Win a Breathtaking Protea Wreath!

Spring has officially sprung, despite wild weather on both coasts, and we’re celebrating its arrival with a fun spring flowers giveaway.


In a nod to the first stop on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour on April 7 at Resendiz Brothers Protea, and because we just can’t resist sharing our bounty, we’re giving away one of their breathtaking protea wreaths.


Win a beautiful wreath from Resendiz Brothers, like the one featured in Sunset Magazine!



Submit your entry and you could win a protea wreath to adorn your door (like the one featured in Sunset Magazine!) – and because proteas are long lasting, it will look lovely all spring long!

Can’t get enough of the amazing protea? Check out these beautiful images from @resendizbrothers on Instagram!

Check out @ResendizBrothers on Instagram! Can you believe this beautiful farm is our first stop in the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour?!

[Press Release] New Contest, Campaign Puts Spotlight on American Grown Flowers Month in July

In 2017, Congress passed a resolution declaring July “American Grown Flowers Month” to recognize the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers. To spread the word about American Grown Flowers Month, Certified American Grown is working with farmers and retailers nationwide on in-store promotion programs to help consumers identify and celebrate homegrown blooms throughout July.

The campaign includes a national contest, the American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest, that encourages retailers to leverage the Congressional declaration and promote homegrown blooms – and earn prize money for their efforts.

Click on the photo above to learn more.

This contest is a first of its kind,” explains Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “And we hope to see this celebration grow into a fun and spirited tradition, celebrating the rich history, heritage and beauty of American Grown Flowers during this special month.”

Retailers who participate in the contest will be judged on the quality and beauty of their in-store displays that promote American Grown Flowers Month, their ability to increase flower sales in July and their efforts to promote the celebratory month overall, as well as the Certified American Grown brand.

Store campaigns will be judged by Travis Rigby, publisher of Super Floralmagazine and Florists’ Review; J Keith White, AIFD, creative director for American Floral Trends Forecast and AANDK Productions; and a third yet-to-be-determined judge.

A beautiful collection of Certified American Grown Flowers can really help draw consumers into learning more and celebrating the season.


First prize is a $500 American Express gift card, second prize is a $200 card and third prize is a $100 card.

Participants will be featured, and winners will be recognized, in Super Floral andFlorists’ Review. Certified American Grown will feature and promote all participants on social media, in a press release and on its blog and website.

Certified American Grown has quickly become the most prolific and widely recognized origin-based label in floral departments and retail coolers nationwide. More and more farms continue to adopt this third-party certification as a badge of pride, guaranteeing that the flowers found in a bouquet or bunch were grown and assembled in the U.S.

Working with Where Food Comes From, this certification is the only source-verification program of its kind in the floral industry.


# # #


About Certified American Grown

Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American Grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Brand and logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about this contest, visit

America’s Flower Farmers Must Continue to Lobby Congress

By Kasey Cronquist, Administrator for Certified American Grown

A tenacious team of flower farmers descended onto Capitol Hill for 48 hours of lobbying and advocating.

It has become a tradition.

As soon as Valentine’s Day is behind them, a team of American flower and greens farmers set their sights on Washington, D.C. The annual effort of meeting with members of Congress and their staff early in the new year has become a priority tradition in order to raise the profile for America’s flower-farming families on Capitol Hill.

This year, our delegation included flower and greens farmers from seven states; Alaska, California, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington state.

Wearing American Grown boutonnières has also become part of the tradition when farmers are visiting offices in Washington, D.C.

Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta joined America’s flower farmers for dinner and shared his experience developing his story for Valentine’s Day.

Each year, we hold a mandatory dinner meeting that includes speakers and an “issues briefing” to help prepare our farms for their meetings on the Hill. This year, we invited Damian Paletta, the Washington Post reporter who was responsible for the front cover, above-the-fold article titled, “In Rose Beds, Money Blooms,” that was published in the Sunday edition prior to Valentine’s Day. It was fascinating to hear the backstory on why he wrote the story on roses and specifically about his travels to Colombia and Miami.

