Bill Language Supports Floriculture Report

The U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has approved a bill to fund the Agriculture Department and related agencies for fiscal year 2020. The bill provides discretionary funding of $23.1 billion, $58 million over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $4.1 billion over the budget request. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $128.6 billion.

The bill also includes language that supports funding for the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) annual Floriculture Crops Report, the only report providing national stats on the cut flower sector.

The bill’s report language states: “The Committee recognizes the importance of the Floriculture Crops Report and recommends an increase of $500,000 for NASS to complete the report. The Committee directs NASS to include data from Alaska in compiling the report.”

Sen. Dianne Feintstein has met with California flower farmers each year at the annual Certified American Grown DC Fly-In. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and Certified American Grown worked closely with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ensure that language supporting the annual Floriculture Report was included.

Senator Murkowski, shown here with flower farmers at the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase Dinner in July, has long been a friend and advocate of the American flower farmer. Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

This year and in 2018, CCFC submitted appropriations requests to both the House and Senate, and had numerous discussions with Members advocating about the importance of the report. The report was also a topic at the annual Washington, D.C. fly-in.

In 2018, during the annual Certified American Grown DC Fly-in, a team of flower famers elevated the issue for reinstating the annual floriculture report directly to USDA NASS officials and worked with members of Congress to help secure the funding necessary for its reinstatement.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

As you may know, the report was quietly suspended in 2016, but as a result of CCFC and Certified American Grown’s advocacy for fiscal year 2019, the report was bought back and released in May 2019.  The Society of American Florists (SAF) also lobbied for the report.

The approval of the ag funding bill with language supporting the Floriculture Crops report is a huge win for America’s flower farmers!

Regarding the overall bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “This bill funds our nation’s agriculture and nutrition programs and directly influences the quality of life in rural America. It provides our farmers and ranchers the support they need. This is a good committee product, and I thank Senators Hoeven and Merkley for working together to craft this legislation. It deserves the backing of the full Senate.”

Next, the bill will be placed on the legislative calendar for a vote.

The results are stunning!

During California Grown Flowers Month in June, retailers like Bristol Farms and Northern California Safeway stores went above and beyond in creating displays, point-of-purchase materials and special offers on California Grown Flowers.

With the data now in, we’re excited to share that their efforts to promote homegrown flowers and share the importance of flower origin with customers paid off!

Safeway store 1761 in Lincoln, CA participated in the CA Grown Flowers Month promotion and saw their sales increase 31.5% in the month of June.

Participating NorCal Safeway stores saw enormous increases in cut flower sales in June. How big, you ask?

One store’s cut flower sales were up 31.5% (Store 1761 in Lincoln, CA) in June. Others saw increases of 26.8% (Store 1617 in Burney, CA), 23.8% (store 1617 in Roseville, CA) and 5.6% (store 2683 in El Dorado Hills, CA).

The entire NorCal division saw an increase in cut flower sales of 5.4%.

Another beautiful display showing CA Grown Flowers was seen at Safeway store 1617 where they saw an impressive 23.8% increase in sales.

Talk about putting an end to the summer slump!

Bristol Farms stores created eye-catching displays using CA Grown Flowers Month signage and sharing Flower Farmer stories.

Bristol Farms stores also went all out to promote California Grown Flowers with displays that included farmer’s stories and CA Grown Flowers Month signage.

Employees also donned the blue and gold celebratory logo to help spread the word to customers.

We’re already making plans for California Grown Flowers Month 2020! If you want to increase sales, spread the word about the state’s cut flower farmers and create breathtaking displays during one of the biggest flower-producing months, be sure to join us!

Flower Donations, Ambassadors Needed

Plans for the first two Certified CA Grown entries at the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade are already underway, and the full 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 at least 85% CA Grown flowers and foliage – allowing them to meet certification requirements.

The 2018 Cal Poly Universities float won the Past Presidents trophy, which recognizes innovation.

Additional CA Grown entries will be announced in coming weeks, including a number of equine entries.

The theme for the 2020 Rose Parade is “The Power of Hope,” and the goal is for every entry to celebrate the influence optimism and hope can have on the world.

This year’s float from Cal Poly Universities – they’re 72nd – is titled “Aquatic Aspirations.”

The student-created entry will feature an optimistic submarine that sets out into the deep blue sea aspiring to discover fortune and riches, but instead comes across something much better than ever expected. With the help of some aquatic sea life – including jellyfish, sea turtles and a school of vibrant fish – the explorers are guided to a breathtaking underwater home thriving among the pieces of an old sunken ship.

