Rallying Around Alaska’s Peony Farmers

Celebrating American Grown Flowers In Alaska

A beautiful tablescape by floral designer Kelly Shore paid tribute to the culture and beauty of Alaska during the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska.

It could not have been a more fitting conclusion to American Grown Flowers Month.

Overlooking Kachemak Bay on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, the Homer Spit, with at least 5 different glaciers shimmering in the sunlight from across the bay, guests of our most recent American Grown Field to Vase Dinner enjoyed a floral filled evening of hope and grandeur.

The peony fields of Scenic Place Peonies overlooking Kachemak Bay.

Known for its towering mountain peaks, supersized salmon and incredible vistas, agriculture production doesn’t really hit the radar screen of industries Alaska’s known for. In fact, Alaska currently ranks #50 in U.S. agriculture production.

However, what we found in Alaska was a dedicated and hard working group of Alaskan peony farmers who are looking to change all of that and the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour’s stop in Homer, Alaska at Scenic Place Peonies provided a perfect opportunity to celebrate the work underway and tell their story.

Flower farmer Beth Van Sandt gives guests a personalized tour through her peony fields.

Our dinner guests enjoyed a tour through the peony fields with flower farmer Beth Van Sandt and her husband Kurt Weichhand. Beth and Kurt were gracious hosts, giving our dinner attendees full reign of their property to enjoy, explore and experience.

Beth VanSandt and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies.

 

Each guest was greeted at their seat with a huge Alaskan Grown peony to go along with a beautifully designed tablescape by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore.

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore did an outstanding job featuring not only the flowers grown on the farm, but developed her creative vision to ensure that her design paid tribute to what Alaska is known for; incorporating authentic fish nets, shells and glass fishing floats.

It was beautiful.

Kelly Shore of Petals By the Shore was the featured designer at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, Alaska.

 

So many of our guests captured the excitement of the evening via social media.

The evening’s menu also stayed true to Alaska’s fishing and seafood heritage. Jakolof Oyster Company gave guests a real treat, providing a live shucking demonstration and what seemed to be an unlimited supply of fresh oysters for the evening’s reception. Chef Dave Thorne of Delicious Dave was responsible for the perfectly prepared King and Sockeye Salmon. The King Salmon was a late addition and a special treat added to the menu, caught the day before by Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. Cronquist quipped during his remarks that this Field to Vase Dinner was essentially, “river to table.” Chef Dave also treated everyone to a live fish filet demonstration prior to the beginning of dinner.

Dave Thorne of Delicious Dave’s with Certified American Grown Administrator and dinner emcee Kasey Cronquist.

This tour stop proved to be a true Alaskan adventure. The American Grown Field to Vase spotlight highlighted a vibrancy and a beauty in Alaska that really symbolizes the growing momentum, opportunity and movement for more American Grown Flowers.

Even in Alaska.

Check out more photos from the evening’s festivities found on our Flickr page.

If you attended our dinner in Alaska, please leave a comment and share your experience from the evening with our readers.

Cheers!

More photos can be found on our Flickr page. Click to view.

Heading to Holly’s

Join Us on a Floral Design Playground

While standing on the property that would eventually become Hope Flower Farm, floral designer and flower farmer Holly Chapple let her imagination run wild, imagining a flower festival held in the gently sloping fields and impressive barns.

 

 

Holly’s dream expanded after she purchased the farm and witnessed the tranquility the location brought to the floral designers who traveled to spend time there learning and renewing their passion for their craft.

 

And as she created a playground for floral design and teaching, Holly’s vision was enhanced, opening the door to bringing the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour to Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia, on Oct. 8, just a day before “Flowerstock,” Holly’s visionary flower festival.

 

Click here to watch the Flowerstock video shared by Holly Chapple on Instagram.

Flower lovers won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to experience Hope Flower Farm, meet Holly and dine in the flower fields at this, the next stop on the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Guests will be transported by the historic charm of the grounds located in the heart of Loudoun County’s breathtaking countryside. The farm is a tranquil retreat, design facility and destination (also a registered bed and breakfast) where American Grown Flowers and floral designers grow together.

