Was This The Best Valentine’s Day Ever?

Based on the seven years that I’ve been serving as CEO & Ambassador with the California Cut Flower Commission, this past Valentine’s Day appears to have been the best coverage by media that we’ve ever seen for our American flower farms.  Definitely the best during my tenure here.


Headlines from this Valentine’s Day.

Why was this year so good? And what made the difference?

It’s certainly never just one thing, but the three things that I know helped to make this

If Flower Farming Were An Olympic Sport, Who Would You Root For?

I do enjoy the Olympics.  Winter, Summer, it doesn’t matter, I like it all.

Washington Post: Kotsenburg celebrates after winning gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final. Mike Blake / Reuters

This week it has been nice to wrap up my busy days at work leading up to Valentine’s Day by sitting down in the evening and watching the competitions in Sochi.  I’m not a snowboarder, but I enjoy watching Shawn White, Danny Davis and Gregory Bretz in the halfpipe.  I’ve also noticed that the older I get the more I appreciate figure skating, although I couldn’t tell you the names of anyone on Team USA.  I think it’s the dedication, the sheer determination and that they do represent the very best America has in these unique disciplines that both fascinates and

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

#Archive: Give CCFC Just 30 Minutes a Month

Before I left on vacation, I blogged about the #CaGrown hashtag. Then, in reviewing my blog “history,” I found the one below from a few years ago. The message remains the same – “What are you doing to advance the ‘CA Grown’ message?”  If you haven’t already instituted these, why not?  If you have, what success are you seeing?

Please leave any comments or questions you might have and I’ll get back to you.



“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.– Henry Ford

Ford’s quote captures the most basic effort and focus underway by any organization or association working to improve conditions within its sphere. Over the past several years, the CCFC has been able to see this “coming together” on many fronts, efforts and projects and now are working towards that success. However, more can be done, with more coming together.

Each month, the CCFC requests that growers update or submit their grower profiles to staff. This month we are asking for a little more. Consider volunteering just 30 minutes of your time each month to the CCFC. This does not mean you need to pick up the phone to see what needs to be done (although we wouldn’t turn that down). Instead,

[Video] Why “CA Grown” Matters

If there were to be a renaissance in the flower industry, it would be to bring back American grown flowers.

A recent nationwide survey of 1,000 consumers found that 74% of people who bought flowers did not know where the flowers they purchased were grown.

Yet, in that same nationwide survey, we learned that 58% of consumers would prefer to buy CA Grown flowers over those imported, if given a choice. So, apparently where flowers come from does matter to a majority of people.

Help Us Name This New CA Grown Rose!

The CCFC is working hard to try and determine a name for this BRAND NEW rose varietal, only available in California!

What should we call it?
A) Star Struck
B) Disco Queen
C) Funfetti

We need to know today!

Leave your vote in the comment section below or go add your vote on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaGrownFlowers

Will You Be A Part of It? 2013 Farm Guide

The fresh new design look for 2013.

I am very excited about this year’s 2013 California Farm & Flower Guide.  The project is well underway, with another fantastic design by the team at Florists’ Review. This year’s project feels even more involved and important because of the increasing momentum for American Grown Flowers by consumers.

Because California represents approximately 80% of the flowers domestically produced, this guide provides a window into the flower fields of America.  While California may represent the majority of the domestic flowers grown in the United States, the vast majority of the flowers sold in the U.S. are foreign.  In fact, over 80% of all flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily from South America.

Therefore our farm guide becomes an important publication to help tell the story of our family flower farms in California, encouraging local retailers, florists, designers and event planners to pick American Grown flowers when they place their orders.  It makes a difference, not only to our farms, but to the communities that they support.

If you’d like a copy of one of our 2012 Farm Guide, please let me know and I’d be happy to send one to you.   In the meantime, be on the look out for the 2013 edition, its sure to be beautifully packed with what you might expect growing in California.

A Unique Opportunity! Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House

Visit www.MontereyBayFarmTours.org for event information and the map.

