Legislators Battle It Out at Field to Vase Dinner

Lively floral design challenge entertains dinner guests

The most recent American Grown Field to Vase Dinner was unique, even for this remarkable tour.

It wasn’t on a farm.   It involved politicians and was held on the lawn of a state capitol.

With the California State Capitol in view, guests dined on an incredible meal and enjoyed the bountiful blooms that filled the table from around The Golden State.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

And it was awesome.

Members of California’s state assembly participated in the annual Floral Design Challenge hosted by the California Cut Flower Commission. Pictured left to right; Assemblymemember Rocky Chavez, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, Assemblymember Monique Limon and Assemblymember Anna Caberello.  Photos by Eye Connoisseur Photography

It started with a beautiful reception where guests enjoyed watching members of the California state assembly compete in a floral design competition hosted by the California Cut Flower Commission. For the last three years, the California Cut Flower Commission has hosted this design competition involving legislators to help raise awareness that June is California Grown Flower Month. Combining the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner with this annual tradition by CCFC was not only fitting, but it also really helped guests, including California’s lawmakers, understand just how valuable the American Grown Flower movement has become.

Assemblywoman Monique Limón takes the trophy from California Cut Flower Commission CEO and Ambassador Kasey Cronquist, winning this year’s Floral Design Challenge.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

After the vote was tallied, Assemblywoman Monique Limón was announced the champion of the 2018 Floral Design Challenge. Limón will receive a delivery of fresh American Grown Flowers each month for an entire year to display in her office.

Assemblymembers Chaves, Cooper, Limon and Caballero delighted and entertained guests with their floral design skills.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

One guest commented that the design competition was “entertaining and a great local touch.”

J.J. Pfister Distilling created a refreshing Raspberry Lemonade Cocktail for guests to enjoy.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

The reception included delicious hors d’oeuvres, a very popular floral-inspired cocktail by J.J. Pfister Distilling Company [link https://www.jjpfister.com/] and great local brew by Track 7 Brewery [link https://track7brewing.com/].

Smithers Oasis is bringing a smile to the face of our Field to Vase guests with their sponsorship of the boutonniere bar. Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

Always a guest favorite, the boutonniere bar brought lots of smiles and delight, thanks to sponsor Smithers Oasis.

The tablescape at the Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner was as unique as the location with each arm of the table representing the flowers of a different region of the state.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

Designed by Liezet Arnold of Bloem Decor of Sacramento, the dinner’s tablescape was a stunning arrangement of flowers and meaning. Rather than the tradition of one long farm table, Liezet took the opportunity to showcase growing regions by arranging the table like a compass, highlighting the different growing regions throughout California. Starting in the north, with lilies, iris and tulips and through the state to the south where her designs showcased protea, pincushions, leucadendron, eucalyptus, Italian ruscus and wax flower. It was one of the most beautiful table settings we have ever had on the tour.

Chef Dan Watterson of Statehouse at the Capitol did a masterful job of creating a California-inspired menu.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

Statehouse Chef Dan Watterson walked everyone through the menu, highlighting the great care that went into procuring the evening’s ingredients. He explained that the potatoes and carrots were sourced from Full Belly Farm, which he had a chance to visit himself prior to the dinner. The entrée was a delicious rack of lamb that was sponsored by the California Sheep Commission and provided by Richard Hamilton, who was in attendance with his family. Richard was acknowledged and thanked for his contribution to the dinner. Last, but certainly not least, California Grown Strawberries, donated by the California Strawberry Commission, rounded out the meal for dessert, a light and refreshing strawberry shortcake.

A light and airy dessert made with strawberries from the California Strawberry Commission was the perfect ending to a beautiful evening.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

We’ve since received some wonderful feedback from our guests:

Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography

“We enjoyed the entire dinner experience! From the tour of the capitol, the flower arranging competition, looking at all the beautiful arrangements, listening to the music in such a beautiful setting, we loved every minute!” ~ Denise C.

“There’s something really special about being surrounded by so many flowers. The boutonniere bar was my favorite part of the event—what a great idea! And it was terrific to be able to bring so many amazing flowers home, thank you!” ~ Anonymous

“Thank you for the amazing hospitality! Loved the boutonniere bar. The swag bag was a fun treat!!!” ~ Sarah H.

“I love the idea of field to vase as it is in keeping with farm to fork.” ~ Nancy K.

We love it too, which is why we’re headed to Star Valley Farm, in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, for our next dinner on September 5.

Only two more dinners remain!





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