We Felt the Flower Love! 

After 30 years of advancing the state’s cut flower industry and advocating for flower and foliage farmers, the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) is saying goodbye. And while we’re sad to see the organization come to an end, we’re excited to share that many of our programs, and our vision, will go forward through the reimagined nonprofit membership organization Certified American Grown (CAG).

Over the years, CCFC earned a reputation for sharing the beauty, value, and importance of the millions of stems of flowers and greens grown right here in California. Our voice was heard in the halls of the state capitol and in Washington, D.C., all with an eye on supporting the state’s flower-farming families and the income they contribute to the state’s economy while explaining to consumers and others why origin matters. 

More specifically, over three decades, CCFC helped expand the size and significance of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus; established the BloomCheck Certification program; helped the Rose Parade return to its roots of showcasing California agriculture; created California Cut Flowers Month and American Grown Flowers Month; established Certified American Grown; provided California Grown Flowers to thousands of events; raised the profile of the state’s cut flower industry and the importance of flower origin with consumers; and reached new overseas markets with one of California’s most valuable exports. 

Which is all to say that CCFC moved the needle in so many, many ways on behalf of flower farmers and to the benefit of consumers. 

And we couldn’t have done it without the support of the farmers themselves, consumers, florists, wholesalers, and retailers who came to understand the #originmatters message and helped spread the word. 

I have been honored to have been able to serve all the cut flower farmers in the state as a Commissioner and Chairman of the CCFC for over 30 years.  Being part of the organization as a founding director (and now as the final Chairman) has been one of the most fulfilling accomplishments in my professional career and I want to thank each and every grower for allowing me to represent their collective and diverse interests.  It saddens me deeply to see the CCFC close down, but I am energized by the opportunities that lie ahead for all domestic growers through Certified American Grown movement and I encourage each and every cut flower farmer in California to jump on board to help us keep up the positive momentum that we’ve created.

– Michael A. Mellano, Mellano & Company, Chairman of the Board

Saying goodbye to a good thing is never easy, but luckily, we’re really just saying, “Meet us under a new umbrella!” 

Many of CCFC’s programs and people can be found over at Certified American Grown, an organization that allows us to carry on our work at a national level. And we’d be profoundly grateful if you would continue to support our mission and vision through CAG. 

“It is bittersweet for me to have had the privilege of being both a CCFC Founding Father / 2nd Chairman in 1990 as well as its closing CEO thirty years later.  As a life-long California cut flower farmer myself, I could not be prouder to have stood next to my fellow farmers all these years and accomplish this list of outstanding progress together. Knowing that change is constant and embracing that evolutionary process, I am excited to lead the launch team for Certified American Grown. I welcome the collective nation of flower farmers to join us in our cause and continue to feel inspired about the future of cut flowers and greens grown on American soil.” – Dave Pruitt, CEO

Stay tuned as we share more about CAG and our upcoming program and events. And keep buying domestically grown flowers and greens! That’s the very best way to support America’s flower and foliage farmers. 

This year has been interesting to say the least. The California Cut Flower Commission has been always looking at ways to increase demand for California Grown flowers and greens and the June campaign has continued to be a great success. I have spoken with a couple of growers that saw growth in June sales surpass last year. That is very promising considering where sales were back in March and April. 

The work we did to promote Mother’s May helped to push sales up not only for Mother’s Day but during the whole month of May. When June arrived, many growers were continuing to see consistent growth in sales. There was an amount of pent up desire for flowers and as we kept reminding people of the great qualities of fresh cut CA Grown flowers and greens, we felt the demand continue to grow. The super markets were also excited about the June is CA Grown Flowers Month campaign because they saw their flower departments emptied during Mother’s Day and continued to have strong sales the rest of May. 

Once flowers were more accessible, sales grew beyond many growers’ expectations and farms found themselves working harder than in the past to supply the market, often due to lack of labor to harvest, package and ship the flowers.  I am very proud to be associated with a group of such hard-working farmers.  They worked to reopen the markets to make fresh CA Grown Flowers and Greens the gift of choice to brighten friends and loved one’s homes for special occasions.

“We were very appreciative of the support we had from our customers in promoting June as California Grown Flowers Month in their stores this year! The month ended much stronger than anticipated and the busyness brought back a small sense of normalcy we had been longing for the past few months.” – Cagney Miller, Operations Manager of MOBI’s in Carpinteria, CA

All the efforts of our growers to get the word out to customers and keep reminding them about CA Grown flowers and greens for the month of June was a success! This year we had more stores and wholesalers involved than in the past and we truly want to thank each and every one for their support.

