5 Examples of the Growing Demand for Local Flowers

With Labor Day on Monday, kids heading back to school and that familiar turn in the morning temperature, sadly, the summer of 2013 is coming to an end.

I really enjoy the summer season.  I enjoy going on vacation with my family, I enjoy hearing about the vacations of others and I enjoy catching a couple of baseball games when I can (none this season…so far).

As the summer season for locally grown flowers comes to a close, there is a bright future ahead for American Grown flowers.

However, as this season comes to a close, I thought I would share 5 examples of the growing demand for locally grown flowers that I also enjoyed seeing this summer.

While flowers imported from South America still dominate the U.S. market (almost 80% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported), these five examples reflect a growing trend by consumers who desire to seek blooms grown here in the United States.

#1  www.slowflowers.com by Debra Prinzing

Slowflowers.com will help consumers find the flowers they are looking for. Author Debra Prinzing will be curating a list of retailers committed to selling American Grown flowers to their customers.

These examples are not meant to be listed in any sort of priority or order, but if there was one example that was in the running for #1, the recent development of the slowflowers.com website would certainly be in the running.  This summer, Slow Flowers author Debra Prinzing introduced her plans to collect a nationwide list of local florists who are committed to buying American Grown flowers is a much needed and welcome resource.  Whenever I give a presentation about the floral industry to an audience of consumers, the first or second question I get is, “how can we be assured we’re getting California Grown flowers?”  Due to the current culture and traditional marketing approaches of the floral industry, that’s a tough question to answer. However, Debra’s website is poised to help answer that question 24/7 and I look forward to referencing this invaluable resource in my future presentations.

#2  Whole Foods Display Example in August

The CA Grown bouquet is sold out! With consumers making the choice to leave the WholeTrade imported roses behind.

I just so happened to be at my local WholeFoods where I saw what I consider a great example of WholeFoods customers choosing local, when presented with origin based promotions.  In this case, the California Grown bouquet was saddled by South American roses and while price points certainly influenced some decisions, seeing the “sold out” bins of the flowers labeled “CA Grown” was just a nice snapshot example of the increasing sophistication and education of the consumer wanting their flowers to be as local as their food.

#3  The “Field to Vase” Dinner in Monterey in June

Guests of the “Field to Vase” dinner event at the Kitayama Brothers’ enjoyed a unique experience dining among the gerbera daisies and enjoying the local fare on the menu and local flowers as the centerpiece.

I would say my most enjoyable event in 2013 (so far) has to be the “Field to Vase” dinner that was held prior to the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House in June.  A very special group of people were invited to experience a “Farm to Fork” dinner, but with a twist.  The dinner was hosted in the Kitayama Brothers’ greenhouse #2, where guests enjoyed a menu of hyper local fare, while sitting amongst the Kitayama’s gerbera daisies.  The focus?  On the centerpieces of course!  The “Field to Vase” dinner helped to highlight that the flowers on the table should be as local as the food on your plate. Important connections were made.  It was certainly a magical evening for all who attended.  Find more pictures to enjoy here: http://bit.ly/13ZOwza 

#4 “Meet the Farmer” Event at Safeway in August

Flower farmer Frank Costa of Ocean View Flowers with a Safeway customer at the “Meet the Farmer” event in Danville, CA

We’ve been helping consumers “Meet the Farmer,” through our open house events for the past 6 years.  However, it was in large part due to the fact that people had no idea where their flowers came from and almost all are shocked to learn that approximately 80% of all flowers sold in the United States are imported from South America.  Having consumers engage with our flower farms has resulted in a growing base of friends and fans that are now making educated purchasing decisions when it comes to the flowers they buy.  So, when Safeway decided to host their own “Meet the Farmer” event this August at their Danville store, it marked a significant step by a major national retailer to have a domestic flower farmer be featured “in-store” with their flowers and engage their customers.  Efforts to educate consumers that “origin matters,” that we hope to see continue.

#5 SOLD OUT! “Grown in USA” Wedding Design Class with J Schwanke

J Schwanke teaching students the value and opportunity of sourcing and selling American Grown flowers.

The most widely read blog post I have ever written was this summer when I featured J as one of the three most notable advocates for American Grown Flowers that I was aware of.  Thanks to that post, I have since been introduced to many other advocates from across the country.  However, J still continues to rise as one at the top of that list due to his ambitious travel schedule that allows him to speak throughout the country on his personal experience on the farms in California and, most recently, Florida.  Just this month, J gave two sold out design classes in Springfield, Missouri.  The topic?  Wedding design with American Grown flowers.

Sure, design classes using American Grown or California Grown flowers has been done, but the point and purpose of the presenter is always on the design and technique.  J’s class was different (no surprise) and it ended up being a sell out because of his focus.  J’s design class was focused on helping attendees learn how to source, select, design and sell wedding work by promoting their use of American Grown Flowers to brides!

I certainly have other examples to share, but I also need other topics to write about in future posts!  However, I hope these five examples help to highlight that the summer of 2013 was really just a warm up of more to come for the American Grown Movement for flowers.  People really do care where their flowers come from.  Why?  Because #OriginMatters.

Leave a comment or a question below!

What examples did you see this summer where locally grown, American Grown or CA Grown flowers were being featured?  Do you have any pictures of these examples?  Please share your thoughts and examples.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “5 Examples of the Growing Demand for Local Flowers

    • Thank you for your comment Leo. We are committed to working each day to help people identify with the locally grown flowers they are looking for. Thank you for your support!