“As Cal Poly students setting off on an exploration into our futures, we never know what treasures we might encounter as we aspire to achieve our goals. The spirit of discovery conveyed by our float embodies the idea that no matter what dreams you strive to achieve, hope can be a powerful guide to reaching your own treasure,” described Cal Poly’s float team in a Facebook post.

Cal Poly students celebrated the certification of their 2017 float entry, “Dreams Take Flight”. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

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. This year, the Sun Valley Group and Pyramid Flowers are growing specific flowers requested by students for the float, but additional flowers are needed.

Ambassadors have a great opportunity to connect personally with the public
who are coming to see the floats and educate them about CA Grown Flowers.
Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

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 akalins@ccfc.org.

Tour, Discussions Put Focus on Key Issues, Industry Innovations

While flower farmers make a visit to Washington, D.C., each year to connect with policymakers, a recent meeting with staff from Congressman Salud Carbajal’s office brought policymakers to the flower farm.

Last week, Jeremy Tittle, chief of staff, and Erin Sandlin, agriculture legislative assistant, visited Ocean Breeze Farms in Carpinteria on behalf of Carbajal, a co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.

While there, Tittle and Sandlin toured the farm and met with farmers Rene and June Van Wingerden, chair of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). They were joined by CCFC interim CEO Dave Pruitt and Jumana Misleh, CCFC’s federal affairs representative.

Jeremy Tittle and Erin Sandlin of Congressman Carbajal’s office, discuss cut flower policy concerns with Ocean Breeze farmers Rene and June Van Wingerden.

During the meeting, the Van Wingerdens summarized the top three cut flower issues they believe Congressman Carbajal should focus on: enforcement of labeling laws on imported flowers, passing the American Grown Act and immigration reform.

Tittle and Sandlin responded by agreeing to follow up on the labeling issue and promising to review alternative ways to move the American Grown Act, including looking at modifying appropriations language. They also indicated that while discussions on immigration reform continue, the chances of action on the issue this year are slim.  

Farmer Rene Van Wingerden discussing the growth process and innovative care practices of Gerbera daisies with Tittle and Sandlin.

The group then toured an Ocean Breeze Farms greenhouse, learning about the growing process of Gerbera daisies and hearing about the innovations implemented on the farm, including hydroponic growing and integrated pest management, which has made the operation chemical-free.

Also discussed during the tour were the slim margins flower farmers face, how farms are cutting costs with efforts like using plants for longer periods, and the importance of a consistent, skilled labor force.

Tittle and Sandlin left California with a deeper understanding of flower farming and a pledge to continue to provide support for California’s flower farmers in Washington, D.C.

“Meetings like these continue to stress the importance of having a strong relationship with our state and federal representatives to educate and convey the issues that all flower farmers face,” notes CCFC’s Pruitt. “We hope that through meetings like this, we continue to ensure a bright future for American flower farmers.”

David L. Pruitt, a horticulture consultant and former flower farmer, has been named the interim CEO and ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) by the organization’s board of commissioners. Pruitt, a past chair and one of the founders of CCFC, will take the helm on July 15. 

Dave Pruitt is welcomed as the interim CEO and ambassador
by June Van Wingerden, Chair of the CCFC Board.

For the past five years, Pruitt has represented International Horticultural Technologies in business development, sales and technical support. He was previously the general manager of Ball Tagawa Growers, and spent 25 years as a flower farmer and owner of Sea Coast Greenhouses in San Diego County. 

He currently serves on the board of the Kee Kitiyama Research Foundation, the Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association and the Agriculture Liaison Advisory Board that advises the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, along with a host of other volunteer roles in the agriculture and cut flower industries. He’s also served on the Growers Council and Membership Committee for the Society of American Florists, and is a past member of the Cal Poly Advisory Council for Horticulture and Row Crops.

During his time as a flower farmer, Pruitt helped establish the San Diego Flower Auction and served on its board of directors. 

As one of the founders of the CCFC, Dave Pruitt shared the history of the Commission
at the celebration of the CCFC’s 25th Anniversary in 2015. Photo by Linda Blue.

“I’m thrilled to have Dave come on board as the interim CCFC executive officer. He has a depth and breadth of experience in the floral industry and a strong connection to the commission. We feel very fortunate that he was available to step into this role,” said CCFC Chair June Van Wingerden.

“As one of the founders of CCFC, I take pride and passion in coming back to support my fellow farmers as the interim CEO. I’ll continue the work to build on the incredible momentum the CCFC has created in the promotion of and advocacy for our flower and foliage farms,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt will lead CCFC until the search for a new executive, currently underway, is complete. 