This Saturday (June 16th) is a fantastic opportunity for people in the Monterey Bay area to go and tour local flower farms.  You can download a map of the event at:   www.montereybayfarmtours.org

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) is joining with the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers to sponsor the 3rd Annual Monterey Bay Greenhouse Open House.  This event invites the public to come and meet their local greenhouse farmer and learn firsthand how Monterey Bay Area’s flower farms work to contribute a $682.4 million economic impact to the local economy.  As part of its strategic plan, the California Cut Flower Commission serves to help administer this local event each year.

Over the past several years, I’ve been able to see first hand the difference these events make for both our farms and for those who come and visit our farms.

A visitor taking in the beauty that is growing locally.

The public is invited to attend free, farmer-guided tours of six flower farms located in the Monterey Bay area on Saturday, June 16, between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Each farmer will provide family friendly tours showcasing various varieties of cut flowers, ornamental greens, edible flowers that are grown locally, plus highlighting sustainable growing and harvesting practices.  Participating farms include:

  • California Floral Greens [cut greens]                 www.cfgfloral.com
  •  California Pajarosa [cut flowers]                        www.pajarosa.com
  • Four Winds Nursery [potted plants & trees]    www.fourwinds.com
  • Jacobs Farm [culinary herbs & flowers]            www.jacobsfarms.com
  • Kitayama Brothers [cut flowers]                         www.kbflowers.com
  • Succulent Gardens [succulent plants]                www.sgplants.com

Learn why California’s Flowers are America’s Flowers!

About Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House
The Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House was established by several Monterey Bay area cut flower and ornamental greens farmers with the desire to introduce themselves and educate the community about their sustainable farming practices, contribution to the local economy through jobs, and avail their farm fresh products for sale as a fundraiser to a non-profit of the farmer’s choosing.  The Open House gives the public the rare opportunity to see the beauty growing inside of the greenhouses of the Monterey Bay Area.  For more information on the tour, please call (831) 247-4008.

June 16th! Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House

The next opportunity to tour through a local flower farm is just around the corner! I encourage all of those who are interested in an exclusive opportunity to see exactly where America’s best source of flowers come from, to attend this year’s Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House.

Visit their freshly designed website for more details!

Visit www.montereybayfarmtours.org!

America’s Flowers: Worth Fighting For by Lane DeVries

April Issue of SAF's Floral Management

Did you get your April issue of Floral Management?

Check out CCFC’s Chairman Lane DeVries’ Viewpoint article.

CCFC’s Chairman Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Floral Farms took an opportunity in this month’s Floral Management magazine to address the specific issues and concerns regarding the effect federal trade policies have had on the flower farmers of California.  Titled, “America’s Flowers: Worth Fighting For,” Chairman DeVries’ highlights that California’s flower farmers’ issues and concerns have little to nothing to do with begrudging the success of Colombian flower growers, but rather a frustration with U.S. Government’s trade policies.

“California flower farmers, by and large, don’t begrudge the success of Colombian flower growers. As a matter of fact, many good friends in the flower business are growers in Colombia and other South American countries.”

Chairman DeVries’ article was, in part, a response to February’s Viewpoint article written by SAF’s Chairman Leo Roozen titled, “Colombia: Don’t Begrudge Their Success.”  Roozen’s February Viewpoint was inspired by his recent experience visiting Colombia’s growing operations.  Chairman DeVries highlights that it is the specific U.S. trade policy concerns that have left domestic (not just California) farmers at a disadvantage, rather than frustrations with Colombia’s success and growth in the U.S. market.

Additionally, “Letters to the Editor,” from California flower farmers responding to Roozen’s Viewpoint, were sent in from David Clark of Kendall Farms and Rene VanWingerden of Ocean Breeze Floral Farms who also shared their thoughts on the fairness of the “playing field.” (pg.8).

Lane ends his Viewpoint article highlighting his hope and vision for the future ahead for California’s flower farms, saying:

“I can see a future where consumers request local flowers from local florists, and that’s a future worth fighting for.”