The historic site was once a working dairy farm and has several impressive barns and a stone Quaker house dating back to 1820.

Holly will bring her signature lush and wistful floral design style to the dining table, and guests will enjoy a four-course artisanal meal that includes wine, craft beer and custom cocktail parings.

A reception, a farm tour and a floral design demonstration are part of the experience.

The dinner is the perfect kickoff to Flowerstock, scheduled for Oct. 9-10 on the farm.

Now in its second year, Flowerstock features demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, flower play, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping.

Don’t miss out on this one-two punch for flower fans. Reserve your seat and the Field to Vase Dinner and follow that once-in-a-lifetime experience up by attending Flowerstock.

Design With A Florist on the Forefront of the American Grown Flower Movement

Add Kelly Shore’s Workshop to Your Alaskan Experience

Floral designer Kelly Shore was an early adopter of the locavore flower movement. In 2010, after moving to the Washington, D.C., area from the midwest, Kelly began working with nearby flower farms to include locally grown flowers in the wedding bouquets she was creating. She also got involved in farm-to-table dinners being held in the region.

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore is the featured designer for our next Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, AK.

And just like that, she was hooked on American Grown Flowers.

Kelly developed a unique, lush garden style that includes myriad flower varieties and foliage – because she knows texture makes all the difference and bold color combinations bring the wow factor.

Always an innovator, Kelly embarked on a year-long project at one of her Maryland flower farms where she designed seasonal photo shoots to highlight how event designers might use 100 percent locally grown flowers, foliage and plants to create bouquets, centerpieces and wedding ceremony decor. The project highlighted how the quality and variety of flowers available locally was more important – and more beautiful – than creating cookie-cutter designs. The project was featured in industry magazines.

Kelly led the design team for the annual First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C. on May 4, 2017.

But Kelly wasn’t done being imaginative. In May 2017, she led a 20-person volunteer team to design the floral decor for the annual First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C., where 18,000 Certified American Grown stems were featured in every single floral design at the event.

Imagine being able to soak up Kelly’s expertise, design prowess and love for local flowers. Now you can!

As the featured designer for the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase dinner, Kelly will also host a design workshop at this stunning locale.

Guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour on July 29 in Homer, Alaska, can learn alongside Kelly at a design workshop Friday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to noon at Scenic Place Peonies. (Add the workshop when you reserve your dinner seat. Already attending? Add the workshop today!)

The workshop will include a light breakfast and hands-on training on how you can incorporate Alaska’s highly coveted peony blossoms into a show-stopping centerpiece.

Kelly will guide participants from beginning to end as she discusses how to choose blooms and the supporting flowers and foliage. You’ll also receive professional images of you designing and the finished product, and you’ll take home  your centerpiece made of all American Grown Flowers.

It’s not every day that you can design alongside one of the country’s premier designers who’s passionate about designing with American Grown Flowers.

Make the most of your entire Alaskan experience by adding Kelly’s workshop to your visit. Only a few spots remain!

Register now!

Sharing the ‘Origin Matters’ Message With the First Lady

By Diana Roy, CCFC Chair

Just before the Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on May 4, I had the opportunity to meet first lady Melania Trump at a reception. It was an opportunity I wanted to make the most of. After all, it’s not every day you meet the first lady of the United States; and her husband’s position on “buy American” initiatives meant this could be the chance of a lifetime to share the “origin matters” message on behalf of America’s flower farmers.

Once she had finished taking photos with prior guests, I approached the first lady, reached for her hand and

Congress Declares July “American Grown Flowers Month”

Celebrating the Value of America's Flower Farming Families Throughout the Month of July

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday June 27, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.” Co-sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families.

Click to Watch: Rep. Carbajal Speaks on House Floor in Support of American Grown Flowers Month

Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month.

“I have seen firsthand the value the cut flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my

This Menu Will Have You Asking For More!