Craig Regelbrugge of AmericanHort also provided our farms with the latest on immigration reform. Certified American Grown is a executive committee member of the Agricluture Immigration Reform Coalition (AIRC). Regelbrugge manages AIRC and he walked us through all of the political and practical challenges of H.R. 4760, known as the “Securing America’s Future Act.”

The next 36 hours was filled with meetings, meetings, meetings.

Benno Dobbe of Holland America Flowers speak with Senator Cantwell of Washington state about his flower farm in Woodland.

Our delegation participated in over 30 meetings with members of Congress and their staff requesting support for America’s flower farmers, lobbying for comprehensive immigration reform, the reinstatement of the annual NASS floriculture report, addressing issues with current trade policy and encouraging this administration to adopt the tradition of featuring American Grown Flowers in the White House.

And for the second year, our farms attended a reception hosted by the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus and the Wine Caucus. Members of Congress and their staff attended a fun, flower-filled evening discussing the value of our domestic flowers and wine. This reception is a wonderful pairing, reflecting the beauty and bounty of American agriculture.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta, center right with farmers from California. Panetta is a co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.


Alaska’s peony farmers meet with Senator Dan Sullivan.

Farms meeting with Congressman Collin Petersen, ranking member of the House Ag Committee.

Action Items

After a trip like this, we have a lot of follow up, new opportunities to pursue and relationships to build on. None of this is possible without the support and participation of our farms. Active and regular engagement in Washington is increasingly necessary as we continue to highlight the value America’s flower farmers bring to their community and the economy.

USDA NASS Administrator Hubert Hammer speaks to our farmers about their decision to suspend the Annual Floriculture Report.

One of our meetings was with USDA NASS. We had the opportunity to meet with NASS Administrator Hubert Hammer. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss NASS’s decision to suspend the Annual Floriculture Report. We learned a lot from this meeting and our delegation walked away with a deeper appreciation for what NASS does to account for agriculture. Our request was to have the Annual Floriculture Report reinstated and we reported to NASS that we were working with members of Congress to address the funding issues that have resulted in the suspension of our annual report.

We also discussed how important it is that our flower farmers participate and complete their Ag Census survey. That survey becomes a guiding document for USDA programs, funding and aligning priorities within the department (like when budgets get tight or cut). Therefore, it’s really important that our farms complete the Ag Census. If you didn’t get a number issued to you from NASS, you can register to receive one.

If you’re interested in learning more about our annual trip or would like to plan to join us next year, contact me. It would be great to have you join us on the Hill.

Kelly Shore (left) of Petals By the Shore with Certified American Grown’s Andrea Philpot. A big thank you to Andrea Philpot (right) for her efforts to make sure this year’s annual effort was a success.


Celebrate With Us And Drive Sales In July!

July Is American Grown Flowers Month!

Let’s face it.

The month of July is not breaking any records for floral sales.

Of course, people think “flowers” during the month of February for Valentine’s Day and in May for Mother’s Day, but it’s during July when “America’s in Season.”

A beautiful collection of Certified American Grown Flowers can really help draw consumers into learning more and celebrating the season.

That’s right! Flower and greens farmers throughout our country are all in full production mode, busy growing their beautiful, fresh, homegrown blooms during the month of July, making it the perfect month to celebrate American Grown Flowers Month.

In fact, in 2017 Congress declared July “American Grown Flowers Month.”

Therefore, to help celebrate and spread the news, Certified American Grown is sponsoring a national merchandising contest, encouraging retailers to leverage this Congressional declaration and promote our homegrown blooms.

“This contest is a first of its kind,” explains Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “And we hope to see this celebration grow into a fun and spirited tradition, celebrating the rich history, heritage and beauty of American Grown Flowers during this special month.”

Registration Is Open!

Over the course of the next several weeks, Certified American Grown will be accepting registrations from retailers who would like to participate in our first American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest.

Participating retailers will be judged on the quality and beauty of their display, increasing sales and efforts to educate consumers about American Grown Flowers Month and Certified American Grown.

Click here to register today!



Renowned Designers To Wow Guests at First Two Dinner Tour Stops

Rene Van Rems, Debi Lilly to Design Tablescapes at California Dinners

We’re always excited when things really start coming together for each of the American Grown Field to Vase dinners, but this year, the excitement is through the roof as we announce that two renowned floral designers have joined the tour.

