Certified American Grown Becomes An Independent Trade Association

Press Release

Certified American Grown, a diverse and unified coalition of small to large cut flower and greens farms across the United States, has transitioned from a marketing and governmental relations group under the auspices of the California Cut Flower Commission to an independent trade association representing cut flower and greens farmers nationwide. 

The reimagined organization is the only floral organization that certifies the origin of the flowers and greens the members grow, process, package, and market. Membership in the refreshed organization is building as farmers seek to connect with the past efforts of Certified American Grown to open markets, increase sales of domestic cut flowers and greens, and share the “origin matters” message with consumers. 

As a trade association, Certified American Grown will continue its efforts to lobby on behalf of cut flower and greens farmers in Washington, D.C., sponsor American Grown Flowers Month in July, host the annual American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, and give consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and greens by providing the only third-party guarantee in the floral industry validating bouquets and bunches purchased were actually homegrown.

“I’m flattered and humbled to have been elected the first chair of the new independent Certified American Grown organization. I’ve enjoyed working with members of the Certified American Grown Council in the past and was thrilled when council members agreed to be part of our new board,” said Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peony. “We’ve worked well together in the past, and I’m excited to be collaborating again to continue to promote the importance, value, and unmatched beauty of American Grown Flowers and Greens.”

“This will be an innovative group to watch and I look forward to an exciting future for our new, independent association,” added Dave Pruitt, administrator of Certified American Grown. “We’re excited to continue to connect people to the amazing flowers and greens grown right here in the U.S. and to grow consumers’ bond to a product that connects and brings joy to so many.” 

Cut flower and greens farmers, industry vendors and potential contributors for Certified American Grown’s initiatives can reach out to Anna Kalins at info@americangrownflowers.org for more information on the reimagined organization. 

Members of the Certified American Grown Formation Board are: 

  • Rita Jo Shoultz, Alaska Perfect Peony, Chair
  • Mike A. Mellano, Mellano & Company, Vice Chair
  • Ko Klaver, Botanical Trading Company, Secretary
  • Rene Van Wingerden, Ocean Breeze Farms, Treasurer
  • Benno Dobbe, Holland American Flowers
  • Diana Roy, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers 
  • Lane DeVries, Sun Valley Floral Farms
  • FJ Trzuskowksi, Continental Floral Greens
  • Frank Arnosky, Texas Specialty Cut Flower
  • Michael Genovese, Summer Dream Farms
  • Andrea Gagnon, LynnVale Studios
  • David Register, Fern Trust
  • Erik Hagstrom, Albin Hagstrom & Son

By the end of the year, the new board will present its vision and goals, including a new 2021 schedule for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a signature event from Certified American Grown. 

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About Certified American Grown. Certified American Grown represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. cut flower and greens farms, including small to large entities in all seven districts of the country. Certified American Grown flower and greens farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers and greens they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches, and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their cut flowers and greens and assures them their purchases come from a domestic American flower or greens farm. For more information about Certified American Grown, visit americangrownflowers.org. 

 

Contact: 

Rita Jo Shoultz, Board of Directors Chair

(907) 299-0261

Additional Contact: David Pruitt, Anna Kalins

Ball Horticultural Supporting Certified American Grown as a Founding Member

When a company has an over 100-year history, you can bet it has seen (and withstood) just about everything. Market changes. Innovations. Recessions. Reinventions.

That’s why the fact Ball Horticultural Company has signed on as a founding member of the reimagined Certified American Grown makes all the difference.

As President and CEO Anna Ball puts it,

Cut flower growers need our help right now. I say let’s give it to them.

Ball, a third-generation leader at Ball Horticultural, notes that her grandfather was a cut flower grower for 40 to 50 years, making cut flowers part of the company’s DNA.

Launched in 1905 as a wholesale cut flower operation, Ball Horticultural has grown into a global family of companies that includes breeders, research and development teams, seed and vegetative producers, and distribution companies. Among those operations is Ball SB, known to cut flower growers as an innovative supplier of cut flower propagation material.

Ball Horticultural supplies cut flower growers in the U.S. and around the world with seeds, cuttings, plugs and tissue cultures for flowers, including snapdragons, lisianthus and delphinium – all the unique varieties that make a bouquet special – through its distribution companies like Ball Seed, which serves North America.

