American Flower Farmers, Designer Head to China on Trade Mission

Christy Hulsey of the Colonial House of Flowers will join Certified American Grown for a trade mission in China.


A delegation of American flower farmers, accompanied by Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist and renowned floral designer Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers, is headed to China on a trade mission focused on market development activities.



During the trip, the group will meet with targeted importers, wholesalers and retailers in Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming to establish contacts and present business information. They will also tour the largest Chinese cut flower growing region in Yunnan Province to gain an understanding of production, its market structure and distribution network.

Last year, a delegation from Certified American Grown met with industry representatives in China.


The delegation headed to China this year includes:

  • Kasey Cronquist, Certified American Grown
  • Lane DeVries, Sun Valley Floral Group
  • Christy Hulsey, Colonial House of Flowers
  • Robert Kitayama, Kitayama Brothers
  • Cathy McClintock, Kendall Farms
  • Jim Omoto, Kendall Farms
  • Mel Resendiz, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers
  • Diana Roy, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers
  • FJ Trzuskowski, Continental Floral Greens

The trip is a result of months of work by Certified American Grown to secure federal grant funds through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to develop export markets for American Grown Flowers.

In 2017, Certified American Grown conducted a comprehensive assessment in China to determine the Chinese market potential for increased sales of American Grown Flowers and greens. A five-member team of U.S.-based experts traveled to China to assess the market. As a result, several U.S. flower farmers began shipping to China.

Standing in front of the floral American flag she designed, Christy Hulsey declares her pride in American Grown Flowers.

As part of this trip, designer Hulsey, a longtime friend of Certified American Grown and last year’s Mayesh Design Star. Hulsey was responsible for creating the beautiful all-American Grown American flag installation at WFFSA in 2016 and served as a lead designer for Certified American Grown at the First Lady’s Luncheon in 2017. She will be bringing her design prowess to events being held with flower buyers in Beijing and Shanghai.

As a lead designer for the event, Christy Hulsey brought her talents and love of American Grown Flowers to the First Lady’s Luncheon in 2017.


Senate Declares July ‘American Grown Flowers Month’

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution on June 12 designating July as “American Grown Flower Month.”

The resolution notes that the U.S. Senate recognizes: that purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy; that growing flowers and greens in the United States is a vital part of the U.S. ag industry;  and urges “all people of the United States to proactively showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States in order to show support for our flower farmers, processors, and distributors as well as agriculture in the United States overall.”

American consumers spend almost $27 billion per year on floral products each year. While the majority of consumers would prefer to buy homegrown flowers, only 20 percent of the flowers sold here were grown in the United States.

Flower farmers met with Senator Diane Feinstein in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“California grows nearly 75 percent of American-grown cut flowers – including tulips, gerbera daisies, lilies, irises and gladiolas,” said Senator Feinstein. “Americans want to support local businesses and growers, but often are unaware the flowers they’re purchasing were grown outside of the United States. Our resolution will help raise awareness and encourage consumers to look for the ‘Certified American Grown’ label before buying flowers.”

Flower farmers met with Senator Dan Sullivan in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“Alaska’s moderate weather and cool soil conditions allows for a growing season that brings beautiful American grown flowers to market throughout the summer,” said Senator Sullivan. “In Alaska, our local peony growers – family owned farms across our state – provide some of the most beautiful and saturated blooms to weddings and events around the country; well after the traditional growing season has passed in other states. American Grown Flower Month is only one small acknowledgment of the value and support we share for these local small business owners, but an important one.”

Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist noted the importance of the national designation recognizing America’s hardworking flower-farming families. “We’re honored to have earned this important recognition and we join flower farmers nationwide in celebrating this wonderful recognition,” said Cronquist. “Naming July American Grown Flowers Month also opens the door for florists and wholesalers to continue to discuss the virtues of homegrown flowers – a point that’s resonating with consumers who want the flowers in their homes to be as fresh and sustainable as the food on their plates.”

To learn more about American Grown Flowers Month, visit


First-Ever Book Signing at our Soldiers Grove Dinner!

