Cal Poly, Farms, Wholesalers Share the Floral Love

Petal It Forward Garners Nationwide Attention


Petal It Forward, an annual event from the Society of American Florists, encourages florists, flower farmers and flower lovers to surprise people with a double floral treat – two fresh flower bouquets, one to keep and one to share. 

For the second year in a row, the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) partnered with the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Rose Parade float team to bring Petal It Forward to the campus on Oct. 23. 

The Cal Poly Rose Parade Float Team handed out hundreds of bouquets on campus in San Luis Obispo, California.

The Rose Parade Float team, which is also working with Cal Poly Pomona on its certified California Grown Rose Parade float, handed out about 160 bouquets across the campus and in campus offices. The flowers were donated by Mellano & Company, Kitayama Brothers, Ocean Breeze Farms and Glad-A-Way Gardens. 

Representatives from Ocean View Flowers, a Certified American Grown Farm, also participated in the event, taking to the streets of Lompoc to hand out over 400 bouquets and 1,000 bunches of stock. “Spreading smiles in petal form around the Valley of the Flowers turned out even better than we hoped,” Ocean View noted on social media. 

Bouquets waiting to surprise and delight recipients who were given on bouquet to keep, one bouquet to give away.

And Certified American Grown wholesaler DV Flora got in on the fun, spreading smiles in Media, Pennsylvania. “We had the chance to meet, interact and put a smile on so many faces around town by offering two free bouquets … one for them to keep and another to pass along to a neighbor or stranger. It truly was an incredible day and you could feel a positive vibe in the air,” DV Flora shared on Facebook. 

The Ocean View Flowers team also handed out bouquets for Petal it Forward in downtown Lompoc, California.

Other flower farms that took part in Petal It Forward include Kitayama Brothers, MOBIS and Maximum Flowers.  

All in all, an amazing day full of surprise and delight for folks nationwide! 

 

Certified American Grown, 6 Certified Farms Shine at Fresh Summit Booth

Certified American Grown staff members were joined by six certified farms in a large booth at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, last week. 

Within the 20×50 booth space, each farm had dedicated space to put their American Grown Flowers and Greens front and center. A sign over the booth ensured that no one on the show floor could miss us! And a huge Certified American Grown logo heart created with Certified American Grown Flowers attracted lots of attention. 

B Fresh Floral, Bloomia USA, FernTrust, Inc., Kitayama Brothers, Mellano & Company and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers joined the Certified American Grown booth space at the 2019 PMA Fresh Summit.

We’re so grateful to B Fresh Floral, Bloomia USA, FernTrust, Inc., Kitayama Brothers, Mellano & Company and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers for participating! We appreciate the grant funding that covered the booth space (this year and next) that came through an Agricultural Trade Promotion grant. And we’re beyond excited that Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and Josh Eddy, executive director of CDFA, stopped by the booth. 

Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) visited with Dave Pruitt, Interim Administrator of Certified American Grown showing her support once again for flower farmers.

Finally, we’re grateful for the opportunity to talk to those who stopped by the booth (which may have been the most beautiful at the entire event) about American Grown Flowers Month in July and California Grown Flowers Month in June; becoming BloomCheck certified; becoming a Certified American Grown Farm; and the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. 

The large, circular Certified American Grown signage, was a clear beacon to those on the trade show floor, drawing attention to the beautiful flowers and greens that American Grown farmers provide.

Sure, it was a whirlwind. But being at Fresh Summit was also an amazing opportunity to showcase the flowers and greens American farmers are producing 365 days a year and share all of Certified American Grown’s efforts to support them. 

A win-win in every way! 

 

American Flower Farmers Participate in Trade Mission to South Korea, Vietnam

A delegation of Certified American Grown flower farmers, accompanied by interim Certified American Grown Administrator Dave Pruitt, recently participated in a trade mission to South Korea and Vietnam. 

During the trip, the delegation hosted an industry seminar in Seoul to introduce U.S. cut flower and foliage varieties, and to provide handling, shipping and display techniques to preserve shelf life and maximize profitability. 

U.S. Delegation – Asia Trade Mission. From Left: Kristie Park, Jim Omoto, Rita Jo Shoultz, Misty Welborn, David Pruitt, Betty Joslyn, Ken Yang, and Min Lee. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services Inc.