Meet Rene Van Rems and Debi Lilly!

Rene Van Rems

Designing tablescapes at the April 7 Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, is Rene Van Rems, a renowned ambassador to the floral industry. Van Rems is a leading speaker, educator and demonstrator who has led workshops and design shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He’s also frequently featured at art museum events, including “Art Alive” in San Diego.

Van Rems is recognized for bringing the European influence to American floral designs. His work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine and on HGTV. He was formally educated at the prestigious Rijksmiddelbare Tuinbouwschool Floral Institute at Aalsmeer in Holland.

Our heads are spinning as we ponder how he’ll delight guests with hundreds of fresh protea!


Debi Lilly

Next up, celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will bring her amazing design skills to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields on April 26 in Carlsbad.

You’ve seen Lilly on TV, in magazines, in stores nationwide, and maybe you’ve even seen photos of her floral and event creations for designer brands.

Known as Oprah’s “Favorite Pro,” Lilly was part of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 10 years and has made it her mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of party planning expertise, stylist tips and DIY designs with fans worldwide.

With her impressive client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Safeway and Lamborghini, Lilly is a highly sought-after designer.

Last year, Lilly was the floral designer for our Carpinteria dinner where she delighted guests with her creations and easy-to-follow design tips.

With names like Van Rems and Lilly creating the floral décor at Field to Vase Dinners, guests will be wowed by breathtaking designs and will leave with a new appreciation for American Grown Flowers.

Tickets are going fast for these two dinners.


America’s Flower Farmers Go To Washington

A delegation of American flower farmers was in Washington, D.C. this week working to raise the profile of issues that impact flower farmers and the floral industry. The annual trip is also an opportunity to meet with a dedicated group of representatives in the House who acknowledge their care and support for America’s flower farmers through their membership in the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.


Flower farmers from Maryland to Alaska gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 2018 Fly-In.

While there, farmers will meet with elected officials, attend events and discuss the importance and opportunities ahead for the American Grown Flowers movement and brand. They’ll also be working to get buy-in for all American Grown Flowers in the White House!

Stay tuned for future coverage of what was achieved at this year’s fly-in.

Meet Mel Resendiz…

He’s the Host For Our First 2018 Dinner

Flower farmer Mel Resendiz might not seem like the sentimental type, but when you get him talking about proteas, you can feel his passion.

Whether he’s describing the spring growing season, the many varieties he grows or the one-of-a-kind bouquets he creates, you can feel Mel’s devotion to proteas and to American Grown Flowers.

In this short video, he shares a bit about his farm and his growing practices. But just wait until you get to the part about what it’s like to give the gift of flowers. You’ll understand – and you’ll swoon.

Video by California State Floral Association


You can meet Mel in person, dine on his farm and learn more about his glorious proteas at the first stop for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour on April 7.

Save your seat!

And be sure to add the VIP tour and reception with Resendiz at checkout!

Check out the other stops on this year’s tour! Ticket prices to Resendiz Brothers Protea will increase to $200 on March 8th! So don’t wait! Buy your tickets today!


These Women Are Making a Difference for America’s Flower Farmers

Take Inspiration From Them, Then Promote Women’s Day March 8!



Neighbors used to call Diana Roy “Flower Girl.”

“I never seemed to have quite enough flowers in my own yard, so I was always asking neighbors if I could cut some of theirs,” she says.

Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea speaking to Congressman Jimmy Panetta (right) during a reception in Washington, D.C.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

Now the business manager of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Roy has all the blooms she could possibly want. She’s combined her passion for flowers with her background in public relations to help make the farm one of California’s largest suppliers of South African and Australian flowers—not to mention an international leader in protea farming.

“We mentor other protea farmers by bringing them to our farm and providing educational information about protea,” she says. “We made a trip to Africa to learn about their growing techniques and then were able to share those learnings with other protea farmers in California.”

As immediate-past chair of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), Roy is one of the many outstanding women who are championing American Grown Flowers, whether in their communities or in the world at large.

Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Floral Farms was recognized by the Society of American Florists in 2014 for his efforts to bring Women’s Day back to the United States as a celebrated holiday.

As our country celebrates Women’s Day on March 8 by honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, these passionate leaders are working hard to ensure the nation’s floral industry continues to thrive.

Founded in New York City more than a century ago, Women’s Day has been most notably celebrated internationally through the giving of flowers, but has risen in popularity as a floral holiday here in the U.S. over the past several years, thanks to the efforts of Lane DeVries of Sun Valley Group who has made it his mission to bring the holiday to the forefront here in the U.S.  As more people choose to mark the occasion with flowers, the holiday has helped fuel additional flower buying after Valentine’s Day.

Celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly understands the importance of celebrating holidays like Women’s Day. After more than a decade working with “The Oprah Winfrey Show”—and with a client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Safeway and Lamborghini—she’s now on a mission to inspire her fans to elevate life’s special occasions.

By sharing her party planning tips and DIY designs, she aims to help people celebrate their triumphs with elegance and style. She has also become an advocate for the American Grown flower movement, serving as featured floral designer for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner last year and will once again be showcasing her field to vase-inspired designs at the Field to Vase Dinner scheduled for April 26 at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.

Debi Lilly had her hands full while designing with some amazing Certified American Grown orchids at Gallup & Stribling Orchids in Carpinteria, CA. Debi will be the featured designer on April 26th for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

With the help of advocates like Lilly, awareness of American Grown Flowers continues to blossom. A growing number of consumers are demanding homegrown blooms, and surveys show 58 percent would buy domestically grown flowers if given the choice.

Persuading consumers to buy American can often be as simple as letting them know they’re available. Crystal Hedgpeth, floral manager for Safeway’s Northern California Division, discovered this when customers gave the store poor marks for the availability of locally sourced products. Knowing more than half the blooms sold in her stores were California Grown, she launched a marketing campaign to put Golden State flowers front and center.

By grouping all of the locally grown flowers into one visual display and showcasing them in blue buckets to match the California Grown logo, she helped boost local flower sales by 14 percent across the supermarket chain’s 280 Northern California stores.

“In our minds, this should be part of our permanent thinking,” says Hedgpeth, who was named 2017 Flower Farm Champion by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). “We’ll continue to support California flower farmers and even incorporate the Certified American Grown Flower program. We want to continue to grow this.”

Crystal Hedgpeth, Floral Manager for Safeway’s NorCal division was recently recognized as the 2017 California Flower Farm Champion of the Year. Pictured here with California Cut Flower Commission Promotion Committee Chair Bruce Brady (left) and Nick Matteis, Executive Director of California Grown.  Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

With the contributions of innovative women like these, American flower farmers are enjoying a surge in demand for local blooms. As Women’s Day reminds us, women everywhere are working tirelessly to make a difference in the world—and the floral industry is no exception.

Floral Designers Prepare to Delight First Lady at Annual Luncheon

Event Showcases American Grown Flowers on One of the Country’s Biggest Stages

Last year’s audience for the annual First Lady’s Luncheon.

More than 18,000 cut flowers will descend upon Washington, D.C., this spring, shipped from American flower farms across the country.

Once there, a team of volunteer floral designers will make a mad dash to arrange the blooms into more than 200 jaw-dropping centerpieces in time for the Congressional Club’s annual First Lady’s Luncheon.

Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane will team up this year to lead the volunteer design team for the First Lady’s Luncheon.

At the epicenter of the floral storm, lead designers Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane will be busy coordinating the massive effort to present first lady Melania Trump with a 100 percent American Grown display.

It’s a tremendous undertaking, with flower shipments pouring in from multiple farms across the U.S. There are buckets that need filling, flowers that need processing and vases that need prepping.

It takes a team of volunteers to process the thousands of donated American Grown stems needed to create the stunning arrangements of the First Lady’s Luncheon.

It’s also a labor of love for the designers who can’t wait to share their passion for American Grown blooms with the first lady and more than 1,500 Congressional spouses and associates.

