An Incredible Kick-Off

Arcata Field To Vase Kicks Tour Off With A Sold Out Crowd

Last week’s dinner at Sun Valley Floral Farms was a beautiful start to a tour that continues to help communicate the stories and value of our American flower farms.

A beautiful table of tulips, surrounded by 1.4M tulips growing in the greenhouse, awaited guests.

And this dinner was oversold!
In fact, we were going to have to add two chairs at either end to fit 152. By the day of the dinner there was a wait list of people and I was told that we had people asking us to call them and let us know if there were any no shows. Everybody showed.

Keep Voting For America!

On Tuesday, California Congressman Tom McClintock posted on his Facebook page, “One thing has never failed us is times such as these. It is the American people, awakening from their slumber, rising up and demanding through the votes they cast that their elected officials either honor and obey the Constitution or get the hell out of our government.

Keep Voting

While McClintock is known for his hardline conservatism, what bothered me about this statement was the suggestion that we Americans are in some sort of slumber between election cycles.

I don’t think so.

California Flower Farm Receives Marketer of the Year From SAF

A huge congratulations goes to California’s Sun Valley Floral Farms on winning SAF’s Marketer of the Year award! For those of you who aren’t familiar, SAF is the Society of American Florists, an industry association that annually recognizes a progressive and successful company for their marketing efforts in the floral industry. The award is announced at their annual convention, held this year on Marco Island in Florida.

Pictured left to right

Pictured left to right; Sun Valley Marketing Communications Associate Bill Prescott, Sun Valley’s head flower farmer Lane DeVries and me at the Society of American Florists Marketer of the Year Award ceremony.

This year’s award recognizes CCFC past chair Lane DeVries and his team at Sun Valley for their efforts to encourage industry-wide collaboration and alignment on improving the health of United States floral market by promoting Women’s Day on March 8th.

Food & Wine…& Flowers?

Chef Brandon Hughes of the Wine Cask In Santa Barbara is committed to not only serving locally grown food, but also featuring locally grown flowers at his restaurant.

Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege to work with a great team of professionals on a campaign geared at highlighting California agriculture, specifically specialty crops and the farmers that grow them. Starting in April, it has been very rewarding to see the “California, Always In Season” campaign come together in the pages of Food & Wine Magazine. In fact, I just picked up the

Why is the President’s Iris #AmericanGrown?

The most recent state dinner with French President François Hollande was full of the standard White House traditions that serve to highlight the very best of our country’s culture and culinary.

American Grown (#CaGrown) purple iris was the focal flower featured at the recent White House state dinner with French president Hollande. [Photo Credit Eddie Kohan]

However, this state dinner was notably different.  Something special, subtle and important happened.

The Obama White House decided to ensure that

She Is Going To Change Valentine’s Day Forever

Click to contribute to Debra's Slow Flowers campaign.

Click to contribute to Debra’s Slow Flowers campaign.

…and Mother’s Day.

…and birthdays.

…and graduations.

…and weddings…

If Slow Flowers author Debra Prinzing’s successful in her efforts, all of these floral related holidays and life events will take on new meaning for people’s gift giving in the future.  If Debra Prinzing’s successful she’ll transform the landscape of the floral industry we know today, connecting local florists who are selling local flowers with consumers who care.  If Debra Prinzing’s successful she will be the catalyst this country needs to bring flower farming back to the United States, so that the millions of flowers that are purchased each year are coming from local family flower farms, growing in our own backyard.

How does she plan to do all of that?

Purveyors of Joy

This is a guest post by Bill Prescott, Marketing Communications Associate for Sun Valley Floral Farms. Bill is responsible for Sun Valley’s social media platform, blogging and multi-media communications.

Subscribe Sun Valley’s “Flower Talk” blog and follow Sun Valley on Twitter.

 

“I have never seen a consumer receive flowers, and not be happy.”