Five U.S. cut flower and foliage farmers spoke and presented to the group of approximately 16 South Korean import companies and Pruitt gave a keynote address. 

The delegation then traveled to Vietnam, an emerging market for American Grown Flowers and Greens, where they met with cut flower and foliage import companies and toured the domestic growing region. They also met with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to discuss market opportunities and challenges.

U.S. Cut Flower and Foliage Seminar in Seoul, South Korea. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services.

The trade mission delegation included: 

  • Betty Joslyn of Joslyn Peonies
  • Jim Omoto of Kendall Farms
  • Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers
  • Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony
  • Misty Welborn of Mellano & Company 

Stops during the trip included the Yangjae Flower Market and a number of floral industry businesses, including Flower Box,  Hoa Yeu Thuong, Dung Khoa Flower, Hoa 38 do Company, CASALANA and The Flower Market VN Company. 

The delegation visited the Yangjae Flower Market in South Korea. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services.

Certified American Grown has prioritized markets in North and Southeast Asia that represent the most promising emerging markets based on export volume and value over the past five years. Certified American Grown has used federal grant funds to establish in-country representation in each market to begin building relationships with local importers and retailers, lead outbound trade missions for industry delegations, and conduct promotions at retail to move more volume during peak supply periods.

Certified American Grown led trade missions to China in 2017 and 2018 for similar market development purposes. 

 

It Was a Glorious Fall Evening at Red Twig Farms

Last Stop on 2019 Field To Vase Tour Doesn’t Disappoint!

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour made its final stop of the 2019 season at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, and all we can say is, “Wow, what a ride!”  

It was a perfect evening to be on a flower farm, enjoying the hospitality and beauty of Red Twig Farms.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

This spectacular evening was an amazing way to wrap up the tour, thanks to flower farmers Josh and Lindsey McCullough who shared the art and science of flower growing with guests and floral designer Mindy Staton of Two Little Buds.

Josh and Lindsey McCullough took great pleasure in hosting the first Ohio Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

On a perfect early-fall evening, 150 guests gathered on the flower farm to dine on a multi-course dinner created by chef Amanda Stuart of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events that featured an Arcadian greens salad, salmon with tomato and olive relish, flat iron steak with chimichurri, roasted seasonal vegetables and herb-roasted red potatoes. 

Cameron Mitchell Premier Events created a mouth-watering menu for guests of the New Albany dinner.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

The meal was accompanied by wines from Glass Mountain, thanks to Heidelberg Distributing Company; craft beer from North High Brewing Company; and a specialty cocktail from Watershed Distillery. Guests were serenaded throughout the evening by musicians Wild Ohio Duo. 

The wine flowed freely throughout the event thanks to sponsor Heidelberg Distributing Company.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

Flowers from American farms, many of them Certified American Grown, dazzled in mixed fall bouquets at the center of the community table. And winning the evening’s biggest oooh’s and ahhh’s was a vintage truck packed with F2V swag bags and overflowing with autumn blooms and foliage. 

American Grown Flowers spilled out of this vintage truck in a display that caught everyone’s attention.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

The evening simply could not have been a more perfect representation of all the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour has to offer – American flower farmers, local food and drink, renowned floral designers and flower lovers from near and far gathered to connect and share their love of homegrown blooms and greens. 

The Field to Vase Dinner Tour ended its 2019 season as it ends every dinner, with a bounty of American Grown Flowers and swag for every guest and lots of smiles.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

As we wrap up, we offer our sincere thanks to the many flower farmers who donated flowers: 

Bluegreen Gardens Farm and Florals

California Pajarosa

Camflor

Continental Floral Greens

Cut Flowers by Clear Ridge

Eufloria

Fern Trust Inc.

Green Valley Floral

Kitayama Brothers

Maximum Flowers

Mellano & Co.

Myriad Flowers

North Pole Peonies

Ocean View Flowers

S & R Farms

Sun Valley Floral Farms 

Photo by Red Gallery Photography

If spending an evening on an American flower farm appeals to you, stay tuned for our 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates, coming in January! 