Get Your Signed Edition of Florists to the Field

Guests at the Sept. 8 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, will be part of a first-ever book signing on our dinner tour. They’ll be able to purchase a signed edition of the spectacular new book Florists to the Field from floral designers Greg Campbell and Erick New, also our designers for the dinner.

The book takes readers on a floral excursion from the Deep South to the West Coast, through the Midwest and across the ocean to Holland, sharing the flower fields where Campbell and New find inspiration.

Plus you’ll get a glimpse into what drives these designers’ avant-garde aesthetic and their knack for large-scale installations.

You can see that aesthetic in person when Campbell and New, also owners of Garden District in Memphis, Tennessee, bring their over-the-top design skills to this stop on the dinner tour.

At Garden District, Campbell and New have created a business based on floral abundance and artistry. The shop provides seasonal flowers, unique gifts and home accents, and their floral installations weave flowers and greenery into breathtaking textural structures.

Their showroom in the heart of Memphis is a soaring showcase of the latest in flowers, containers and antiques.

To meet Campbell and New, and purchase a signed copy of the book, save your seat at the Sept. 8 dinner and add the book purchase at checkout.

Chef for Dinner Tour Stop in Sacramento Named

Meet Executive Chef Dan Watterson

With the third stop on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour fast approaching, we’re excited to announce the chef for our June 13 stop in Sacramento!

Examinations play 200-310 demo an 200-310 demo important 200-310 demo study guides exam role in study guides achieving exam your academic and career exam exam 100-105 study guides study guides aims. Find 100-105 the latest updates 100-105 on 200-310 demo study guides exam 200-310 demo exam results, schedules, study guides application exam study guides procedures 200-310 demo and more. Our study guides exam exam articles 100-105 study guides cover 100-105 many 100-105 types 200-310 demo exam 100-105 exam of exams for a broad exam study guides 200-310 demo range of 200-310 demo 100-105 exam courses 200-310 demo 100-105 and specialties. We explore exams for 200-310 demo exam exam exam study guides fields ranging study guides study guides 100-105 from study guides law to architecture 100-105 exam to fashion technology and study guides 100-105 design.

We provide information on civil service exams 200-310 demo such 200-310 demo 200-310 demo as those for the 200-310 demo national study guides defence 200-310 demo services or the police force.If you are focused on the 100-105 healing arts, find 100-105 out about admission exams for studies 100-105 100-105 in dentistry or medicine and surgery.

Meet Dan Watterson, executive chef for Statehouse at the Capitol.

Chef Dan Watterson is creating a delicious menu that will delight the guests of our Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner.

Watterson leads a top-notch culinary team at Statehouse, a brand that includes Statehouse Eatery, Statehouse Café, Statehouse Coffee and Statehouse Catering.





He has over 15 years of culinary experience and recently relocated from Washington, D.C., where he was the chef de cuisine for Stephen Starr’s famed French bistro Le Diplomate. Prior to joining Le Diplomate, he was an executive chef for Matchbox Food Group. His resume also includes positions at Hamptons Restaurant in South Carolina and The Ashby Inn in Virginia.

Watterson is planning a multi-course farm-to-table meal that will be paired with Geyser Peak’s amazing wines.

Join the table! You will delight in a delectable meal prepared by Chef Dan Watterson while surrounded by the beauty of American Grown Flowers. Photo by Taken by Sarah Photography

With the announcement of the chef and floral designer Liezet Arnold of Bloem Décor in place, tickets for the Sacramento dinner are going fast!


Senators Feinstein, Murkowski Champion the Reinstatement of USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report

In February, a delegation of American flower and foliage farmers traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the reinstatement of the USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report.