# # #

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. 

These Videos Are A Feast For the Eyes!

Life’s celebrations always require a few things. Photos, videos and flowers! 

As California Grown Flowers Month comes to an end, we just had to share some of the most gorgeous videos featuring California Grow Flowers. 

These videos showcase the quality, diversity and breathtaking nature of the flowers and foliage grown by California flower farmers. 

Why not take a few minutes to bask in the beauty? 

Think of it as a meditation on the flower bounty grown right here in California! 

Watch now and get inspired!

June is California Grown Flowers Month
Meet Your California Flower Farmer
What Makes California Unique!
Flower Farmer Family Stories

Dutch Lane’ Tulip Named In His Honor

A special breed of tulip has been named after Lane DeVries, president and CEO of The Sun Valley Group, at the International Floriculture Expo (IFE) in Miami Beach. This is the first time a flower farmer has been recognized with this honor.  

Called “Dutch Lane,” the new tulip is a crossbreed of Prominence X Ballerina and X Tres Chic from Vertuco BV.

Photos courtesy of The Sun Valley Group.

According to IFE, “Flower-naming events are a venerated tradition in Europe and the International Floriculture Expo feels privileged to bring this tradition stateside at the 10th Annual Flower Naming Ceremony! This ceremony honors floral industry pioneers who have made a significant impact over the course of their career.”

Honorees are chosen by a panel of floral industry leaders.

DeVries is a fourth generation tulip farmer who was born in Holland and immigrated to the U.S. in 1983.  

During the flower-naming ceremony, DeVries was recognized for being a “humble and gracious person with a continuous positive attitude, even when faced with some of the greatest challenges a business or person can face.”

Also noted were his constant innovation in the flower industry, his service to many flower-related organizations, his pioneering sustainability efforts, his love for data to drive decision-making and his award-winning effort to establish Women’s Day in the U.S.

DeVries helped usher in the American Grown Flower movement by becoming the first farm to become Certified American Grown. He’s also a past chair and a Commissioner of the California Cut Flowers Commission (CCFC) and a member of the Certified American Grown Council.

After 12 years of leadership, Kasey Cronquist is stepping down as CEO and ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). His last day will be July 12.

Kasey Cronquist has served the flower flowers of California for twelve years as the CEO and ambassador of the CCFC.
Photo by Ashley Noelle Edwards

The CCFC Board of Directors will appoint an interim leader to handle the day-to-day operations of the commission as it begins a search for a new executive.

“The CCFC has been fortunate to have had such an outstanding leader in Kasey for more than a decade. So much has been accomplished on behalf of California’s flower farmers under his direction. We wish him and his family all the best!” said CCFC Chair June Van Wingerden.

“For the past 12 years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving a dedicated group of flower farmers here in California,” Cronquist said. “We’ve accomplished so much and the CCFC is in a great position to leverage the momentum we’ve been able to generate with our marketing, sustainability and advocacy programs. I’m grateful for my time at the CCFC, for the successes we’ve shared and for the friendships we’ve established.”

Cronquist has been named president of the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). In his new role, starting July 29, he’ll serve all blueberry industry members by providing oversight and insight on the USHBC’s robust national and international promotion, health research and education programs.

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.

Hundreds To Dine On Lawn Of State Capitol

California Grown Flowers Month is being celebrated throughout June with recognition from the California Legislature, in stores with California Grown Flower displays and promotions, and by florists and consumers who are relishing the abundant varieties of homegrown blooms available this month.

But there’s one more way we’re recognizing the month! An American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on the lawn of the State Capitol building in Sacramento on June 12.  

Guests will enjoy a multi-course artisan meal at tables overflowing with California Grown Flowers and Greens from up and down the state. And they’ll hear from flower farmers about the tradition of flower farming in the Golden State and the importance understanding the origin of flowers and the use of sustainable growing practices.

It’s going to be a glorious celebration of the bounty of flowers and greens that come from the Golden State!

And as part of the evening, legislators will compete in a floral design contest where they’ll take their best shot at creating a breathtaking bouquet. For the last four years, the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) has hosted this design competition to bring even more attention to California Grown Flowers Month. Combining the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner with this annual tradition by CCFC helps guests, including California’s lawmakers, understand just how valuable the American Grown Flower movement has become.

Participating are: Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblywoman Monique Limón (2018 champion!), Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, Assemblymember Devin Mathis and Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The winner will receive a delivery of fresh American Grown Flowers each month for an entire year to display in their office! Now that’s worth battling for.

If you’d like to join the celebration, there are still a few seats left!