The luncheon is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have 18,000 stems of American grown flowers all in front of me to design with and to experience,” says Kinnane, who volunteered on the team last year. As the owner of The Local Bouquet in Rhode Island, Kinnane seeks out seasonal and sustainable blooms for her weddings and other events, using only local and American Grown flowers.

Flowers farms across the country generously donate their beautiful blooms to grace the tables of the First Lady’s Luncheon.

“I was able to see new American Grown product that I hadn’t yet worked with, I was able to shake the hands of some of the farmers who grew the product, I was able to introduce myself to influential people in my industry and I was able to grow my company’s name as a proud supporter of the American Grown flower movement.”

Kelly Shore’s participation in the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase Dinner in 2017 inspired her to become part of the American Grown Flowers movement. Photos by Joshua Veldstra Photography

Shore, a renowned florist and owner of Petals by the Shore in Washington, D.C., is returning to the event for her second year as lead designer. She’s still glowing from last year’s smashing success, during which a sold-out crowd heard First Lady’s Luncheon Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Yoho compliment the beautiful flowers and request that “everyone, including the White House, support American Grown Flowers.”

Shore joined the American Grown movement after spending a week with flower farmers in Alaska, where she designed tablescapes for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.

“I feel like my designs and my aesthetic have become stronger and gained in character with each step I take to educate myself and seek out American Grown flowers and foliage,” says Shore.

For the past two years, the First Lady’s Luncheon has given floral designers the opportunity to shine a spotlight on American Grown blooms in front of a national audience—and this year will be no exception. The volunteer team is already being assembled and Shore and Kinnane are preparing new designs for the thousands of flowers American farmers have cultivated for the event.

Designers, volunteer to help here! It’s the American Grown flowers experience of a lifetime – for designers and guests.

[Press Release] Sunday’s Washington Post Article Explains Why 95% of Roses Are Now Imported For Valentine’s Day

Just days before Valentine’s Day, the Washington Post’s front-page feature highlights why 95 percent of roses are now imported into the United States and how subsidies and trade agreements for foreign flowers have had an overall negative impact on America’s flower-farming families.

Click the image above to read the full article.

The article, “In Rose Beds, Money Blooms,” discusses the detrimental effects U.S. efforts to reduce Colombian drug production have had on American flower production over a 27-year period.
  • Statistics highlighted in the story include:
  • 30 flights leave Colombia for Miami every day in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.
  • Each plane carries 1 million flowers.
  • Colombian minimum wage is under $300 a month or approximately $13 a day. In comparison, California’s minimum wage will be $15 per hour by 2023.
  • Walmart alone is purchasing 24 million Colombian roses to sell for Valentine’s Day.
  • The American flower industry has seen its production of roses drop roughly 95 percent, from 545 million to less than 30 million.

America’s flower farmers aren’t giving up.

To help counter these negative impacts, consumers will find more flowers labeled Certified American Grown in the market this Valentine’s Day.
Kasey Cronquist, administrator for Certified American Grown, a coalition of American flower farmers, was quoted in the Washington Post article, saying;
“What we’re challenged by is Colombia as the low-cost provider, and it’s the reason we don’t have many rose farmers in the United States today.” Cronquist has led a push for tougher restrictions on Colombian exports. “It’s a machine, and it’s built on influence and the ability to drive the market.”
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Cronquist goes on to explain. “President Trump has said he understands just how unfair these trade agreements have been for our U.S. producers. There are certainly steps that can be taken to better level this playing field for our flower farmers so they can better compete with countries like Colombia, and it starts at the White House.”
Since the Obama administration, American flower farmers have been encouraging the White House to adopt an all-American Grown policy on the flowers displayed in the first family’s home.

Each year, farmers from around the country head to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of American Flower Farms. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

“It is certainly symbolic,” shares Cronquist. “Like all the food and wine served at the White House, having this tradition extended to the flowers that are featured would mean a lot to our farmers.”
Would you like to do a Valentine’s Day interview an American flower farmer or Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist? Contact him on his cell phone at 805.696.5000 or email at
About Certified American Grown
Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American Grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Brand and logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about Certified American Grown flowers, visit or Facebook/AmericanGrownFlowers.