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!

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!