Today, the company is the only American-owned and family-owned global horticultural breeding company. And it’s a company that believes in giving back.

“We believe in organizations like Certified American Grown because we think it’s important to support the industry. If you can afford to give, you should. And I hope if we were ever in the position of needing help, people would give to an organization that could do so,” Ball says.

In addition to supporting the new Certified American Grown, Ball Horticultural has sponsored the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour since 2015. Ball says the event provides everything you want in life: “flowers, wonderful people and a unique environment.”

“And the dinners expose the cut flower industry to people who really don’t know where flowers come from,” she adds. That’s key to the future of the industry.

Ball Horticultural has also supported the cut flower industry through advocacy efforts. “During the first few months of the pandemic, some members of our team worked full-time, along with trade organizations, to have flowers deemed essential with various governors,” Ball says. “When things get rough, you depend on your trade organizations and that’s why we support them.”

This support takes place in tandem with innovations at Ball Horticultural Company that will also bolster the cut flower industry. The company is currently building an R&D advanced technology center in West Chicago, with an expected completion date in March 2021. As a central hub for horticulture research, it will also support the company’s partnerships with research, breeding and production locations worldwide.

“Our main investments are currently in R&D, that’s where we’re putting our resources right now,” Ball says. The focus is on creating more flower varieties and products that are even more interesting, easier to grow, and more disease resistant.

Proof, once again, of Ball Horticultural Company’s commitment to a healthy, resilient cut flower industry.

No Shortage of American Grown Roses 

Get Connected to the Domestic Farmers Who Can Fulfill Your Rose Dreams 

It’s a topic that comes up almost every year: a shortage of roses. Natural disasters, labor issues and, this year, COVID-19 and the related supply chain challenges, can disrupt the availability of roses in the U.S. 

Menagerie Farm & Flower

While there are fewer weddings happening this summer due to the pandemic, there’s still a lot of demand for roses from wholesalers, florists and consumers who appreciate the variety, fragrance and beauty of the rose. 

Not only are American flower farmers growing gorgeous, fragrant roses, there’s been a renaissance of craft rose growers in the U.S. who are providing specialty roses in a range of varieties and colors – particularly the popular garden rose. 

Getting your hands on them is a matter of relationship-building, and knowing the rose farms by name or the wholesalers that buy from those farms.  

Kelly Shore, a renowned wedding florist that serves Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, encourages florists and rose aficionados to establish relationships with American rose growers right away. 

About 34 U.S. rose farms grow 28 million stems a year, with several new craft rose farms emerging. 

“As wedding, event and retail designers, we must educate ourselves on where our flowers come from. We can’t wait until the last minute when supply chain disruptions happen and go into a tailspin about where to confidently source roses,” Shore notes. “We have an abundance of flowers that grow 365 days a year in the U.S., roses being one of them. Garden roses, spray roses and hybrid tea roses are grown domestically in a variety of popular and in vogue color palettes.”  

You can use our list of Certified American Grown rose growers to connect with farms that can deliver exactly what you have in mind year-round, something that will be particularly important when weddings and other in-person celebrations return. 

Shore’s advice: Don’t wait. Get connected to U.S. rose growers. Be an advocate for American Grown roses and look for distributors that support domestic producers. 

Menagerie Farm & Flower

The Flower Fields tour stop in Carlsbad, California, originally scheduled for April 16, has been postponed.

The safety of our guests, farmers, chefs and staff is our highest priority. We want everyone coming to an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on one of our flower farms to do so without worry. 

Therefore, based on the current recommendations of the CDC, we’ve decided to delay the start of our Field to Vase Dinner series until June, with the first dinner taking place at Ocean Breeze Farms in Arroyo Grande, California on June 20.

The Flower Fields tour stop in Carlsbad, California, originally scheduled for April 16, has been postponed. We’ll reach out as soon as a new date is determined. Your ticket will be honored for our future date, and if you’re unable to attend the rescheduled event, we’ll issue a credit that can be used toward another Field to Vase Dinner. This includes changing your tickets to nearest location to Carlsbad, the dinner in Arroyo Grande, CA on June 20.   

The events surrounding the recent COVID-19 pandemic have caused fear, panic and uncertainty, but now, more than ever, we need to rally as a community to take care of each other and spread kindness and joy. 

