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

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.

Designer Dubbed ‘Mother Nature’ Will Work Her Magic at Washington, Penn., Dinner

Francois Weeks To Bring Unique Flair to F2V Tables

When Francoise Weeks arrived in the United States in 1976, she packed along fond memories of helping her mother decorate their home in Antwerp, Belgium, with flowers and experience working in a florist’s shop. She fully intended to live the American dream by continuing to pursue her love of flowers in her new Portland, Oregon, home.

But life doesn’t always run in a straight line, so it was 20 years before she opened her own floral design business, European Floral Design, aimed at weddings. Today, consumers, artists and industry reviewers alike delight in her organic floral art, which is ripe with texture from pods, lichens, moss, herbs, berries, branches, buds.

In other words, a woodland style and the perfect complement to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Washington, Pennsylvania, on June 24, when the lavender fields are in full bloom.

It’s a textural experience that reaches far beyond visual beauty and a satisfying meal. As Weeks puts it, “If a man has two pennies, he should spend one on a loaf of bread to sustain his life and the other on a flower to give him a reason to live.”

 

To this end, some of her most surprising pieces are wearable jewelry, pairing beauty with the human spirit. It’s no wonder Florist Review dubbed her “Mother Nature.”

Weeks has taught at Flower School Cohim in China, the Academy of Floral Art in Exeter, England, studios in Australia and Mexico, workshops at Mayesh and Florabundance and the La Jolla and Memphis garden clubs – proof of how lucky we are to have her on the dinner tour!

Field to Vase attendees have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on design workshop side by side with Weeks to learn more about her unique style. These sessions begin Friday, June 23 and continue on Saturday, June 24, prior to the dinner.

The workshop is limited to 12 students, so register now by adding the workshop at checkout!

It Was A Magical Experience At The Flower Fields

Guests Enjoyed A Beautiful Evening At The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner In Carlsbad

Magical.

That pretty much sums up this year’s American Grown Field to Vase Dinner experience at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. Over 150,000 people will tour The Flower Fields this year, but only our sold-out crowd of 175 people were the lucky few who enjoyed a wonderful dinner by Chef John Miller of Bistro West while overlooking a sea of ranunculus that seemed to trail off into the Pacific Ocean.

The “Flower Chef,” Carly Cylinder, and her team of designers, had guests in awe with their towering designs of greenery, which also served as an enchanting canopy over the table filled with American Grown Flowers. Carly shared her passion for designing with American Grown Flowers with the crowd and went live on Facebook with American Grown Flowers social media guru Niesha Blancas.

F2V’s Niesha Blancas interviews designer Carly Cylinder about what inspired her tablescape.

Flower farmer Mike Anthony Mellano of Mellano & Company provided a special group of guests with a bonus farm tour that took people through the 50-acre farm as Mike explained the growing process and his love for flower farming. Mike highlighted the unique and very special relationship the Mellano family has with the Ecke family, and how their partnership has worked to produce such a special farm for the public to experience and enjoy.

Certified American Grown’s Administrator Kasey Cronquist kicked-off the evening’s festivities by welcoming guests to a reception in front of the Paul Ecke Jr. Barn where they were treated to passed appetizers, wine from the Wine Militia and beer from Oceanside’s Legacy Brewery. Guests were also invited to try their hand at the self-serve “boutonniere bar” before heading up to the table in the middle of the beautiful ranunculus.

As the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and conversations between friends and new friends continued, you couldn’t help but bask in the appreciation of why origin matters.

Returning To Carpinteria

Before We Head Off To Carlsbad, Let's Look Back On One Amazing Night at Gallup & Stribling Orchids

A beautiful tablescape of Certified American Grown Flowers designed by Debi Lilly at Gallup & Stribling Orchids.

Tomorrow, we will be breaking bread in the middle of the beautiful ranunculus in The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, but before we go there, we want to take you back to Carpinteria to share with you all of the amazing images photographer Linda Blue captured that evening among the orchids.

Debi Lilly had her hands full while designing with some amazing Certified American Grown orchids at Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpinteria, California.