 

American Grown Flowers, Greens Take Center Stage at State Dinner

Roses, Jasmine Vines, Dahlias From U.S. Flower Farms Adorn Tables

American Grown Flowers and Greens adorned the tables at President Donald Trump’s second-ever state dinner with Australia on Sept. 20. 

The president and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife, Jenny, on the South Lawn of the White House. The dinner was held in the Rose Garden and featured floral arrangements in green and gold, the Australian national colors.  

American Grown Flowers were showcased in the centerpieces at the state dinner with Australia. Photo by Andrea Hanks.

Dinner centerpieces were created in gold woven baskets filled with yellow garden roses and golden wattle to signify the combined friendship and long-lasting relationship between the United States and Australia. More than 2,500 roses were used, along with jasmine vines and dahlias, all from domestic flower farms. 

Homegrown garden roses, jasmine vines and dahlias were showcased in the White House designs. Photo by Andrea Hanks.

“The unique designs paid homage to the national flower of Australia, the golden wattle, while celebrating the diverse floral bounty of this country with garden roses, jasmine vines and dahlias, all homegrown on U.S. farms and greenhouses,” shared Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown. “America’s flower farmers work hard every day in every state to provide beautiful flowers to consumers. These family farms are honored that their flowers were showcased at the White House in designs imagined by First Lady Melania Trump, showing the world the variety of flowers grown throughout all 50 states,” he added. 

This is the second time American Grown blooms were used at a state dinner. In 2014, President Barack Obama welcomed France’s president at a state dinner that featured American Grown flowering quince branches, weeping willow, Scotch broom, iris, nandina, alocasia, equisetum and green liriope. 

State dinners are a way to celebrate U.S. relations with international friends and allies while demonstrating and celebrating America’s cultural, culinary – and now floral –  heritage. 

 

 

Donald Yim Wins 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Competition

Certified American Grown is a Proud Sponsor

Donald Yim, AIFD,PFCI, was named the winner of the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition held during the Society of American Florists 135th Annual Convention on Amelia Island, Florida, last week. 

Donald Yim, AIFD, PFCI, winner of the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition, accepts his award from Dave Pruitt, interim administrator of Certified American Grown, as Jacque Sir Louis of Smithers-Oasis looks on.

The win earned Yim the coveted Sylvia Cup trophy and a $3,000 prize.

Bob Tucker, AIFD, FSMD, received first runner-up honors and $500. The second runner-up was Alejandro Figeuira Fernandes, AIFD, who received $250. 

Donald Yim, first runner-up Bob Tucker and second runner-up Alejandro Figeuira Fernandes are applauded by the audience and Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown.

The Sylvia Cup is the country’s longest running live floral design competition. It began in 1967 and is named for Sylvia Valencia, a prominent designer and long-time SAF supporter.

Donald Yim poses with his award-winning designs.

This year’s competition had a pirate theme in a nod to Amelia Island and its maritime history. 

The event was sponsored by Certified American Grown and Oasis Floral Products, and coordinated by Professional Floral Communicators International.  

Participants and supporters from the 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition that featured a pirate theme and maritime-based design challenges.

The 13 competing floral designers were challenged to create a floral crown for Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II and the island’s namesake; an American floral art piece inspired by nature; and an easel piece for a funeral using green and white flowers inspired by the sails of a ship. 

Sylvia Cup competitors work on their designs, all created with Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens, while SAF attendees look on.

Contestants designed all of their arrangements with Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens donated by the following generous farms: 

Bloomia USA 

California Pajarosa Floral 

CamFlor Inc.  

Continental Floral Greens 

Dramm Echter Farms

Eufloria Flowers

Fern Trust, Inc.

Glad-A-Way Gardens 

Holland America Flowers 

Kitayama Brothers

Kendall Farms 

Mellano & Company 

Mobi’s 

Ocean View Flowers 

Pyramid Flowers 

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers 

Star Valley Flowers 

Sun Valley Flower Farms

Sutton Ferneries

Westland Orchids

Certified American Grown Goes To SAF!

Representatives from Certified American Grown participated in the expo held at the Society of American Florists (SAF) 135th Annual Convention on Amelia Island, Florida, last week. 