A Rutgers University study conducted a few years ago indicated that flowers have long-term positive effect on mood. Flowers assuage troubled minds and bring peace to hearts and souls in times of anxiety and fear. So next time you’re picking up essentials, be sure to grab some flowers as well. 

Thank you for your continued support of our American farmers, designers and chefs.

See you soon on a flower farm near you!

We want you to feel confident about your ticket purchase.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing, we’ll continue to monitor information and keep you informed. If an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner must be postponed due to circumstances beyond our control, we’ll reschedule and all ticket purchases will be honored for a future date. If a guest is unable to attend the rescheduled dinner, we’ll issue a credit for the original purchase amount to be used toward another Field to Vase Dinner of their choice.

The ULTIMATE Valentine’s Day “Date-Night of a Lifetime” Giveaway

We’re giving away the date-night of a lifetime… admission for 2 at a romantic 2020 ‘Field to Vase Dinner tour’ evening of your choosing!

Our American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, presented by the California Cut Flower Commission, is in full swing… and we are inviting YOU and a date to dine among the exquisite fields of America’s most stunning flower and foliage farms as our guests.

In our sixth season, this cross-country series of elegant pop-up gatherings features seasonal, sustainable blooms on beautifully designed tablescapes elegantly dressed by top U.S. floral designers, while multi-course artisan meals are prepared by well-known farm-to-table chefs. 

At each unique meal and through the accompanying farm tours and design demonstrations, you’ll experience the age-old art and science of flower farming while being served seasonal and locally grown fare accompanied by wine, craft beers and floral-inspired cocktails.

THE RULES:

  1. Share a Valentine’s Day pic of you or a loved one (or both together), showcasing Certified American Grown flowers on social media.
  2. Tag us on Instagram (@americangrownflowers) or share it to our Facebook page.
  3. We’ll randomly choose a one very lucky winner.
  4. All photos must be shared by midnight on Sunday (2/16 for consideration).

For more info on our American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, presented by the California Cut Flower Commission, visit fieldtovasedinner.com.

*Field to Vase Dinner Events based on availability.

Passionate Floral Pros Hear the Origin Matters Message

Over 300 floral designers gathered for the Team Flower Conference the first week of January in Southern California to learn, grow and build bridges between the various sectors of the floral industry. 

The event, the third of its kind, included a presentation by Certified American Grown’s own Anna Kalins. She took to the stage to share the hundreds of varieties of domestically grown flowers and foliage available 365 days a year from American flower farmers. She also shared the #originmatters message, explaining how florists, wholesalers and others connected to the flower industry can meet consumer demand – and spread the word – about the freshness, diversity and value of buying American Grown flowers. 

 

During the multiple-day event, several educational topics in the areas of design, business and flower farming were also spotlighted by speakers, including floral installations, centerpiece and bouquet design, marketing and testimonials, and growing dahlias and roses.

The annual event is scheduled for March 3-5, 2021 in Albany, New York.

Join Us In Washington, D.C., For Annual Fly-In

Mark Your Calendar for Feb. 25-27

Year after year, we encourage flower farmers to join us in Washington, D.C., for our annual fly-in. 

Why?

Because meeting face to face with policymakers, telling flower farmers’ stories and sharing pain points works. It impacts policy. It leads to change. It creates understanding. 

American Grown flower farmers in Washington D.C., February 2019. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

That’s why we’re encouraging you to mark your calendar for this year’s fly-in, set for Feb. 25-27. 

This is your opportunity to advocate for the work you do and its impact on the economy. It’s your chance to explain how policies from D.C. affect real farmers and their families. And it’s your opening to help make something big happen for flower farmers. 

Delegate Benno Dobbe pleased to share his passion for American Grown Flowers and Greens. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

Perhaps it will be something related to trade policies, labor requirements, or sustainability or a host of other potential bills on critical topics that require the voices of real flower farmers who are affected. 

Great things happen when farmers are able to share their challenges and concerns with policymakers. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

You don’t have to be an expert. We’ll provide the background you need and tips for speaking to policymakers. But we do need your voice. Your experience. Your time. 

Let us know you’d like to join the delegation signing up today!  Together, we can advocate for the industry we love.

 

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! 

 

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!