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Sun Valley’s Lane DeVries with a happy customer

These words were spoken by Sun Valley’s Lane DeVries as we were filming a short video about our farm.  Lane’s inspired quote really sums up our whole industry in a nutshell.  What are flower farmers if not purveyors of joy? This is what we bring to the table. This is why we

Congratulations to CalPoly Universities! A #CAGrown Success

A team of 60 Cal Poly University college students took home the coveted Crystal City Innovation Award at this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Today, the average Rose Parade float is a reflection of your average grocery store bouquet, with approximately 80% of the flowers being imported from countries such as Colombia and Ecuador. CalPoly’s team was committed to something different, something innovative.

The Crystal City Innovation Award is given to the float that reflects the, “best use of imagination & innovation to advance the art of float building.”

The Tournament of Roses depend on three judges that use a set of criteria to help them decide on which floats receive each of the different awards. I’m not exactly sure what the specific criteria is for the Innovation Award, but based on my experience working with these Cal Poly students this year, there are three reasons why I believe Cal Poly’s float entry, “Bedtime Buccaneers,” was deserving of an award for its imagination and innovation.

1.  The Float Design

It’s always a magical moment to see a year’s worth of hard work make its way down Colorado Blvd. on New Year’s Day.

This year’s float design was not only pleasing to the eye, but it was built with some very creative animation. Not only were they able to make their bed appear to rock back and forth in that sea of iris and have canons appearing to fire from under a quilt of roses, but they were also able to make the iris have a rippling effect that made these flowers appear even more like the ocean they represented.

I don’t know exactly how they did it, but it was very cool.

2.  The Flower Decisions 

With over 14,000 stems, no other Rose Parade float had as many home grown roses as CalPoly’s float.

I know for certain that the origin of flowers used in their design was not a criteria for the Innovation Award. However, it should be. Cal Poly’s commitment to become a certified “CA Grown” float was a great example of the team’s imagination and innovation. Cal Poly’s commitment to California Grown Flowers required that they think differently than any of the other float team in the parade. The average team in the Rose Parade sourced their roses, carnations and chrysanthemums from South America. However, due to the impact imports have had on our domestic flower farms in the past 20 years, Cal Poly’s team had to think creatively on how to ensure that their design would maintain a threshold of 85% or better fresh cut flowers from California.

And they did it! In fact, their float was pushing 95% CA Grown Flowers when it was all said and done.

The Cal Poly team accomplished something that no other float in the 2014 Rose Parade: they were “CA Grown.”

3.  The Team of Students

Student leaders of CalPoly’s Rose Float team accepting their official certificate of achieving their “CA Grown” status.

Personally, I believe the fact that this team is an volunteer team of college students makes their entry the most compelling story in the parade. Due to the noisy nature of media coverage during the run up to the rose parade, this is a story that doesn’t receive the kind of attention it deserves. What an accomplishment for a team of young people, competing with corporate titans likes Dole Foods, Honda, etc., to walk away with one of the most coveted of float awards, the Crystal City Innovation Award, while also being “CA Grown” Certified.

Congratulations to Cal Poly Universities! On behalf of the flower farmers of California, your commitment to supporting our farms and their flowers makes a difference and is appreciated.

CalPoly Universities Presidents Mike Ortiz of Pomona (far left) and Jeff Armstrong of San Luis Obispo (right of Ortiz) hold their respective banners of “CA Grown” achievement on behalf of their campuses.

Why I Fly with Flowers & You Should Too

In my efforts to promote and advocate for our flower farmers, I fly a bit.

There are three reasons I believe you should fly with flowers.

There are three reasons I believe you should fly with flowers.

How much?

I always answer, “more than some, less than others.” The answer has to be relative.

I have learned a lot of “tricks” from my air travel experience though; like wear slip-on dress shoes, have a pair of Bose headphones and avoid

4 Floral Industry Blogs I Read for Inspiration

Eggs, Coffee, Feedly.

With some eggs, coffee and Feedly, I start my day with an inspiring dose of American Grown stories and images.

It is the combination of these three things that help ensure that I get the energy I need to start my day off on the right foot.  It’s a routine that I have built into my busy schedule that I look forward to each morning before I step into the office.  One of the non-industry blogs I read each morning is by Michael Hyatt and he recently did a podcast that describes the value of establishing such morning rituals. I’m a believer.  This routine makes a difference and I encourage any of you to