Several major retailers representing hundreds of stores have signed on to celebrate California Grown Flowers Month with in-store displays and promotions throughout June that draw attention to the wide variety of flowers from the Golden State.

Consumers are increasingly interested and concerned with the origin of their flowers. NorCal Safeway’s blue bucket campaign helps highlight their company’s commitment to buying California Grown Flowers to their customers.

Participating retailers are: Vons, Safeway, Gelson’s Markets, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres Natural Market.

In these stores, customers will find large displays, California Grown Flowers Month signage, California farmers’ stories, flower-centric special events and even flowers, wine and cheese pairing suggestions.

California Grown Flowers beautifully displayed in Vons in Santa Margarita, CA.

The campaign not only draws attention to the importance of buying the flowers produced by California’s flower-farming families and celebrates California Grown Flowers Month, but also drives sales.

Northern California Safeway stores that have regularly displayed and promoted California Grown Flowers and greens have reported double-digit sales increases due to their efforts.

The in-store celebrations are supported by a resolution by State Sen. Mike McGuire that declares June California Grown Flowers Month.

Senator Mike McGuire showers the Senate chambers with flowers each June to help declare June as California Grown Flowers Month.

McGuire’s annual resolution points out California’s leading role in flower-growing and the economic impact of the industry. The state’s growers produce three-quarters of the cut flowers in the U.S., provide 145,665 jobs and account for a total economic impact of $12.2 billion.

Celebrate California Grown Flowers Month!

Policymakers, Retailers Recognize Value of Cut Flowers, Flower Farmers

For the fifth year in a row, the California Legislature will honor the state’s flower farmers and recognize their contributions to the state’s economy and workforce by declaring June California Grown Flowers Month.

State Sen. Mike McGuire is again putting forth the resolution to “honor the men and women of the California grown flower industry for their dedication and productivity.”

“California is America’s premiere growing region for high-quality cut flowers,” McGuire said. “No one does it better than Golden State flower farmers, and because of their hard work, California accounts for 75 percent of all domestically supplied cut flowers in America.”

“To top it off, we are leading the world when it comes to sustainable growing practices and we couldn’t be more excited to recognize the hard work of the thousands who make California the best flower state in the nation.”

McGuire, who comes from a family of farmers in Sonoma County, represents a district that stretches from Marin County up to the Oregon border.

His resolution points out California’s leading role in flower-growing and the economic impact of the industry. The state’s growers produce three-quarters of the cut flowers in the U.S., provide 145,665 jobs and account for a total economic impact of $12.2 billion.

Members of the state Senate acknowledged California’s flower farmers for the value they bring to their communities and the state’s economy after the resolution was passed in 2018. Pictured left to right: Sen. Bill Monning, Sen. Henry Stern, California flower farmer Anthony Vollering (back), Sen.Hannah-Beth Jackson, Sen. John Moorlach, California Cut Flower Commission CEO and Ambassador Kasey Cronquist, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Sen. Kevin de Leon and Sen. Mike McGuire.

In addition to the resolution, retailers statewide will mark California Grown Flowers Month with in-store displays and promotions that draw attention to the wide variety of flowers from the Golden State they sell. So far, Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s Markets, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres Natural Market have announced plans to share the origin matters message with customers in their floral departments.

At Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres Natural Market, floral director Kristin Lares is planning to feature displays that emphasize the California Grown varieties of flowers and bouquets within her stores. The company has long been a champion of California Grown flowers, with 85 percent of its flowers coming from California. There are 13 Bristol Farms stores and five Lazy Acres markets in California.

To further emphasize Lazy Acres’ and Bristol Farms’ commitment to California, Lares plans to include signs that tell customers more about the farmers the source from.

“We offer California Grown Flowers and Greens year-round,” says Lares, “but we’re going take the month of June to celebrate the relationship we have with our California flower farming families.”

The stores also will feature flower-centric events including a free flower crown making workshop, which was a big hit with customers last year.

“Such events create an opportunity to engage customers one-on-one about California growing practices and our stores’ “farm-to-floor” flower practices,” Lares said.

Northern California Safeway stores plan to ramp up their ongoing “Blue Bucket Campaign” that displays dozens of California Grown Flowers in blue containers with coordinating California Grown Flowers month signage and flower farmer stories. Northern California Safeway stores will be celebrating California Grown Flower Month by providing a “pairing guide” highlighting fun ways to pair California Grown Flowers with California wine and cheese.

Safeway’s blue bucket campaign has drawn consistent attention to the beautiful CA Grown Flowers in each of their Nor Cal locations.