Examinations study guides play an important 100-105 role study guides 100-105 study guides study guides in 200-310 demo achieving exam 100-105 study guides your exam academic exam and study guides study guides career 200-310 demo aims. exam Find study guides study guides the latest updates on exam results, schedules, application procedures study guides and 200-310 demo more. Our articles cover many 200-310 demo exam types of 100-105 exam exams exam for 100-105 exam a broad exam range 200-310 demo of courses 200-310 demo and specialties. We explore exam study guides 100-105 exams 100-105 200-310 demo exam for study guides fields ranging from 100-105 law to architecture to fashion technology study guides 200-310 demo 200-310 demo exam and design.

We 200-310 demo look into engineering exams like exam those for undergraduate 200-310 demo study guides exam 100-105 or study guides post-graduate exam studies exam at the 100-105 200-310 demo Indian 200-310 demo 100-105 Institutes of Technology. Business-related topics 100-105 include management aptitude study guides tests and admission exams for 100-105 MBA and 200-310 demo 200-310 demo 100-105 post-graduate diploma programmes. If 100-105 you’re interested in studying abroad, 200-310 demo we also discuss a variety of 100-105 international exams, such as tests for American or British English proficiency that may be required by foreign universities.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein took time to meet with American flower farmers to hear their concerns about the Floriculture Report during the 2018 DC Fly-In. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

This morning, the Senate Ag Appropriations Sub-Committee’s mark-up was published and includes language requested by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski directing $500,000 to USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) budget to reinstate the Annual Floriculture Report.

A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Feinstein, representing the largest flower growing state in the United States, has been a longtime champion of American flower and foliage farming families. Sen. Murkowski has been a stalwart supporter of the growing number of peony farmers in Alaska. Working together in 2017, Senators Feinstein and Murkowski co-sponsored and passed a senate resolution declaring July American Grown Flowers Month. The reinstatement of this important report by NASS, specifically accounting for the domestic production of cut flowers and greens, was a top priority for both Senators this year.

“This is a great example of how the collective efforts of our farmers can really make a difference,” explained Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “This kind of continued investment in accounting for our domestic industry must remain a priority in Washington, D.C.”

Sen. Feinstein with flower farmers from California. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

The Annual Floriculture Report serves America’s flower farmers and the floral industry in numerous ways, highlighting the value and varieties of flowers our farmers grow. It also helps to count the number of farmers growing them.

Wearing an all-American Grown corsage, Sen. Murkowski meets with Alaskan flower farmers during the annual fly-in for Certified American Grown.


One of the largest contingencies to date attended the 2018 DC Fly-In to lobby for the issues concerning America’s flower and greens farmers, including the reinstatement of USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

Certified American Grown has been working closely with AmericanHort and a coalition of floral industry organizations, including the Society of American Florists, to raise the profile on this issue, both in the House and Senate.

The inclusion of the request for continued funding is good news for our farms and our industry as the Senate Ag Appropriations process continues to move forward. Certified American Grown will continue to monitor the Senate process and advocate for the reinstatement of the report in the House.

See more images from the our annual flower farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C. on our Flickr page:

Alaska’s peony farmers meet with Senator Dan Sullivan.

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

Add a Capitol Tour to Your F2V Experience

At each American Grown Field to Vase Dinner, we love to offer guests the chance to tour a flower farm and chat with a real farmer about the blooms and greenery grown on the farm, sustainability efforts and overall operation.

300-320 demo 300-070 demo Examinations 300-070 demo 210-060 questions play an 300-320 demo 300-320 demo 300-070 demo important 300-070 demo 210-060 questions 210-060 questions role 300-070 demo in 300-320 demo achieving your 210-060 questions academic and career 300-070 demo aims. 300-070 demo 210-060 questions Find the 210-060 questions latest 300-320 demo updates on exam results, 300-320 demo schedules, application 210-060 questions procedures and 300-320 demo 300-070 demo 210-060 questions more. 210-060 questions 300-320 demo 300-320 demo Our 300-070 demo 210-060 questions articles cover 210-060 questions many types of exams 300-320 demo for a broad range of 300-070 demo courses and 300-320 demo 300-070 demo 300-320 demo specialties. We explore exams for 300-070 demo fields ranging 300-320 demo from law to architecture to fashion technology 210-060 questions 300-070 demo and 300-320 demo 300-070 demo design.