Certified American Grown hosted a table at the Society of American Florists (SAF) 135th Annual Convention held on Amelia Island, Florida, last week.

Interim CEO Dave Pruitt, along with Certified American Grown staff members Andrea Philpot and Anna Kalins manned a table at the expo and talked with wholesalers, farms and florists in attendance about all things Certified American Grown.

There’s a lot to share! 

Certified American Grown Interim CEO Dave Pruitt along with Andrea Philpot and Anna Kalins answered questions and provided a wide range of information to expo attendees.

Think general information about the program and our certified farms, details of the annual American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, the launch of Certified American Grown-branded floral food packets from Floralife and the American Grown Act. 

The SAF expo provided a great opportunity to discuss all that’s important to Certified American Grown with fellow flower lovers, industry leaders and designers.

The event also provided the opportunity for some selfies with friends and supporters of Certified American Grown! 

Bottom line: In just a few hours at the expo, we made a lot of connections, shared many exciting events and programs, and explained how Certified American Grown is advocating for America’s flower farmers.

It was a great day at an important industry event! 

The Certified American Grown information table at the SAF convention expo.

 

 

Guests Dine In Fields Of Waving Stock

Ocean View Flowers Attracts One Of Tour’s Largest Audiences

Five hundred acres of blooming flowers. Two hundred guests. One 200-foot dining table. Thousands of stems of stock, dahlias, delphinium, larkspur, Bells of Ireland and Queen Anne’s Lace. 

That’s just a hint of what guests at the Sept. 7 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc enjoyed. Perhaps celebrity florist Debi Lilly said it best as she stood in acres of blooming stock: “Our heart explodes technicolor rainbow confetti!” 

Exactly!

It was a joyous evening where guests dined in fields bursting with floral color at a table of 200 like-minded flower lovers.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

Guests arrived to an expansive floral arch overflowing with pink, purple and white stock, and a view of an enormous community dining table. 

As guests walked past a wall of Queen Anne’s Lace, they came upon this hidden and stunning site.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

They met flower farmer Frank Costa and dined on delicious creations by culinary artist Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread. And they sipped wine, beer and spirits from Calwise Spirits Co., Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards, Sweetzer Cellars, Montemar Wines, Foley Wines, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines and Solvang Brewing Company.  

Guests were utterly in awe of the menu created by Chef Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread. Photo by Danielle Honea Photography

Chef Staub’s menu featured farm-fresh ingredients thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board, Las Flores Apiaries honey, Hibbits Ranch walnuts, Tutti Frutti and Babé Farms. And what a menu it was: chilled melon soup, nasturtium and marigold salad, end-of-summer sweet corn ribs, grilled grass-fed strip steak braised in stone fruits, Moroccan vegetarian b’stilla, heirloom tomatoes with grilled summer squash and herbs, and a roasted strawberry tart.

The entire evening came together thanks to the heroic efforts of event planner Cynthia Signorelli of Cynthia Signorelli Special Events who ensured guests had the experience of a lifetime on an American flower farm! 

 

 

Lilly, the floral designer for the event, nailed it again when she shared how the event made her (and guests) feel. “So much magic and love and passion for flowers and farmers it brings tears to our eyes.” 

Debi Lilly brought her passion for American Grown Flowers and those who farm them to the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography

 

Sincere thanks to our additional sponsors and supporters: 

  • Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance 
  • The SOi Company 
  • River Bottom Boys 
  • Safeway
  • Vons
  • Albertsons
  • Local FFA students 

The evening was full of flowers, fun and smiles! Photos by Danielle Honea Photography.

To see more photos from this amazing event, you can go to our Flickr Album!

If an evening like this one appeals to you, stay tuned for our 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates, coming in January!   Sign up here to be one of the first to know where the Dinner Tour will stop next year!

 

Carbajal Staffers Visit Ocean Breeze Farms

Tour, Discussions Put Focus on Key Issues, Industry Innovations

While flower farmers make a visit to Washington, D.C., each year to connect with policymakers, a recent meeting with staff from Congressman Salud Carbajal’s office brought policymakers to the flower farm.