The campaign not only draws attention to the importance of buying the flowers produced by California’s flower-farming families and celebrate California Grown Flowers Month, but it also drives sales.

Safeway’s Northern California have seen double-digit increases in sales of California Grown flowers – think 12 to 16 percent – since the blue bucket campaign was started in 2017.

Watch this short video to learn more about California Grown Flowers Month and Safeway’s California Grown blue bucket program.

She Keeps Things Blooming at CCFC, Certified American Grown

Andrea Philpot, executive assistant for both the California Cut Flower Commission and the Certified American Grown program.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

If you think being a professional juggler is a job only available with a circus, think again. Andrea Philpot, executive assistant for the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and Certified American Grown, flawlessly juggles dozens of responsibilities on a daily basis.

Andrea greets guests of the Field to Vase Dinners making sure their experience begins with a smile. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

(more…)

‘There’s a Unique Story Behind Every Flower’

Mother’s Day is coming! Where will your flowers come from? Photo by Amy Kumler

Mother’s Day is Sunday, but California flower farmers have been preparing for this holiday for months!

After all, Mother’s Day tops Valentine’s Day as the No. 1 flower-giving holiday, notes Bill Prescott, marketing communications associate for the Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, CA.

“We see that people are excited about giving California Grown Flowers for Mother’s Day because they’re fresher than imports and the stories of our farms resonate with consumers,” Prescott says.

Beautiful California Grown stock flowers from Ocean View Flowers. Look for the label! It makes a difference.

And Mother’s Day 2019 is shaping up to be a great one, according to Dan Vordale, president of Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, CA. “We basically sell an entire month’s dollar volume in about a 10-day period,” Vordale says. “May 1 was our biggest shipping day of the holiday and we broke our sales record!”

That’s because Ocean View’s stock crop really kicked in despite a heavy rain year; and they’re also shipping large volumes of larkspur, delphinium, hybrid delphinium, sunflower and waxflower, along with fillers like bupleurum, Queen Anne’s lace, orlaya and matricaria, and novelty flowers like boronia, strawflower, veronica, protea and leucadenrons.

“Quality has been very, very good, and we’re growing a huge variety in two locations currently, the Central Valley and Lompoc,” Vordale notes.

What better way to celebrate Mom than showering her with stunning California Grown Flowers.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography,

Diana Roy, business manager for Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California says that after several months of cooler weather and rain, this year’s Mother’s Day harvest looks spectacular. “Our bouquets are packed with an array of novelty flowers and foliage making them a standout in any display.”

Think an abundance of pincushions, leucadendron and waxflower, all getting plenty of attention on social media and in Resendiz Brothers’ newsletters, blogs and workshop and events series.

Surround your mom with beautiful California Grown Flowers.  Save your seats for dinner at one of America’s most beautiful flower farms, on the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Florist and consumers alike are on board with the #originmatters message behind homegrown flowers, particularly when it comes to spoiling mom.

 “People like giving something they know are grown by real people and appreciate being able to say, ‘these are grown in the redwoods of Humboldt County or in the mountains of Fallbrook,’ and didn’t come from a shipping container. There’s a unique story behind every flower!” Prescott notes.

Make sure mom knows you love her by sending her the very best. Look for the CA Grown label or ask your retail florist for California Grown Flowers when you order your flowers.

For Sun Valley, that means various varieties of lilies, iris and tulips ­– classic flowers that are available in a rainbow of colors, are sustainably grown and are fresh from the field.

And it’s those points, along with the individual stories of the state’s flower farmers, that Prescott says will continue to inspire consumers to seek out California Grown blooms.

Look for the CA Grown label this Mother’s Day!

Linda Giovannozzi, director of marketing and product development at B-Fresh Floral, has been appointed chair of the California Cut Flower Commission’s (CCFC) Promotions Committee.

 

Giovannozzi, a veteran CCFC volunteer, has served on the Promotions Committee for five years and was elevated to lead the committee by CCFC Chair June Van Wingerden.

“I’m excited to appoint Linda to serve as chair of this critical committee. She’s demonstrated her energy, commitment and organizational skills as a longtime member of the committee,” Van Wingerden said.

Linda Giovannozzi, seen here at the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Carpinteria, played an important role in both the creation and continual support of the Dinner Tour. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

Giovannozzi said she looks forward to continuing the momentum the committee has established thanks to successful programs she was involved in from the start, like California Grown Flower Month, the Certified American Grown program, American Grown Flower Month, the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour and the certification of Rose Parade floats each year in Pasadena.

