flowers.

“He just said it’s something he was really good at,” says the operations manager for Joseph & Sons, the flower farm his father founded 13 years ago. “Harvesting flowers wasn’t anything like growing lemons or avocados or strawberries, and he was definitely good at it.”

For himself, Ortiz can’t imagine a future without acres of larkspur and stock stretching before him. That’s why he’s hungry to add more fields to the family business, which already encompasses more than 400 acres of field flowers spread between Santa Paula, Lompoc and Imperial Valley. He recently had his eye on a 20-acre property, and he’s on the lookout for other likely prospects.

“We’re definitely interested in any agricultural land that’s available to invest in for the future,” he says. “Adding more acreage is something that’s going to be part of my dad’s legacy. When you add more acreage you add more water rights, different climates and the possibility of building more hoop houses. It’s very important for my family to invest in land.”

Flowers are in his blood. His childhood is peppered with memories of riding the tractor with his brother, driving the water truck with his dad for the first time, and harvesting blooms with his mom.

“I get a sense of peace in the flower fields,” he says. “There are no car horns, no one revving up their engine. It’s very serene to look at a hoop house that’s ready for harvest, full of pink snapdragons or blue waltz.”

Joseph & Sons grows about 15 different flower varieties throughout the year, with stock and larkspur available year-round. The farm recently added dianthus to its rotation and is working on boosting production through increased efficiency as well as expansion.

Installing solar panels to power the company’s warehouse, coolers and offices was a big step toward making the business more sustainable—but it’s just one part of his plan to shore up the family farm for the future.

“We’re adding new varieties and new colors as they become available,” he says. “We’re looking at seeds that are more drought-resistant and resistant to inclement weather. We’re also looking into investing in machinery to increase production.”

He doesn’t see the demand for California flowers slowing down anytime soon.

“The industry is very healthy,” he says. “We definitely outshine a lot of the competition. If given the choice between local and imported, most people prefer locally grown flowers.”

Jose Ortiz Sr. founded Joseph & Sons.

As his dad prepares to celebrate his 76th birthday, the family is also working on a transition plan to help the farm change hands into the next generation of ownership. With three generations currently working in the business, including two of his siblings and one nephew, “we’re laying down a very strong foundation for the future,” he says.

Whatever the future may bring, he’s certain it will involve more fields and hoop houses bursting with colorful blooms.

“I’ve always known about the importance of flowers,” he says. “They’re food for the soul.”

Learn more about Joseph & Sons.

Joseph & Sons is a family business, continuing to grow through the next generation.