Gallup & Stribling Orchids played host to a magical evening on its farm, and Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event shared her passion and talent with a beautifully designed tablescape. It was a sold-out event with guests enjoying a wonderfully prepared farm-to-fork meal by Rincon Beach Club & Catering’s chefs Ron True and Jose Garcia.

Chef Ron True (far right) and Chef Jose Garcia with Rincon Beach Club & Catering provided guests with an outstanding dining experience.

Certified American Flower farmers and father-and-son duo Alex and Case Van Wingerden were gracious hosts, providing an hour-long tour of their farm to guests who wanted that extra time and experience with the flower farmer discussing orchid growing and answering questions.

Alex and Case Van Wingerden of Gallup & Stribling Orchids were hosts to a sold-out crowd on their farm in Carpinteria, California.

A big thank you to our spirits sponsor Cutler’s Artisan Spirits of Santa Barbara. They greeted our guests with some extra-special tastings of their finest artisan spirits. Guests also enjoyed beer from Santa Barbara’s Captain Fatty’s Craft Brewery.

An American Grown Field to Vase Dinner would not be complete without the accompaniment of great wine, and we enjoyed some amazing pairings from Margerum Wine Company. A big thank you to Brooks Van Wingerden of Margerum Wine Company for joining us and walking our guests through each pairing.

We have a wonderful album of more photos from Carpinteria on our Flickr page. Check them out here:

2017 Carpinteria Field To Vase Dinner

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Turn Your Field to Vase Dinner Tour Experience Into a Full Alaskan Adventure

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is a special event in itself, but this July, we are taking the adventure to the next level with a stop in Homer, Alaska, and we want you to be prepared!

Alaska’s peonies are something to behold! Imagine yourself surrounded by them while dining with fellow flower aficionados in the peony fields in July.

You’ll have the chance to wine and dine among the blooming fields at Scenic Place Peonies farm beside the Kachemak Bay and set against the mountain backdrop that is central Alaska. It’s a dream come true for every flower aficionado in the country.

But a journey to Homer involves so much more, and requires a bit of planning – after all, there are a limited number of daily flights into Alaska and a bit of additional travel planning will be necessary to secure your accommodations and join us at Scenic Place Peonies.

Over the next several days we’ll be providing a series of travel tips, lodging suggestions and adventure ideas for guests who have already purchased their dinner tickets. For those still considering a trip to Alaska, you can sign up for these tips, too!

Just under 50 seats remain for this amazing experience, so make sure you book your dinner tickets today!

Design With “The Flower Chef”

Carly Cylinder To Host Design Workshop At The Flower Fields

Flower Chef Carly Cylinder will dazzle our F2V guests with her amazing floral talents. Be sure to check out her workshop too!

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour will make its annual stop at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California, April 20. Guests will enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime, dining overlooking the Pacific Ocean, touring the farm with flower farmer Mike A. Mellano of Mellano & Company while enjoying floral tablescapes created by Carly Cylinder, “The Flower Chef.”

Carly is the author of “The Flower Chef: A Modern Guide to Do-It-Yourself Arrangements,” named one of the best books of 2016 by Amazon Books. She’s been featured in magazines including InStyle, Rachel Ray, Family Circle, US Weekly and more.

Her full-service floral design studio, Flour LA, specializes in events for the beauty, fashion and tech industries. And Carly also caters to a long list of celebrities.

Carly’s “On the Farm” Design Workshop!

Why not take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and join Carly April 20 for a hands-on floral design workshop where you’ll help create the arrangements that will be the stars of the show at dinner that night?

You’ll also create your own glorious flower crown to wear or take home. Along the way, Carly will teach you about flower prep and care, along with fundamental design techniques that can be used in any floral design style. You’ll leave with a your crown and an arrangement!

Be sure to add this workshop when you reserve your seat at dinner. There’s only space for 40 guests, so register today!

And remember, tickets to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Flower Fields are going to go fast.  There are just 150 seats at the dinner table and they will sell out in advance, so reserve your seats today!

 

 

Imagine dining amongst the rows and rows of beautiful flowers in Carlsbad on April 20th. Click to Save Your Seats!