Let’s work together to help keep demand up through the rest of the year.  

All the Best,

Dave Pruitt

CEO of the California Cut Flower Commission

Thank you to our 2020 Farm Sponsors of June is CA Grown Flowers Month!

Today marks the first day of June and the start of Calfornia Grown Flowers Month! 

Perfectly timed for the peak production of amazing California blooms and foliage, June is the month to continue to support flower farmers and purchase flowers for life’s celebrations and to brighten your home. 

With your help, we can help all of California’s flower farmers continue to grow amazing blooms and greens, employ more workers and contribute to California’s economy.

Enjoy this video highlighting a few of the family farms growing throughout California.

Remember – look for the California Grown logo at participating retailers to ensure you’re getting top-notch, fresh domestic flowers! 

Thank you to our sponsors!

Celebrate ‘Mother’s May,’ support California Grown Flowers month 

Thanks to wholesalers, florists and consumers who supported California cut flower farmers, Mother’s Day overall was a floral success! 

In fact, in many areas, the response was better than expected, with many retailers selling out of flowers and florists having to ramp up significantly to keep pace with orders.

In other words, a good problem to have – and one that flower farmers greatly appreciate!

As Benno Dobbe, owner and CEO of Holland America Flowers explained:

“Demand was higher, the market seems to be getting better after many weeks of disappointing sales numbers for nearly every flower farmer.” 

Ivor Van Wingerden, Ocean Breeze Farms

“Sales for Mother’s Day were very strong, particularly the week directly before. Even more importantly, we have seen that the strength has continued into the following week as well. The Monday after Mother’s Day was the best one we’ve had in five years, and by a margin,” shared Ivor Van Wingerden of Ocean Breeze Farms. 

But even with the recent success, not all farms are where they need to be to keep going. Thankfully, there’s a solution! 

Consumers, wholesalers and florists can keep the momentum going and keep supporting cut flower farmers by backing what we’re calling “Mother’s May.” After all, for all they do, mom’s deserve more than one day of celebration. And since many are working from home, assisting with distance learning and still handling their usual mama duties, they’ve earned more flowers than ever this May!

We’re urging everyone to continue to honor their hardworking mom’s with California Grown Flowers. 

And, as we roll into June, we have another reason to celebrate: June is California Grown Flowers Month. 

Perfectly timed for the peak production of amazing California blooms and foliage, June is the month to continue to support flower farmers and purchase flowers for life’s celebrations and to brighten your home. 

Remember to look for the California Grown logo to ensure your getting top-notch, fresh domestic flowers.   With your help, we can help all of California’s flower farmers continue to grow amazing blooms and greens, employ more workers and contribute to California’s economy. 

Dear Farms!

The deadline to order complimentary promotional materials is this Friday!
Let’s capitalize on the momentum we have from Mother’s May and channel it into June in CA Grown Flowers Month!

Don’t have time to set up a program? – no problem – forward your flower buyers’ contact information to Mike Bard of Buttonworks and he can help them determine what would work best. mike@buttonworks.com OR 1-800-742-5354

June is the perfect month to promote California Grown flowers and greens! The weather is getting nicer, restrictions are lessening and we are all ready to sell more flowers and greens – including our mass market customers! 
What better time than June to start rolling out a promotion highlighting our California Grown flowers and greens and asking our mass market buyers to support our farms!

To help inspire the celebration and adoption of June as California Grown Flowers Month with in-store displays, the California Cut Flower Commission is providing complimentary promotional materials for a limited number of stores – so ask them to order now! As a bonus, each store that creates a California Grown display and sends us a picture will be entered into a drawing for a choice of two amazing prizes! 
We are seeking sponsorships of $500 to extend the in-store promotional materials we are able to provide. In exchange for your sponsorship you will be listed on the Celebrate June webpage on both the CCFC and Judgify websites. Sponsorships due NOW! Contact me to sign up as a sponsor or if you need more details. 

California is Blooming – So let’s get more flowers and greens sold!
Attached documents include the flyer for your customers along with a sheet of some of the promotional materials available. Mike at Buttonworks is happy to contact your customers to guide them through the promotional items best for their stores. 