If dinner smack dab in the middle of rolling fields of lavender fields isn’t enough, the menu for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner June 24 at Destiny Hill Farms in Washington, Pennsylvania, is sure to inspire you to join the latest stop on this flower-farm based dinner tour.

Plus, guests at this dinner will also receive FREE tickets to the Destiny Hill Farm Lavender Festival to be held the following day, and a swag bag that includes goodies for flower lovers, including locally sourced lavender honey.

Guests at the Destiny Hill Flower Farm enjoy crafts and gifts that celebrate the beauty of lavender at the Lavender Festival.

To whet your appetite, here’s what Master Chef  Byron J. Bardy, along with Executive Chef Scott J. Burkhart and Chef Alan Kaska, will be cooking up for dinner tour guests:

Local farm-to-table crudite, fresh fruits and artisan cheeses displayed in a “Field to Vase” ice carving; classic gazpacho with a sourdough crouton and edible flower garnish; fresh figs, micro-greens, squash blossoms, drunken goat cheese and Destiny Hill Farm lavender vinaigrette on a bed of butter bibb lettuce, served with assorted artisan breads; oven-roasted lamb persillade with Dijon demi-glace; roasted fennel, baby purple sprouts and zucchini and yellow squash with brown butter; rosemary fingerling tri-color potatoes; and fresh berries in warm bread pudding with a honey port wine poached pear, Chantilly cream and lavender bundles.

Jim and Nancy Cameron, owners of Destiny Hill Farm

Now that you’re inspired, we can also share that this Field to Vase dinner also includes a tour of Destiny Hill Farm with farmers Nancy and Jim Cameron and a tablescape designed by Floral designer Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design.

Seating is limited and going quickly, so reserve your seat at the table now! With a menu like this, how can you possibly resist?

Save Your Seats In The Next 48 Hours!

And Receive A Signed Copy Of Slow Flowers Or The 50 Mile Bouquet By Author Debra Prinzing

The American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour is heading east!

Our next stop at Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania is one of only three stops on the East Coast during this year’s American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

So, to help kick off this beautiful part of our tour, we’re offering a signed copy of Slow Flowers or The 50 Mile Bouquet to those who reserve their tickets in the next 48 hours.

 

 

 

A lavender-filled experience at Destiny Hill is an exclusive opportunity to enjoy dinner on this beautiful American flower farm.

Don’t wait!

 

All of our dinners have been sold out (our July 29 dinner in Alaska is already sold out), so don’t let this amazing Field to Vase experience pass you by. Save your seat to one or all of our remaining dinners.

Enter “Slow” or “50Mile” at check out for your signed copy!

Simply enter the promo code “Slow” or “50Mile” at checkout to let us know which signed book you would like to receive as our gift to you for saving your seats to one of our East Coast dinners in the next 48 hours*.

Upcoming F2V Dinner Gives New Meaning to ‘Once in a Lifetime’

Private Lavender Farm Opens Its Fields to Dinner Guests

If you’re a collector of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour’s June 24 stop at Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania, is right up your alley.

This dinner features a host of once-in-a-lifetimes – access to a gated, private lavender, berry and flower farm; a meal prepared by one of only 65 “Master Chefs” in America; and tables adorned with American Grown Flowers arranged by renowned floral designer Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design.

At this tour stop, you’ll dine in fields of fragrant lavender with views of nearby lush Western Pennsylvania woods. The mixture of cool green canopy and rows and rows of lavender will be breathtaking. And don’t be surprised if Luther, the farm’s miniature donkey and social media superstar, makes an appearance.

You’ll also hear the story of flower farmers Jim and Nancy Cameron who turned the generations-old family dairy farm into a lavender farm and event site. Nancy still recalls riding her horse through the former corn fields at the site as a child. The farm has been in the family since 1941!

Those who sign up for the VIP farm tour will also get a glimpse of the lisianthus, peonies, hydrangea and dahlias also grown on the farm, as well as the large barn and greenhouse on the site.