Last week, Jeremy Tittle, chief of staff, and Erin Sandlin, agriculture legislative assistant, visited Ocean Breeze Farms in Carpinteria on behalf of Salud, a co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.

While there, Tittle and Sandlin toured the farm and met with Rene and June Van Wingerden, owners of a Certified American Grown flower farm. They were joined by Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown, and Jumana Misleh, federal affairs representative for the program.

Jeremy Tittle and Erin Sandlin of Congressman Carbajal’s office, discuss cut flower policy concerns with Ocean Breeze farmers Rene and June Van Wingerden.

During the meeting, the Van Wingerdens summarized the top three cut flower issues they believe Congressman Carbajal should focus on: enforcement of labeling laws on imported flowers, passing the American Grown Act and immigration reform.

Tittle and Sandlin responded by agreeing to follow up on the labeling issue and promising to review alternative ways to move the American Grown Act, including looking at modifying appropriations language. They also indicated that while discussions on immigration reform continue, the chances of action on the issue this year are slim.

Farmer Rene Van Wingerden discussing the growth process and innovative care practices of Gerbera daisies with Tittle and Sandlin.

The group then toured an Ocean Breeze Farms greenhouse, learning about the growing process of Gerbera daisies and hearing about the innovations implemented on the farm, including hydroponic growing and integrated pest management, which has made the operation chemical-free.

Also discussed during the tour were the slim margins flower farmers face, how farms are cutting costs with efforts like using plants for longer periods, and the importance of a consistent, skilled labor force.

Tittle and Sandlin left Ocean Breeze with a deeper understanding of flower farming and a pledge to continue to provide support for America’s flower farmers in Washington, D.C.

“Meetings like these continue to stress the importance of having a strong relationship with our state and federal representatives to educate and convey the issues that all flower farmers face,” notes CAG’s Pruitt. “We hope that through meetings like this, we continue to ensure a bright future for American flower farmers.”

Culinary Artist is Chef for Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers

He’s been called a culinary “artist” and his passion for sourcing fresh ingredients from small farms and ranches is widely known. Also well known is his popular restaurant, Full of Life Flatbread, in Los Alamos. 

Introducing Clark Staub, chef for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour stop at Ocean View Flowers on September 7 in Lompoc, California.

Chef Clark Staub in front of his hearth at Full of Life Flatbread. Photo by Steve Collins.

Staub has distinguished himself as an expert at destination dinners, having been the chef for more than a dozen events by organizations like Outstanding in the Field. 

Under Staub’s leadership, Full of Life Flatbread has earned a reputation for its farm-to-table approach and outside kiln pizza oven. 

For over 16 years, the Staub and his team have handcrafted seasonal flatbreads, baked fast in a scorching hot oak-fired stone oven, and served to the throngs of locals and in-the-know out-of-town foodies who line up for supper at the restaurant. 

Staub also creates and sells thousands of certified organic frozen pizzas nationwide at grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods. 

Which is all to say that guests at the upcoming American Grown Field to Vase Dinner should prepare to be wowed – and arrive hungry!  

One look at the menu should seal the deal.

Staub plans to serve chilled melon soup, end-of-summer sweet corn ribs, nasturtium and marigold salad, grilled grass-fed strip steak braised in stonefruits, Moroccan vegetarian b’stilla, heirloom tomatoes with grilled summer squash and herbs, and a roasted strawberry tart – all created with ingredients from local growers including Rancho San Julian, Tutti Frutti Farms and Babe Farms.

Local wines and craft beer will complement the artisan menu, including selections from Foley Wines, Montemar Wines, Alma Rose Wines, Kessler Hawk Wines, Sweetzer Cellars and Solvang Brewery.

 

Guests at the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner, will experience a culinary delight as they take in the beauty of American Grown Flowers and enjoy the company of those who love them.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.Want to enjoy this mouthwatering menu, dine in a field of blooming stock and sip wine, craft brews and floral-inspired cocktails?

Then save your seat for this upcoming dinner!

Every guest goes home with an armful of beautiful blooms and a Field to Vase swag bag.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

You’ll leave with a swag bag chock-full of floral-themed goodies and armfuls of homegrown blooms from Ocean View Flowers!

This dinner is close to sold out, so reserve your seat soon.