Media Contact:

Dave Pruitt 

CEO, California Cut Flower Commission 

Administrator, Certified American Grown 

(805) 710-0692



American Flower Industry Suffering Staggering Losses

Flower Farmers Working Hard To Keep Flowers Moving In Time Of Crisis

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has American consumers focused on purchasing necessities like toilet paper, hand soap and food. What they’re not purchasing is flowers on their way to check out, and that’s a problem. 

In a conference call on Friday, March 20, over 50 California flower farmers discussed the devastation their farming industry is experiencing due to lack of demand from consumers,  canceled orders from industry outlets and transportation line shutdowns.  

The bottom line, according to American flower farmers: If the general public doesn’t start buying American Grown Flowers immediately, the American flower industry, its farmers, wholesale distributors, retail designers and all the people who work in those businesses cannot survive. 

In fact, several flower farmers on the call said they’re less than a week away from complete ruin. 

“America’s flower farmers, the floral industry and all of their employees are teetering on economic devastation” said Dave Pruitt, CEO for The California Cut Flower Commission and administrator of Certified American Grown Flowers. “These people literally cannot hold on without support from consumers. We urge our fellow Americans to please consider purchasing fresh American Grown Flowers and Greens the next time you’re in the store, and ask for our flowers to be added back into the distribution pipeline as a valued agricultural commodity.”  

While a handful of retailers nationwide continue to carry flowers, many grocery brands and distributors are canceling orders or turning deliveries away. Farmers also express difficulty with getting their blooms and greens transported due to confusion around agricultural products and their exemption from the restrictions. 

“Our Certified American Grown farmers are out in their local communities now assisting the overworked people in the best ways we know – delivering flowers and greens to help alleviate stress and bring moments of joy. We encourage you all to BUY FLOWERS where you can, SHARE THEM and let’s make sure that all farmers are still in business when this crisis is over. Once gone, a farm may be gone forever,” said Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peony and chair of the Certified American Grown Council.  

“A Rutger’s University Study indicated that flowers bring happiness. In the home, they support self care, provide joy, hope and healing,” Shoultz added. “Flowers help counteract negative messages and darkness prevalent at this very moment. Flowers will assuage troubled minds and bring peace to hearts and souls in this time of anxiety and fear.”  

Today, flower farmers are asking consumers to purchase a bunch of flowers next time they’re in stores to buy essentials. That purchase could make the difference in an entire industry – one we count on to add beauty to life’s celebrations, express love and decorate our homes. 

# # #

About Certified American Grown

Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown Flowers represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Flowers logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about Certified American Grown Flowers, visit americangrownflowers.com

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.

2020 is the 30th birthday of the Cut Flower Commission. That longevity accomplishment is a true benchmark of the value our growers have experienced, as a result of the work our organization takes pride in. 
This past week myself and our team hosted one of the most important events CCFC / CAG has each year, the DC Fly In. As your CEO, I was beyond proud of the group that dedicated themselves to join us in Washington DC to perform this critical service on behalf of the entire US Cut Flower Industry. Our group consisted of 15 US farmers, 2 professional designers and 3 CCFC staff; all representing 10 States and including Jumana Madanat Misleh, our DC Legislative Consultant, who set up all of our appointments. During the 2.5 days, we held our annual CAG Council Meeting, then divided ourselves up to conquer the 40 + meetings with Representatives, Senators and 3 different departments. 

I think I can safely say that this was the 1st ever DC Fly In where we’ve had a Senator actually sign a bill for us right there in his office (pictured below)Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska signed the Senate version of the American Grown Act with our group present in his office. Following the signing in Sullivan’s office, the bill was sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein to co-sign the bill.

Other highlights of the trip were us learning how the National Floriculture Report is created and discussing ways we can give input to improve the report managed by NASS, The National Agricultural Statistics Service. Annually, when you are reporting your cut flower variety production, there is an area called ‘other’. Please take a few minutes and write in the specific top five varieties you are growing, not included in the pre-printed list of varieties on the same page. That way we will get an opportunity to have detailed data on individual varieties we grow to better influence marketing decisions for our future.

Meetings last year with the Undersecretary Ted McKinney, in Charge of Foreign AG Trade, initiated conversations with USAID about financial aid given to countries to export flowers into the US market. We discussed with staff from USAID the need to rethink helping Kenya with exporting their flowers into the USA. We also met with the USDA to cover marketing, regulatory programs and fair trade policies for all flowers coming into this country. We presented our stand on ‘Country of Origin’ labeling to numerous people from Department Staff to every Congress person we met. We followed up by getting support to officially designate July as “American Grown Flower Month” and had members of Congress say they would become new members of our Cut Flower Caucus.

