Meet CCFC Intern Charizma Mendoza

Cal Poly Pomona Student To Help With Marketing and Promotions

Charizma Mendoza, a student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, was recently selected to intern with the Commission during the spring semester. Charizma is an agribusiness and food industry management major and in her senior year. She was also a member of the 2016 Agriculture Leadership Class, where I first met her while the class was visiting Sacramento and learning about ag policy.

Charizma is a member of the 2016 Agriculture Leadership Class.

Charizma has been assigned two main projects this semester that will help the CCFC and Certified American Grown advance their respective missions. For the CCFC, she will be helping us prepare for next year’s Rose Parade. That may sound early, but the Cal Poly students are already making their decisions on next year’s float design, and the CCFC continues to advance its efforts to bring more CA Grown flowers to the Rose Parade. Charizma is excited about the task and the difference it will make in helping us achieve that goal.

Charizma will also be helping us coordinate a resource kit for our Certified American Grown flower farms. We have some great ideas and examples to share with our farms on how to further their promotions with Certified American Grown, and Charizma will be packaging these all up for delivery to our Certified farms.

Her enthusiasm is contagious, and we’re excited to have her on the team. She’ll be making calls, reaching out to farms and helping us accomplish these important projects. I hope you get to speak with her while she is with us.

Safeway Goes Blue Before Valentine’s Day

CA Grown Flowers Are Front and Center

Safeway floral departments throughout Northern California have turned blue just in time for Valentine’s Day.

A new Safeway floral department display in Northern California uses blue buckets to feature and help consumers identify flowers that are grown in the Golden State.


Yes! The Northern California division stores are featuring all of their California Grown Flowers by displaying them in blue buckets. In addition to some point-of-purchase signage, the buckets help customers quickly identify which flowers are part of their CA Grown offerings.

The blue bucket display featuring California Grown Flowers will continue through next week’s Valentine’s Day holiday. This show of support (and supply) for California Grown Flowers in Safeway’s Northern California stores isn’t unusual. Representatives from the Nor Cal region report that their department is generally stocked with anywhere from 50 percent to 75 percent California Grown on any given day.

The blue bucket display, combined with the beautiful “CA Grown” posters, really do a great job of connecting the dots on the importance of the origin of flowers for consumers to consider before Valentine’s Day.

It probably helps sales, too!

Ag Alert Highlights Valentine’s Day Outlook

Kevin Hecteman Interviews a farmer, a wholesaler and me

This week California Farm Bureau’s Kevin Hecteman of AgAlert interviewed a couple of us in the floral industry to get some idea of how things are shaping up, highlighting how a “mid-week” holiday can really help improve sales.

Robert Kitayama of Kitayama Brothers in Watsonville, CA.

California flower farmer Robert Kitayama of Kitayama Brothers is interviewed in the article, highlighting how much the industry has changed.

“Once upon a time, we were the country’s largest rose grower,” Kitayama said. Cost, especially in the face of cheaper overseas competition, is the reason he and others got out of the rose business.”

Robert explains that he sees a younger generation of buyers who aren’t as constrained to the red rose buying tradition and that there will be a lot of gerbera daisies, tulips and orchids for people to enjoy this holiday.

During my interview with Kevin, I explained how the U.S. now produces less than 2 percent of the roses now sold in the United States.

You can read the entire article here.

What does Valentine’s Day look like for you?

Last Chance! Flower Farmers Unite!

Annual Flower Farmer Fly-in to Washington, D.C.

We’re obligated to send the hotel our reservation list tomorrow by COB. So, this is our last call for those who want to join their fellow flower farmers in Washington, D.C. Now, it may not be the last chance, but our packages will likely increase substantially after this between the airfare and the per-night cost of the hotel rooms.

I’m excited that we will be hosting our largest flower farm delegation we’ve ever had this year. We have farms coming from Florida, Michigan, California, Alaska, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. A tremendous group to represent America’s flower-farming families, but we’d love to still add more voices to this year’s trip.

With the change of the presidential administration and the new Congress, we want to make sure we have America’s flower farmer priorities known. We also want to grow the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus, and thanks to our partnership with the Wine Institute, we’ll be hosting a joint reception to help brief members and their staff on American wine and flowers.

Questions? Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly.

This trip makes a difference. Join us in Washington, D.C.

Register Here

Debra Prinzing Launches Slow Flower Summit | July 2, 2017

Slow Flower Summit in Seattle During American Flowers Week

In her latest newsletter, Debra Prinzing announced she’s hosting the Slow Flower Summit on July 2 in Seattle, Washington. The summit will be held in conjunction with American Flowers Week and will take place a day into the annual AIFD Symposium, also being held in Seattle during the first week in July.

Debra is describing the summit as “a Ted Talk for flower lovers” and notes that it will feature Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, as one of the event’s keynote speakers. James Baggett, editor in chief of Country Gardens Magazine, will serve as the summit’s master of ceremonies.