We provide information 300-320 demo on 300-320 demo civil service exams such as 300-070 demo those for the national defence services 300-070 demo 210-060 questions or the police force.If you 210-060 questions are 210-060 questions 210-060 questions focused on the healing arts, find out about admission exams for studies in dentistry or medicine and surgery.

When the dinner tour comes to the gardens of California’s Capitol on June 13, we’ll offer a similar – but oh so unique – experience!

A view of the Capitol from the surrounding gardens.
Photo courtesy of The Sacramento Bee.

Guests can sign up for a special tour of the Capitol grounds and building with George Soares, an ag expert and partner in Kahn, Soares and Conway. Soares is a tour guide extraordinaire and plans to show guests all sorts of special locations and artwork as he shares about the Capitol’s history and the ag issues won and lost there.

California’s State Capitol Park, featuring the World Peace Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of

Join Soares to learn about some of the statues on the grounds, see the site where Queen Elizabeth arrived, where President Gerald Ford was nearly assassinated and where a semi-truck drove into the Capitol building a few years back.

Inside the Capitol, you’ll get a glimpse of a statue of President Ronald Reagan that now resides in the basement, the entrance to the governor’s office – complete with a giant bear Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found while on a ski trip – and portraits of the last seven California governors.

Guests will also see the beautiful Capitol Rotunda from inside.
Photo courtesy of

Along the way, Soares will get you caught up on quite a bit of history, share insider stories and fill you in on ag decisions made in these hallowed halls.

And if the stars align, guests will also get a glimpse of the Assembly and Senate floors or galleries.

State legislators were greeted by bouquets of fresh California Grown Flowers in the Senate Chamber on the day they voted to declare June is CA Grown Flowers Month.

This tour is unprecedented in scope and uniqueness.  Sign up for the tour when you purchase your ticket to dine on the Capitol lawn.

ABC features American Grown Flowers for America’s Moms

Anchor David Muir Meets with Florists, Farmers Who Deliver Homegrown Blooms

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir featured the growing trend for American Grown Flowers for Mother’s Day.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching and millions buying flowers this week, ABC World News Tonight Anchor David Muir spoke with some florists who are making sure their flowers and greens are grown right here in America.

300-070 demo Examinations play 300-070 demo 300-070 demo 210-060 questions an 300-070 demo 300-320 demo important 210-060 questions 300-070 demo 300-320 demo role in 210-060 questions achieving your academic and 300-320 demo career 210-060 questions aims. Find the 300-320 demo latest updates 210-060 questions on 300-320 demo exam results, 210-060 questions schedules, 300-320 demo 300-320 demo application 300-320 demo procedures and more. Our articles cover 210-060 questions many types of 300-320 demo 300-070 demo 210-060 questions 300-070 demo exams for a broad 300-320 demo 300-320 demo range of courses 210-060 questions and 300-070 demo 300-320 demo 300-070 demo 300-320 demo specialties. We explore 210-060 questions 210-060 questions 210-060 questions exams for 300-070 demo fields ranging from law to architecture to 300-070 demo 300-320 demo 300-320 demo 300-070 demo fashion 210-060 questions technology and 300-320 demo 300-070 demo 210-060 questions design.

We provide information on civil service exams such as those for the national defence services or 300-070 demo the police 300-070 demo force.If 300-070 demo you are focused on the healing arts, find out about admission exams for 210-060 questions 210-060 questions studies in dentistry or medicine and surgery.

Muir talked to designers who are dedicated to creating bouquets and arrangements with American Grown Flowers as well as featuring the farmers who grow the blooms.

David Muir of ABC’s World News Tonight speaks with floral designer Emily Thompson of The Guild regarding the growing trend for American Grown Flowers.

All pointed to what Muir called “a growing trend” – consumers seeking out homegrown blooms for the flowers they give as gifts or bring home.

The feature includes Certified American Grown’s own Green Valley Floral in Salinas, California, along with designers committed to promoting American Grown Flowers.

