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! 

 

Where Should We Go In 2020?

Send Us Your Suggestions For American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour Stops!

In 2020, the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour will begin its sixth season. That’s six years of hosting guests on some of America’s most beautiful flower farms where they meet the farmer, take in breathtaking designs from a renowned floral designer and dine on a multi-course artisan meal paired with local wine and craft beers.  

Guests of every Field to Vase Dinner experience an evening filled with beautiful American Grown Flowers along with a multi-course artisan meal.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

The dinner tour has become a spectacular tradition that introduces guests to the homegrown flowers available 365 days a year from American flower farms. And like any tradition, each year there’s a lot to live up to! 

That’s why we’re asking flower farmers, florists, wholesalers, sponsors and flower-lovers where we should stop in 2020. 

Get the feel of an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner like this one in Nashville,  TN. Then send us your suggestions for 2020 to stops! 

 

We want to announce next year’s stops in January, so we’re already canvassing the country, checking out locations and looking to shine the spotlight on America’s best flower farms, floral designers and communities that exemplify the growing support and movement for American Grown Flowers.

Got a suggestion for the perfect location? Email Andrea@AmericanGrownFlowers.org or fill out the application below and tell us why the American Grown Dinner Tour should stop in.

Perdue Makes Stop at Michigan Flower Farm on Listening Tour

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue got a chance to stop and smell the flowers in Michigan last week as he toured the state to take the pulse of farmers and listen to their concerns.

Perdue’s tour included a stop at Summer Dreams Farms in Oxford, Michigan, where owner Michael Genovese showed him around and got a chance to offer a flower grower’s perspective on trade, the competition from imports and the importance of the American Grown Act and the Cut Flower Caucus. Summer Dreams Farms grows dahlias in Oxford, about an hour north of Detroit.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue talks with flower farmer Michael Genovese at Summer Dreams Farm.  Photos by Heather Saunders.

Perdue was in Michigan to hear from farmers at a time when tariffs and trade agreements are major concerns. Perdue also visited a sugar beet farm, a town hall meeting with farmers in Frankenmuth and Better Made Potato Chips.

At the town hall meeting, Perdue fielded questions about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North America Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is still being debated in Congress. Opponents are concerned about enforcement and the prospect of losing American jobs.

“The world is watching,” Perdue told farmers. “If we cannot get an agreement with people on the north and south of us, how can we have an agreement with the world on trade?”

Perdue said he intended to take what he heard back to Washington and President Trump.

“Farmers are interesting, they like to look you in the eye,” said Perdue, according to a report on WWMT-TV. “They can send an email or write an email, but they respect when you come and respect them by looking at the ground, feel challenges they have here, feel the heartbeat of what they’re struggling with. That’s my job. That can make me a more effective advocate to the president and to the administration.

“He asks me when I get back, ‘how’s it going out there, Sonny?’ I have the opportunity to tell him. I told him a few weeks ago, ‘Mr. President, it’s tough and it’s getting tougher.’ He says well that’s negative and I say well you pay me to tell you the truth and that’s what we do.”

Amid all the serious concerns, Perdue’s visit to Summer Dreams Farms left an impression on him.

“Several of his staff came up to me and said they had not ever seen him so excited on a farm tour in a long time,” Genovese said. “I was also told he was talking about the flower farm the entire drive to and during the next stop on his tour.”

 

Award-Winning Cameron Mitchell Premier Events To Shine Last Dinner Tour Stop

If you’ve heard of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events before, it’s likely because this award-winning business has earned an amazing reputation in Columbus and Central Ohio.  

Think honors from ISES WOW! Awards and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, not to mention recognition for its various venues that include The Ivory Room at Miranova, a chic, modern event space located in the heart of Downtown Columbus; The Exchange, a contemporary open event space located in Dublin’s Bridge Park neighborhood; and The Terrace in the heart of The Short North Arts District.

New Albany Field to Vase Dinner guests are in for a real treat!  Not only will they experience the much-loved beauty of the Red Twig Farm, but also the delightful culinary creations of chef Amanda Stuart of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.  Photo by Daniel Kelleghan.

Guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on Oct. 5 at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, will get to experience all Cameron Mitchell Premier Events has to offer when the firm takes on the both the culinary efforts and the event coordination. 

The menu points to an amazing evening on the flower farm, thanks to the culinary expertise of chef Amanda Stuart. For as long as she can remember, Stuart has always had a passion for the creativity and artistic aspects of cooking. At age 17, she began independently executing small catered parties and creating custom cakes for family and friends. It wasn’t until she began working at The Hills Market as the director of food services that she decided she wanted to pursue cooking professionally. 

Chef Amanda Stuart will be leading the catering team at the New Albany Field to Vase Dinner on October 5.  Photo courtesy of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.

In 2012, Amanda joined Cameron Mitchell Premier Events as a catering supervisor and rose through the ranks, developing as a bakery supervisor and later a sous chef. 

Here’s what Stuart has planned for Field to Vase Dinner guests: an Arcadian greens salad and cracked wheat sourdough bread followed by salmon with tomato and olive relish, flat iron steak with chimichurri, roasted seasonal vegetables and herb-roasted red potatoes. Dessert will feature mini chocolate chip cookies, lemon-berry shooters and pistachio macarons. 

 

Steak House Pizza is just one of the delicious hors d’oeuvers served at our Ohio Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo courtesy of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.

 


With a culinary experience like this, a tour of Red Twig Farms and floral designs by Mindy Staton of
Two Little Buds Florist, it’s no wonder this dinner is already sold out! 

If you missed out, stay tuned for our announcement of 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Tour locations! 

 

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.

 

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Ag Funding Bill

Bill Language Supports Floriculture Report

The U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has approved a bill to fund the Agriculture Department and related agencies for fiscal year 2020. The bill provides discretionary funding of $23.1 billion, $58 million over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $4.1 billion over the budget request. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $128.6 billion.

The bill also includes language that supports funding for the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) annual Floriculture Crops Report, the only report providing national stats on the cut flower sector.

The bill’s report language states: “The Committee recognizes the importance of the Floriculture Crops Report and recommends an increase of $500,000 for NASS to complete the report. The Committee directs NASS to include data from Alaska in compiling the report.”

Sen. Dianne Feintstein has met with flower farmers each year at Certified American Grown’s annual DC Fly-In.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

 

Certified American Grown and the California Cut Flower Commission worked closely with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ensure that language supporting the annual Floriculture Report was included.

Senator Murkowski, shown here with flower farmers at the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase Dinner in July, has long been a friend and advocate of the American flower farmer. Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

This year and in 2018, the California Cut Flower Commission submitted appropriations requests to both the House and Senate, and had numerous discussions with Members advocating about the importance of the report. The report was also a topic at the annual Washington, D.C. fly-in.

In 2018, during the Certified American Grown DC Fly-in, flower famers elevated the issue for reinstating the annual floriculture report directly to USDA NASS officials and worked with members of Congress to help secure the funding necessary for its reinstatement.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

As you may know, the report was quietly suspended in 2016, but as a result of Certified American Grown and CCFC’s advocacy for fiscal year 2019, the report was bought back and released in May 2019.  The Society of American Florists (SAF) also lobbied for the report.

The approval of the ag funding bill with language supporting the Floriculture Crops report is a huge win for America’s flower farmers!

Regarding the overall bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “This bill funds our nation’s agriculture and nutrition programs and directly influences the quality of life in rural America. It provides our farmers and ranchers the support they need. This is a good committee product, and I thank Senators Hoeven and Merkley for working together to craft this legislation. It deserves the backing of the full Senate.”

Next, the bill will be placed on the legislative calendar for a vote.

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!