Linda speaking to guests during an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and very excited for the new programs we’re developing that will help drive promotional efforts for the next three to five years,” she said. “I look forward to creating more innovative programs and campaigns that call attention to the floral industry and help drive consumer demand for homegrown flowers.”

She plans to focus her tenure as chair on increasing consumption, consumer awareness and for California and American Grown Flowers.

Linda with CCFC CEO and Ambassador Kasey Cronquist and CCFC Procurement and Event Specialist Anna Kalins during this year’s Rose Parade Certification Ceremonies. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and the California State Floral Association (CSFA) teamed up to make a special delivery of California Grown flowers to Gov. Gavin Newsom on “Ag Day,” March 20.

Ben Dobbe of Holland America Flowers and CCFC CEO and Ambassador, Kasey Cronquist, made the special delivery to Gov. Newsom.

 

The delivery of the arrangement was a friendly (and beautiful) reminder to the governor of the importance of California flower and greens farmers to the state’s economy and their local communities.

California Agriculture Day is hosted in partnership with California Women for Agriculture and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. This an annual celebration recognizes California’s agricultural community by showcasing the bounty of crops and commodities produced in the state. It’s also a day for farmers and ranchers to rally awareness and celebrate California’s agriculture with state legislators, government leaders and the public.

2019 marked the centennial celebration of the event!

FFA Students helped pass out California Grown bouquets to people gathered on the Capitol lawn.

 

Sacramento flower wholesaler Flora Fresh anchored the event and also helped lead FFA teams in providing California Grown bouquets to those gathered on the Capitol lawn for the event.

In addition to the flower delivery, CCFC and CSFA joined forces to hand out postcards touting the economic and employment benefits California Grown Flowers bring to the state.

Special thanks to Holland America Flowers, Mellano & Company, Pyramid Flowers and Westland Floral for generously providing the flowers and greens for all of the bouquets.

If you’re reading this, you likely already agree that origin matters. Where the flowers and greens consumers’ purchase come from and how they were grown matters.

Homegrown flowers matter. And the origin of flowers has become an important call to action in the floral industry.

It’s that thinking that led us to change the name (and format) of our newsletter from Field Notes to Origin Matters, starting now. And the new publication will also arrive in your inbox weekly, instead of monthly. Because we’ve got so much news, so frequently, that it can’t wait 30 days!

You need to read about what’s happening related to the origin of flowers more often and in a more accessible format. So that’s what we’ll be providing every week!

After all, Field Notes was originally created to share news specific to California, but with the growing success of Certified American Grown and BloomCheck, and the demand for homegrown blooms increasing, a weekly Origin Matters newsletter will let us capture all of those news-making items that help people find what they’re really looking for in the floral industry today.

It will open the door to more storytelling. More thought-provoking ideas. More timely news.

Because origin really does matter, and we can’t wait to share how many ways and places that’s being proven!

 

 

While roses (especially red) have long been a go-to for Valentine’s Day, California rose farmers are supplying consumers and florists with roses in an assortment of varieties and colors 365 days a year.

These farm fresh Certified American Grown roses from Dramm & Echter are available to be enjoyed 365 days a year.  Photo by Liraz Photography.

After all, today’s on-trend floral designs feature a fluid, airy garden look in a range of hues, from the brightest yellow to the softest pink to the Pantone color of the year, Living Coral.

Enter California spray roses and other design-friendly varieties from California’s rose farmers.

“What we’re seeing today is farmers growing the kinds of roses and other beautiful flowers that consumers want every day, rather than just growing roses for a single holiday,” explains Kasey Cronquist, CEO and ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission and administrator for Certified American Grown. “California’s rose farmers and the unique varieties they grow are critical to florists nationwide, all year long.”

Who are your California rose farmers? They include California Pajarosa Floral, Menagerie Flowers, Neve Bros., Neve Roses II, Eufloria Flowers, Myriad Flowers, Rose Story Farm, Green Valley Floral and Dramm & Echter.

Paul Furman, owner of California Pajarosa Floral in Watsonville, California, explains that his company has found a niche in the marketplace “for those who want to express love on a daily and weekly basis,” beyond red roses on Valentine’s Day.

Floral designers continue to seek out the unique and beautiful varieties and colors grown by domestic rose farmers.  Photo by Connie Whitlock.

“As a rose farm in California, we’re unable to compete on price levels with foreign import competition, especially at the peak demand holidays. We’ve made up for it in our quality, consistency and freshness that can beautify customers’ lives 365 days a year,” Furman says. “There are only a handful of rose growers left in the United States as 99 percent of roses sold domestically are now imported from places like Colombia, however, we’re seeing a growing trend toward domestic roses, specifically those that can be guaranteed as Certified American Grown roses.”