As you can see, our annual DC Fly In is one of the most valuable programs we run, creating real change that will help us all maintain the health of our Cut Flower Farms across the United States. This year was the biggest DC Fly In in recent history and it was all topped off by a packed house reception co- sponsored by our friends of The Wine Institute, CHEERS! We all got a second opportunity to talk with Staff, Representatives and Senators we visited during the day and have them leave the reception with Fresh Certified American Grown Flowers. Anna Kalins, our new Event Director was a big part of making this year’s FlyIn a strong success.

 In closing, a gentle reminder that this coming week our assessed California growers will all receive their ballots to vote on the CCFC Referendum via mail from CDFA. I encourage you to vote, turn your ballot in before March 31st and please feel free to contact me directly with any questions while casting your decision. 

Doing what matters,

Dave Pruitt, 

CEO The California Cut Flower Commission #CAGROWNAdministrator Certified American Grown #OriginMatters

And Why You Should, Too! 

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women earning the right to vote in the U.S., the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) is encouraging residents of the Golden State to wear a yellow flower on election day March 3, especially to their polling place. 

Participating is easy! Simply pin a yellow flower to your lapel, blouse or hat and show your support for inclusive elections. 

After all, color has long been associated with political movements, and the suffrage movement was no different. The British women’s suffrage colors were purple, white and green. In America, the colors were purple, white and gold.

The use of gold hails back to 1867 when Kansas was considering passage of a state suffrage referendum. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony adopted the Kansas state flower, the sunflower, as a symbol of the suffrage cause. Soon, gold pins, ribbons and sashes, as well as yellow roses, became symbols of the cause.

As noted in The Suffragist, Vol. 1, No. 4 in 1913,

“Gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving.” 

Donning a yellow bloom is a simple yet effective way to celebrate women earning the right to vote in August 1920. 

Won’t you join us?

Share your pictures with us on March 3rd by tagging our social media channels (FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM). We’ll be showcasing your images throughout the day.

It’s Actually An Awesome Tradition

International Women’s Day is a beloved annual March 8 tradition, but did you know this long-celebrated day is NOT a made-up consumer driven holiday to ramp up flower sales like some elude? Instead, it features a storied century-old history of women world-wide, fighting for their rights!

One of the lasting traditions of this celebration, which recognizes women and their achievements, is the simple act of giving flowers… but while this is a meaningful show of appreciation, we wonder how this tradition began.

To truly understand, it’s important to revisit the origin of International Women’s Day. While there are a few ideas behind the true “beginning” of when and where this important celebration began, according to The History Channel the concept of “Women’s Day” floated around for some time (possibly starting as-early-as 1907 in NYC) before officially taking hold in Europe on March 19, 1911, when the first ‘International Women’s Day’ “drew more than 1 million people to rallies worldwide.”

Credit History.com | International Women’s Day demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1917. (Credit: Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images)

According to the United Nations & History Channel websites… a few years later, In 1917, thousands of Russian textile workers were led by Alexandra Kollontai, a Russian feminist, to go on strike and protest World War I in what was called the “women’s demonstration for bread and peace,”. The women’s actions were greeted with swift success when Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne four days after the strike, and a provisional government granted Russian women the right to vote.

Fast-forward to nearly a century later, and Lane DeVries of the Sun Valley Group.

DeVries began leading efforts to market Women’s Day as a natural floral holiday in the U.S. in 2010. Since launching the initiative, retailers, wholesalers and other companies have joined efforts to grow the holiday and raise awareness in celebrating it with flowers. 

Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Floral Farms was recognized by the Society of American Florists in 2014 for his efforts to bring Women’s Day back to the United States as a celebrated holiday.

“In a world dominated by our smartphones, social media and an unending news cycle, an opportunity to recognize and say thank you to our mentors, our co-workers, our elders and our daughters in real time is proving to be a welcome addition to the traditions we celebrate,” DeVries said. 

“After all, the idea of Women’s day is simple and positive – showing respect and gratitude for the women in our lives, and flowers do an exceptional job of conveying those feelings.”

