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

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.”


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.

How Far is Too Far for Flowers?


Ivan_self This is a guest post by Ivan Van Wingerden of Ever-Bloom in Carpinteria, CA.
You can follow Ivan and his adventures at Ever-Bloom on Twitter.

Watching from behind my shopping cart, I can’t help but observe a few fellow customers scrutinizing different bunches and bouquets of flowers in the large display at our local supermarket.

The transportation footprint of flowers is important too.

I can hear them discussing color, longevity, and what room it would look best in.  They knew which flowers would likely last longer based on how open they were and appeared to have a very discerning eye for what they were looking for.

What I didn’t hear them talking about was whether they were grown at a farm or greenhouse nearby, or whether these pretty petals had a more international set of

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

Why is it so hard to find American Grown Flowers today?

I enjoy sharing information about our farms and flowers.  In fact, the CCFC has helped to coordinate two Open House events (Carpinteria & Monterey) to help more people learn about our farms, meet the farmers and learn where flowers come from.  I also get requests to speak to groups on the subject of flowers and flower farming.  I enjoy those opportunities.

Hug ’em, if you got ’em! A Carpinteria Greenhouse Farm Tour attendee shows her love for locally grown flowers.

However, the #1 question that I get asked when I get done speaking is, “Where can I find your flowers?”

This is a great and supportive question, but one that strikes at the heart of

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

The Sylvia Cup: 3 Award Winning Designs with California Grown Flowers

For the fourth consecutive year, the flower farmers of California have sponsored the annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition held during the Society of American Florists‘ annual Convention.  As  the exclusive fresh flower sponsor of the event, the California Cut Flower Commission works to facilitate the contribution of fresh flowers directly from our family farms that are used by the designers competing to win the coveted Sylvia Cup.  All of the flowers and greens used during the design contest are grown in California.

The giving of the Cup! I had the privilege of presenting the Sylvia Cup to Joyce Mason-Monheim, AIFD, AZMF, PFCI for her outstanding award winning floral design, designed exclusively with 100% CA Grown flowers and greens!

Because of the Sylvia Cup’s rich tradition as the longest running live, national, annual floral design competition, this event is a great opportunity to showcase how America’s best flowers can be paired with America’s best designers for award winning results.

This year’s competition was fierce with 24 outstanding design professionals hailing from all corners of our country to compete for the Cup.  However, when the petals settled and the knives were down, only three were invited to take the stage and only one took home this year’s Sylvia Cup.

Here are the top 3 award winning designs for the 2013 Sylvia Cup Design Competition:

Why would a Texan move to California to become a farmer?

This is a guest post by Jennifer Everett, Farm Manager for California Floral Greens in Watsonville, CA. Jennifer also serves as a Commissioner for the California Cut Flower Commission.

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter.

I grew up on the family farm admiring my dad and wanting to be a farmer just like him.

It has been almost 5 1/2 years ago now that I asked myself, “why would a texan move to California to become a farmer?”  At that time, my father, Jim Everett, was offering me a chance to move to the sunny state of California and manage a total of 120 acres of floral greens.  I had been teaching chemistry for the last 7 years and was looking for a change of pace, when the opportunity