Furman notes that U.S. flower farmers are typically running small family farms that are passionate about providing high-quality, sustainably grown flowers all year long.

Beautiful Certified American Grown roses adorn the tablescape inside California Pajarosa’s test garden on their farm in Watsonville, CA.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

“Growing roses and other cut flowers that cater to everyday needs, weddings, special events and any other function that requires quality and freshness first is our goal. We’re a small sustainable farm that employs 50 local families in California and our primary focus is to help our community thrive.”

Bob Echter, CEO of Dramm & Echter in Encinitas, California, concurs that the U.S. market for roses has changed and is less holiday-focused.

“The good thing is that it’s gotten to be a year-round market. Sure, there are varieties and colors that people prefer, but the popular garden look gives us a year-round business, especially with retailers or small chains that do design work. And the California Grown label is definitely an advantage in selling the product.”

“Of course, Valentine’s Day will continue to be an important holiday to our California flower farms,” says Cronquist. “However, with imports flying 35 dedicated cargo planes a day into the port of Miami right now, we look forward to competing for the hearts and dollars of consumers the other 364 days a year.”

For Valentine’s Day or a wedding day, Certified American Grown roses provide designers with beautiful options for their big and small arrangements for customers.  Photo by Liraz Photography.

Some California flower farms are indeed reporting record-breaking sales in advance of Valentine’s Day.

“While we aren’t rose growers, we’re experiencing the best February we’ve ever had as a company,” says Dan Vordale, president of Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, California. “The market for California Grown flowers is strong and we’re meeting customers’ needs for flower-giving holidays and every day.”

Get A Glimpse At The Breathtaking Uses of California Grown Flowers

A record nine entries in the 2019 Rose Parade earned California Grown Certification – a distinction that recognizes entries decorated with over 85 percent of cut flowers and greens from the Golden State.

From left to right: Peter Samek, Trish Duggan, Janet Justus stand alongside Keith White, lead designer for all of the stunning FTD vehicles in the parade and Secretary Karen Ross.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

It was truly a sight to see on January 1!

And it was a full-circle moment for the event that was originally created to showcase the bounty of what’s growing in California when much of the country is snowbound.

Blooms and foliage from California flower farmers dazzled the crowd on float, equestrian, motorcycle and car entries.

Here’s a look at each of the California Grown parade entries and the flowers and foliage that adorned them.

FTD

The eight VIP parade vehicles from FTD, including vehicles for the grand marshal, president, hall of fame, mayor and four Honda vehicles, featured California Grown flowers and foliage such as eucalyptus, ruscus, sprengi, stock, roses, tulips and protea.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

CA Grown Certification Banners hang proudly behind the floral-covered fire engine.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Cal Poly Universities

The float from Cal Poly Universities earned the Extraordinaire Award that recognizes the most extraordinary entry in the entire parade. The float, designed, constructed and decorated by students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, included nearly 91 percent of cut flower and plant materials from California.

This year’s Cal Poly float was over 91 percent California Grown.

 

California’s flower farmers have had a longstanding tradition of donating their flowers to support for Cal Poly’s efforts in Pasadena.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Bubbles stream from the saxophone. Cal Poly’s students take great pride in the animation efforts on their float each year.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

And the variety of blooms, all donated by California flower farmers, was truly amazing! Think chrysanthemums, roses, gerberas, iris, protea, orchids, kale, gladiolus, green trick, craspedia, birds of paradise, banksia, bells of Ireland, luecadendron, grevilia, aspidastra leaves, ruscus and succulents, along with dried marigold, strawflower, statice, delphinium and bromeliad, dracena and vriesea plants.

Blue Diamond Almonds

Blue Diamond participated in this year’s Tournament of Roses and committed to being California Grown.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

The entry from Blue Diamond showcased a deck of yellow, orange and pink California Grown roses, while the simulated bark on the almond trees featured on the float was created from real almond tree bark. Many of the entry’s other almond details were made of ground almond husks, bark and almond shells.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

Pasadena Police Department

Leading off the entire parade was the Tournament of Roses Pasadena Police Department’s motorcycle unit featuring white and red roses, freesias, sprengi, salal, Matsumoto asters, irises, callas and gladiolus. The flowers were arranged into a garland on the motorcycles’ handlebars and the back of each cycle featured a spectacular arrangement.

Sgt. Locklin with the Pasadena Police Department.

 

All California Grown Flowers were used to adorn the eight motorcycles used in the parade.