Of course, International Women’s Day is about more than simply showing appreciation with a beautiful gift of flowers, but there is nothing wrong with this gesture accompanying the fight for gender equity and parity. Giving the gift of California grown flowers to your family, co-workers, and best friends is a wonderful way to show you appreciate them during this year’s International Women’s Day. 

Remember to look for the official ‘CA GROWN’ sticker to know your flowers were grown & handled right here in California. Helping to ensure the flowers on your table are as fresh, sustainable, and locally grown as the food on your plate!

Entry featured over 33,000 stems donated by 21 California flower farmers

Entry featured over 33,000 stems donated by 21 California flower farmers

Thirty-three thousand stems. Twenty-three donating farms. Twenty farm ambassadors. Ten thousand stickers. Seven-hundred thousand attendees. Sixty-five million TV viewers. Those are the figures behind the award-winning Certified California Grown Rose Parade entry from Cal Poly Universities. 

The float, titled “Aquatic Aspirations,” earned the Director Award for the most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials at this year’s Rose Parade, held New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. 

The entry, designed, constructed and decorated by students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, included over 94 percent of cut flower and plant materials from California – just one more data point that shows how impressive this win really is! 

The float earned California Grown Certification at a ceremony Dec. 31. Certified floats must be decorated with more than 85 percent of cut flowers and greens from the Golden State. This is the ninth year the Cal Poly float has earned California Grown certification. 

The float featured a submarine exploring a sunken shipwreck that’s also home to a colorful array of marine wildlife, including animated turtles, jellyfish, swimming fish, a rocking ray and swaying kelp. While a 9-foot-long submarine rocked back and forth at the rear of the float, an octopus at the front glided 13 feet high while waving its tentacles toward the massive audience. It is the seventh time in 72 appearances that a Cal Poly float has featured an ocean-related design — this year celebrating the parade’s theme, “The Power of Hope.”

Over 20 Volunteer Farm Ambassadors donated their time to spread the message of California Grown Flowers in advance of the parade during “Deco Week,” handing out over 10,000 stickers during their conversations.

The numbers don’t lie. Origin matters and more folks than ever are receiving the message and learning about the movement!

The Mellano and Castellano families, a group of longtime flower farmers and dedicated industry volunteers, were named the 2019 Flower Farm Champions by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) at its recent annual meeting. The families are the fourth recipients of this prestigious award. 

Mike Mellano Sr., Sharon Mellano and Mike A. Mellano accepted
the Flower Farm Champion Award on behalf of the Mellano and Castellano families
for their impact over generations on the flower-farming industry. 
Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

The Mellano and Castellano families were recognized for their enduring and active involvement in the cut flower industry, and for having hosted an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner for a record-setting five years in a row. Mellano & Company CEO Mike A. Mellano was also acknowledged for being a past CCFC chair and for serving on the board of the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation. 

In presenting the award, CCFC interim CEO & Ambassador Dave Pruitt said, “It’s an honor to award the Mellano and Castellano families the 2019 Flower Farm Champion award. The Mellanos are a proud third generation flower-growing family who have dedicated their lives to the floral industry. Family members serve on multiple industry boards, committees and the California Cut Flower Commission. We’re also proud to honor them for being a Field to Vase Dinner host and sponsor for five years in a row. That’s every year since the event started!”   

And the cut flower industry is better for all the Mellanos have done via CCFC and elsewhere!  

The Mellano family came from a small mountain town in Italy
and moved to Southern California in the early 1920s
to grow fresh flowers of exceptional beauty.
Photo provided by Mellano & Company

Present for the awards ceremony were Mike A. Mellano, Mike Mellano Sr., Sharon Mellano and members of the Castellano family. During the presentation, Mike Mellano Sr. narrated a slideshow and shared stories about the family’s history and adventures in flower farming. 

The families were presented with a crystal vase inscribed with the words “Flower Farm Champion Award,” and each family member received a bouquet of California Grown Flowers. 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

The ceremony also included an extended Field to Vase Dinner Tour video that featured the tour stops Mellano & Company has hosted at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad and comments from Mike A. Mellano that were captured during the events. 

The Flower Farm Champion award has become a steadfast tradition for CCFC – a chance to honor influencers and givers to the homegrown cut flower cause. 

In 2018, the Flower Farm Champion award went to Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Fisher. Crystal Hedgpeth, floral sales manager for Safeway’s Northern California Division, earned the award in 2017; and in 2016, the recipient was Lois Capps, former U.S. Representative for California’s 24th Congressional district.

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!