The ABC report highlights how Emily Thompson sources from all across the country to supply homegrown blooms to her customers.

We couldn’t be more excited that the American Grown Flowers movement is not only spreading, it’s capturing the attention of World News!

Crown Mom the Queen This Mother’s Day!

Still looking for that perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Relax, we’ve got you covered!

Celebrate the mothers in your life with an evening filled with flowers. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Pick up a few tickets to one of our American Grown Field to Vase Dinners.

Examinations play an 300-135 ITExamLab important role study guides study guides in achieving your study guides itexamlab academic itexamlab itexamlab and itexamlab career 300-135 ITExamLab study guides aims. 300-135 ITExamLab itexamlab Find the latest updates 300-135 ITExamLab on exam results, study guides schedules, application procedures and itexamlab more. Our articles cover study guides many types itexamlab of exams 300-135 ITExamLab for a broad study guides range itexamlab of itexamlab courses study guides study guides itexamlab 300-135 ITExamLab and study guides specialties. We explore itexamlab exams 300-135 ITExamLab for itexamlab fields ranging itexamlab from law 300-135 ITExamLab 300-135 ITExamLab study guides study guides study guides 300-135 ITExamLab to itexamlab architecture to itexamlab 300-135 ITExamLab fashion itexamlab 300-135 ITExamLab technology and design.

We provide information on 300-135 ITExamLab civil service exams study guides such as those for the national 300-135 ITExamLab study guides defence services or the study guides police force.If you 300-135 ITExamLab are focused 300-135 ITExamLab on the healing arts, find out about admission exams for studies in dentistry or medicine and surgery.



And because we know all moms deserve a little extra,

we’ll craft a hand-tied floral crown for her…







and include a special pair of Corona Flex Dial clippers for the both of you!








Your Mom will delight in a multi-course artisanal meal served among the beauty of American Grown Flowers.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

She’ll dine at a table overflowing with American Grown Flowers designed by our featured designers.


Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

And she’ll sip local wine and floral-themed cocktails.


Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

All while chatting with a host of California flower farmers and like-minded floral fans.


Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

She will even go home with an arm full of gifts!


Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

See. It’s the perfect solution to Mother’s Day gifting!


Reserve your tickets by Saturday to be included in this special offer by using promo code MOMSDAY.




Second Dinner Tour Stop Gets Rave Reviews

Guests Watched the Sun Set Over the Pacific as They Dined in a Sea of Ranunculus

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography

The glory of The Flower Fields never tires.

300-135 ITExamLab Examinations study guides play study guides itexamlab an 300-135 ITExamLab important itexamlab itexamlab role in achieving your 300-135 ITExamLab academic and career aims. Find the latest updates study guides study guides on 300-135 ITExamLab itexamlab exam results, 300-135 ITExamLab schedules, study guides application itexamlab procedures and more. itexamlab itexamlab itexamlab Our articles cover many itexamlab types study guides of 300-135 ITExamLab itexamlab exams for a broad range itexamlab of courses and specialties. We explore exams study guides for itexamlab fields ranging from law study guides to architecture to fashion 300-135 ITExamLab itexamlab technology and design.

We look study guides into engineering study guides exams like itexamlab those for 300-135 ITExamLab undergraduate or post-graduate studies at the 300-135 ITExamLab study guides Indian itexamlab Institutes of Technology. study guides 300-135 ITExamLab Business-related topics include management aptitude 300-135 ITExamLab study guides tests 300-135 ITExamLab and admission exams for MBA and itexamlab study guides post-graduate study guides diploma programmes. If you’re interested 300-135 ITExamLab in 300-135 ITExamLab studying study guides abroad, we also discuss a variety of international exams, such as tests 300-135 ITExamLab for 300-135 ITExamLab American or British English proficiency that may be required by foreign universities.

For the fourth year in a row, The Flower Fields of Carlsbad provided the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner tour with that quintessential experience that one might imagine when dreaming of dinner on a flower farm.