California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol entry that featured officers on horseback put callas, gladiolus, spray roses, iris, matricaria, ruscus and freesia in shades of purple, yellow and white front and center.

Photo by Misty Welborn.

University of Washington

The University of Washington Huskies team float featured sperengi and purple irises in a nod to the team’s colors.

Photo by Anna Kalins.

Mini Therapy Horses

The entry from Mini Therapy Horses included spray roses, mrytle and genestra arranged as flower crowns on the tiny horses.

Photo by Misty Welborn.

Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo stagecoach showcased gladiolus, callas, tulips, gerberas, roses, salal, eucalyptus, solidago, sunflowers and alstromeria in vivid shades of red, burgundy and yellow, accented with white blooms and green foliage. For this entry, flowers were used in arrangements atop the stagecoach, in an enormous wreath and to create a WF monogram.

Photo by Misty Welborn.

Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team

Finally, the Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team, another equestrian entry, adorned the horses’ saddles with red roses, veronica and baby eucalyptus.

 

Photo by Misty Welborn.

 

All in all, it was a breathtaking display of California’s flower bounty!

Debi Lilly florals are found throughout Albertsons companies floral departments.

Albertsons recently added the BloomCheck certification program to its list of approved sustainability certification programs used to certify the plants, flowers and greens sold through their Debi Lilly line of floral products. BloomCheck provides retailers and their customers with a third-party certification that assures that farms are not only following the high standards involved with agriculture production in the United States, but are also committed to continuous improvements in best practices involved with growing flowers and plants.

“We’re pleased to provide Albertsons and Albertsons customers with a sustainability certification program for our domestic producers,” shared Kasey Cronquist, administrator for BloomCheck. “BloomCheck certification is a rigorous set of standards designed to help set our farms apart and accurately credit them on what it takes to produce flowers sustainability here in the United States.”

Farms that complete the BloomCheck certification have undergone a complete review of their production practices with an “on-farm” auditor from Protected Harvest. Protected Harvest is a third-party nonprofit organization responsible for accrediting BloomCheck’s standards and providing the third-party auditors involved with the verification of our farms’ practices.

 

CCFC Recognizes Her Dedication to California’s Flower Farmers

Secretary Karen Ross congratulates CalPoly Universities on becoming Certified California Grown for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) presented Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, with its first-ever Public Service Award during a special reception Dec. 31 in Pasadena as part of festivities leading up to the 2019 Rose Parade.

 

On behalf of California’s cut flower and greens farmers, California Cut Flower Commission CEO & Ambassador Kasey Cronquist thanked Secretary Ross for her support and service to California’s cut flower farmers and presented her with the CCFC’s Public Service Award.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

The ceremony and reception honoring Ross followed the recognition of a record-setting nine Rose Parade entries that earned California Grown Certification.

 

The CCFC’s Public Service Award included a crystal vase and beautiful California Grown Flowers.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

For the past seven years, Ross has graciously bestowed California Grown Certification on Rose Parade entries that feature 85 percent or more flowers from the Golden State.

 

Secretary Karen Ross received the first ever Public Service Award presented by the CCFC.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

In addition to her incredible efforts leading up to the parade, Ross has also helped advance the California Grown program, including working on the development of a strategic plan and assisting with funding for the program to the tune of nearly $1 million.

“Sec. Ross has generously offered her time and expertise to advancing the CA Grown program and has been a longtime friend to California’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, CCFC CEO & Ambassador. “We are grateful for all of her efforts to bring attention to California Grown Flowers and the hard work of our state’s farmers.”

Just yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom reappointed Sec. Ross to continue serving as Secretary of California’s Department of Food & Agriculture — which is great news for California’s flower farmers.

Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta presented Secretary Ross with a plaque acknowledging her for the strategic partnership established between California Grown and Visit California during Ross’ tenure as Secretary.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Cal Poly President of San Luis Obispo Jeff Armstrong thanked Secretary Ross for her support and annual effort recognizing the students for their commitment to California Grown during the Rose Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley also thanked Secretary Ross on behalf of the Pomona campus.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

Secretary Ross’ Support In Pasadena Over the Years

2017

Secretary Ross certifying Cal Poly’s float for the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

2016

Secretary Ross certifying California Milk Advisory Board’s float for the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

2015

Secretary Ross certifying Miracle-Gro’s float for the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

2014

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross certifying Cal Poly’s Rose Parade Float for the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

2013

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross recognizing South Pasadena for their California Grown certification for the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

2012

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross recognizing KitKat Clock for their California Grown certification for the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.