American Grown Flowers In the Cooler For Valentine’s Day

Florists Prepare For Valentine's Day

Jim Relles and I at his shop in Sacramento.

When I give flower farm tours at one of our farms, I always explain that, “If you’ve seen one flower farm, you’ve seen one flower farm.” No two farms are alike. What they grow, how they grow, who they are, it all makes a difference and makes each farm unique.

The same can be said for florists. I was reminded of this as I toured Jim Relles’ shop in Sacramento on Friday. Relles Florist is one of the largest floral shops I’ve ever toured. Work stations, hard goods, cold storage …  I was impressed, they have a lot of room for a downtown floral shop. They’ve also been doing this for over 70 years. That’s also very impressive.

It was great to hear Jim’s optimism about this year’s Valentine’s Day, and wonderful to see that he was stocked up on California Grown and American Grown Flowers. Jim shared that this Valentine’s Day, he’ll be offering CA Grown roses to his customers. Not all of the roses will be from California, but he was proud of the ones he was able to get to sell to his customers.

Of course, I liked seeing how he had left the sleeves on the flowers in the cooler, making it easy to identify which ones had CA Grown or the Certified American Grown logo on them.

Jim is part of the Real Local Florist organization and is a proud supporter of California’s flower farms. He and his wife have joined us at a couple of our Field to Vase Dinners and proudly display the CA Grown logo on their company’s website.

Sun Valley’s tulips proudly displayed both brands on their sleeves in the cooler at Relles.

I didn’t leave empty handed. Jim’s team created an all “CA Grown” bouquet to take home and enjoy.

Thank you Jim, and the team at Relles Florist, for your continued support and commitment to our flower farming families!

Alaska’s Peony Farmers Gather In Fairbanks

Certified American Grown Takes Center Stage During Conference

In 2015, I had the opportunity to provide the “State of the Industry” keynote address at the annual Alaska Peony Growers Association’s (APGA) Winter Conference in Fairbanks. It’s a trip I’ll never forget. It was 40 below when I landed at the airport, but the warm reception I received from the peony farmers there more than made up for the freezing temperatures outside.

Alaskan peony farmer MinChu was awarded this year’s Alaska Grower Cup, presented by APGA President Richard Repper.

The APGA had helped provide seed funding to

Video: Diana Roy Invites You To Washington, D.C.

All Flower Farmers Are Welcome

In 2010, four flower farmers flew to Washington, D.C., to advocate and address issues on behalf of California’s flower farmers. Since then, an advocacy trip to the nation’s capitol has been held each year and has grown beyond California. The annual tradition now includes flower farmers from across the country who come together each year to advance an agenda specific to the issues and opportunities facing our domestic flower farming families.

With a new administration and a new Congress, the 8th Annual Washington, D.C., Fly-in will be the most important trip to date.  As Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea and chair of the California Cut Flower Commission says, “There is strength in numbers.”

In this video, Diana invites flower farmers from across the country to join together in Washington, D.C., to advocate, meet with their lawmaker and help raise the profile of America’s flower farmers.

Join your fellow flower farmers in Washington, D.C., February 28 – March 2.

Register Here!

Floral Marketing: 2017 Outlook Report

"Could Trump Administration Help U.S.-Grown Flowers?"

Each year, I’m asked by Floral Marketing’s editor Richard Lutes to provide an outlook report and forecast for our domestic farms.

Click to read complete article.

Decisions by California’s Legislature and the governor will have some long-term consequences for our country’s largest farms. A $15 minimum wage will cause wages across the board to rise within companies, and the elimination of agriculture’s overtime exemption will decrease productivity and increase costs for flower farmers, putting them at an even further competitive disadvantage with flowers being imported from South America.

However, there is

Flying With Flowers Matters

Another Super Happy Flight Attendant

On Friday’s flight home from Washington, D.C., I boarded our American Airlines flight with an armful of the flowers we had provided for the California State Society’s Presidential Inauguration Luncheon.

CCFC Chair Diana Roy captured this photo of me and the American Airlines flight attendant who I presented the flowers to.

As I have written about before, I enjoy flying with flowers and immediately presented one of my bouquets to the flight attendant that greeted us upon boarding. “These are for you,” I said.

The reaction is almost always the same.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope, these are for you. Thank you for all you do.”

It’s a small gesture of appreciation for the tough job flight attendants have, working with all different types of travelers. “Just because” flowers really do go a long way in brightening someone’s day, or flight, as the case may be.

I captured the response of one happy Southwest Airlines flight attendant in this clip on YouTube, “Why I Fly With Flowers & You Should Too.”

Have you ever flown with flowers? I’d love to hear your stories and any kind of reaction you might have gotten for giving “just because” flowers. Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.