And ALL who attend will receive complimentary tickets to the Destiny Hill Farm Lavender Festival to be held the day after the dinner.

Click on the photo above to learn more about the Destiny Hill Lavender Festival

A five-course dinner will be prepared by five chefs, including Master Chef Byron J. Bardy, one of only 65 Master Chef’s in America, along with Executive Chef Scott J. Burkhart, Chef Alan Kaska, Chef Rikk Panzera and Pastry Chef Ruth Beatty.

The farm-to-table menu will feature locally sourced food paired with craft beer, wine and a custom lavender cocktail.

In addition to catching a glimpse of the “field to vase” ice carving during the cocktail hour, guests will be entertained by the Dan Baker Jazz Trio.

Guests can make this event a complete floral experience by participating in a hands-on design workshop with designer Francoise Weeks where you will learn more about her beautiful and unique style.  The limited-space workshop begins Friday, June 23 and continues Saturday, June 24, prior to dinner. You’ll find an option to add her workshop when you purchase event tickets.

 

New Floral Design Workshops are Huge Hits with Dinner-Goers

Participants Learn, Create with America’s Most-Famous Floral Designers

This year, we added a new feature to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. At nearly every stop, guests can add a hands-on design workshop with one of America’s renowned floral designers to the event experience.

Debi Lilly held an oversold floral design class prior to the Field to Vase Dinner at Gallup & Stribling Orchids.

These workshops, held the day of or day before the dinner and ranging in length, have been wildly successful. Participants are relishing the chance to learn from our designers and dig in to create amazing floral designs – which often show up on Field to Vase Dinner tables. The designers are enjoying the teaching moment and the opportunity to share the origin matters message with guests.

Guests enjoying their opportunity to work with Carly Cylinder at Carly’s floral design workshop at the Flower Fields.

Photos from these events say it all – you can literally see the passion and excitement for American Grown blooms and greenery. And the arrangements that come out of these workshops are awe-inspiring.

Guests loved meeting Debi Lilly and learning from her during Debi’s floral design workshop at Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpinteria, California.

After all, who doesn’t want to get in touch with their creative side with the help of glorious American Grown Flowers and pro tips from renowned floral designers?

Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event and Oprah Show fame inspired workshoppers at Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpenteria.

“The Flower Chef,” Carly Cylinder, helped participants become flower artists at our sold-out dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.

And next up, floral designer Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design will host a two-day workshop as part of the June 24 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour at Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Weeks is renowned for her signature look that incorporates branches, buds, foliage, seedpods and herbs. Learn how she creates these awe-inspiring designs in a two-day workshop Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24, prior to the Field to Vase dinner.

To participate, be sure to add the workshop at checkout. The workshop is limited to 12 students, so register now while space is available!

Join Us in the Lavender Fields June 24

We're headed to Destiny Hill Farm!

Lavender is more than a color and a distinctive aroma. In fact, it’s more than a single flower – it’s in a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants growers know as mint.

That may be news to you, but this is just the tip of the stalk when it comes to understanding this glorious flower that’s grown at Destiny Hill Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Flower farmers Jim and Nancy Cameron converted their family farm to a lavender field in 2011 and today are proud to share their magical farm and talk about their adventure at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on June 24.

Dinner guests will enjoy an artisanal meal surrounded by wildly fragrant lavender and like-minded flower aficionados while learning about the value of Certified American Grown Flowers.

Plus, you’ll be awe-struck when you see the arrangements from floral designer Francoise Weeks of European Floral Design who plans to adorn the dining table with beautiful American grown flowers.

Save your seat today!

What are you waiting for? Save your seat at the table and be sure to make it a complete floral experience by joining flower farmer Jim Cameron as one of only twenty guests who will enjoy an extended farm tour or participate in a hands-on design workshop with floral designer Francoise Weeks where you will learn more about her beautiful and unique style.

The extended farm tour and workshop details can be found on our website and selected when you save your seat to this amazing dining experience.