Surrounded by beautiful ranunculus.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Hundreds of millions of ranunculus carpet the hillside, tended to by Mellano & Company, where the tradition and history of flower farming in Southern California is made manifest and approximately 300,000 people are invited onto the farm each year to experience the incredible majesty.

Special event planner and floral designer Debi Lilly of Perfect Events was the featured floral designer for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. Photography by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

However, just 160 people had the opportunity to spend an evening dining between the rows of these beautiful ranunculus to celebrate American Grown Flowers.

Guest Kimberly K. shared, “It is a visually stunning experience that leaves you in awe, breathtaking beauty that surrounds you for as far as the eye can see. It is very humbling to be among so much beauty. It sure does put a big smile on your face…for days!”

Designer Debi Lilly set the table with gorgeous blooms in gorgeous vases from sponsor Syndicate Sales. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography



Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event was this year’s featured designer, starting out the day hosting two floral design workshops on the flower farm in the Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn.


Lilly walked attendees through current floral design trends and techniques, and highlighted the value and virtues of the growing movement for homegrown blooms, all while designing with Certified American Grown Flowers.



Debi Lilly (center) lead two floral design workshops prior to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.


“The beauty in these fields – it’s completely overwhelming,” shared Lilly. “You expect the yellow brick road and emerald city skyline to magically pop out – it’s pure movie set magic.”



Flower farmer Mike Mellano of Mellano & Co. provided guests with a warm welcome, thanking everyone for coming to the farm for dinner. Mellano acknowledged his team of growers, highlighting all that it takes to keep a flower farm blooming in California.

Flower farmer Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company, provided guests with a farm tour prior to the dinner. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

“Anymore, I don’t get to get my boots in the mud as much as I’d like,” shared Mike. “But at Mellano & Company, we have a great team of experienced people that help make this all happen.”

Guests enjoyed a very special menu, provided by Chef Teegan Smith of Crown Point Catering.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

“The Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields has become a tradition unto itself,” shared Certified American Grown Flowers Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “Each flower farm we visit is uniquely beautiful, but watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean while dining in a sea of ranunculus is really something special.”

Guests went home with their arms full after a wonderful evening at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

…and beautiful ranunculus from Mellano & Company. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Three dinners remain on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.  Dinner on the lawn of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California on June 13, Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, on Sept. 8  and Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 5. Visit to learn more about the dinner tour.

A night to remember. Guests cheers to making memories in The Flower Fields of Carlsbad during the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on April 26.  The wine was provided by Geyser Peak Winery. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.


Certified American Grown Flower Farm Named ‘American Small Business Champion’

Alaska Perfect Peony Recognized For Its Dedication to Community, Entrepreneurship

Flower farmer Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony has been recognized before for her efforts to improve her industry and community.

In 2014, she was a nominee for Champions of Change for the Future of Agriculture, earning her a trip to the White House. But she was still surprised by the most recent honor her Certified American Grown farm earned – being named a winner of the 2018 Small Business Championship.

Rita Jo has also been a powerful force at our annual Washington DC Fly-In, advocating on behalf of America’s Flower Farmers. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

Shoultz, a member of the Certified American Grown Council, competed with a pool of more than 1,100 applicants and was selected as a champion through a combination of online voting and judging by a panel of small-business experts. The application asked each entrepreneur to describe the unique aspects of their small business that have contributed to their success, their positive impact on the community and their plans to use the prizes to grow their business operations or revenue.

Rita Jo Shoultz in one of her favorite places

“We were really surprised and very honored,” Shoultz says of the win. “Cut flowers don’t always get a lot of recognition.”

That recognition is well-deserved. After all, in addition to running the farm, Shoultz has worked to have the Homer declared the “City of Peonies” and started Main Street Homer, a task force working to revitalize downtown Homer through economic and cultural development, historic preservation and advancement of the arts.

The “champion” designation nets Shoultz an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event and the chance to win one of three $15,000 grand prizes. Should she win, Shoultz says she’d use the funding for marketing efforts and to look into selling her peonies in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Championship is hosted by SCORE, a network of volunteer expert business mentors, and is supported by Sam’s Club.