Get In On the Hottest Design Trend at J Schwanke Workshop

Add the Workshop to Your Field to Vase Experience

One of the hottest trends in floral decor is all-foliage arrangements that incorporate a vast assortment of greens into gorgeous, textural and long-lasting designs.

Guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on Nov. 18 at FernTrust, Inc., in Seville, Florida, can become experts on all aspects of the trend when they add the foliage design workshop with J Schwanke to their experience. The workshop is also scheduled for Nov. 18, from 9-11 a.m.

Schwanke, creative consultant for FernTrust and a renowned floral designer, will teach participants how to braid palm leaves, weave Ti leaves and make aspidistra roses. They’ll also help make foliage alligators that will be part of the evening’s decor, decorate wine glasses to be used at dinner later that day and contribute to an all-foliage portrait of Bobbi Ecker-Blatchford, a celebrated floral designer and former FernTrust consultant.

Ecker-Blatchford’s portrait will be on display at the foliage crown table where dinner guests will each make a fresh foliage crown.

“These are easy little projects that are super impressive,” Schwanke describes. “It’s all about fabulous foliage and all the cool stuff you can do with it.”

Corona’s FlexDial pruner has received numerous accolades and each workshop attendee will receive a free pair.

 

This exclusive event is limited to 24 participants, so be sure to add it at checkout.

As a workshop attendee, you will be provided with a complimentary Corona FlexDial pruner. However, you are encouraged to also bring your own florist knife, scissors and bunch cutter.

Reserve your seat at the last stop on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner and add the fabulous foliage workshop!

 

Grower Co-op Backs Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Next Stop is Fern Capital of the World

Being recognized as best-in-class is serious business.

FernTrust Inc. in Seville, Florida, doesn’t take that designation lightly. Established in 1986, FernTrust is a cooperative of quality oriented farmers who share a rich history in agribusiness.

It’s a partnership that’s unique to the industry – acting as a cooperative allows the farmer-members to do what they do best – grow the highest quality foliage available.

FernTrust growers include James Register, Bob Thompson, John Hoblick, Immo Redeker, Leon Braddock, Jimmy Register and Jana Register. Together these growers have decades of experience making FernTrust one of the most trusted foliage producers in the country.

Harvesting the lush green ferns at FernTrust, Inc.

And these growers are huge contributors to the moniker “Fern Capital of the World,” – the title bestowed on this area of Volusia County Florida.

All this recognition and focus on quality is proof positive of what these growers will bring to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, coming to FernTrust on Nov. 18. These growers have partnered to bring their amazing fern and foliage to the world. Imagine what will happen when they host a pop-up dinner party!

Guests will dine among FertTrust’s 360 acres of fern and foliage, enjoying a multi-course artisanal meal, wine pairings and craft beer. Grower David Register will also host a VIP tour of the site for 20 guests. And renowned designer and television host J Schwanke will wow guests with tablescapes that exemplify the “all-foliage” trend.

David and Jana Register, together with J Schwanke (center)

Make your Field to Vase Dinner truly fantastic by adding a foliage design workshop with J, also on Nov. 18 from 9-11 a.m. J’s calling the workshop “Fabulous Foliage Techniques” and at this exclusive event guests will learn how to weave palm leaves into nautilus shells, create aspidistra roses and attach Milky Way foliage to wine and champagne glasses. Each participant will also make their own all foliage crown and foliage centerpiece.

Plus, you’ll get hands on in helping create the exclusive foliage photo backdrops that will be part of the dinner. This exclusive event is limited to 24 participants, so be sure to add it at checkout.

With this combination of growers paired with a farm tour, workshop and a fine dining experience, you don’t want to miss this last stop for the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Save your seat!

Grace Gardens Wins American Grown Certification in Relaunch Contest

Grace Gardens of Birmingham, Alabama, is the winner of a free Certified American Grown Flowers certification as part of the recent relaunch of the brand and the announcement of new third-party certification partner Where Food Comes From (WFCF).

With the win, Grace Gardens’ farmer florist Kelly Wood becomes the first Certified American Grown  flower farm in Alabama.

Wood operates a 3-acre flower farm on a series of non-contiguous lots in a wooded Birmingham neighborhood. One lot is also home to her design studio where she creates using the seasonal flowers she grows.

Her season starts in March with forced branches and early bulbs and runs through fall. Throughout the year, she grows lilies, sweet pea, larkspur and even peonies, along with heirloom roses from 150 bushes.

As a floral designer, she creates for weddings, holidays, personal deliveries and community events.

Wood said earning the certification lends legitimacy and respect to her local, sustainably grown approach. As the only flower grower in Alabama since her start in 2012, Wood says the certification will help her spread the word about the importance of locally sourced flowers to wholesalers, customers and the three new flower farms that got a start this year in the state.

“I want us to have a really strong local source of flowers. It’s common other places in the country, but if you go to a grocery store here and the flowers are marked ‘local,’ it’s a 400-mile radius around Alabama. This year has really been about getting everyone on the same page and getting wholesalers to realize there are farmers here and to look to us before ordering,” Wood said.

Other farms that entered the contest to win certification also pointed to “credibility,” “legitimacy” and “honor” that American Grown Certification conveys.

As one entrant put it: “Being certified will help brand my flowers and offer a degree of quality that will qualify the origin of my farm. I am proud to provide American Grown Flowers. It would be a privilege to have Certified American Grown and their qualifications to add to my farm.”

Certified American Grown is the largest consumer-facing brand in the floral industry communicating the importance of origin and buying American Grown Flowers. With WFCF in place, Certified American Grown has created a new online audit processing system that streamlines the procedure for farms seeking to earn this valuable certification for marketing and increasing sales.

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour Covers New Territory in 2017

Reserve Your Seat at the Table Today!

Last year’s sold out American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour took guests on extraordinary adventures, from a world-renowned celebrity event stylist’s private flower farm, to the largest tulip farm in America, to a ranunculus field overlooking the ocean. With so many accolades and happy guests with high expectations fulfilled, we knew we needed to raise the bar even further in 2017.

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Dinner in The Flower Fields overlooking the ocean – Carlsbad, California, dinner in 2016.

Deciding where to go and how to format each dinner is a serious process for our team. We listen to guest feedback and reviews, try new things at each of the dinners (a boutonnière bar, cocktails that feature edible flowers and live music, for example), but at the heart of it all is our Certified American Grown Flower Farms and some amazing sought-after floral designers who come together to help share their stories and passion for American Grown Flowers.

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Bluegrass band playing dinner tunes at Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, California.

After months of planning, we’re ready to announce our 2017 tour locations. We have some surprises in store for you as well that we’ll unveil in coming months (for instance, you asked for more hands-on floral experiences and we’ll soon be announcing some special opportunities we’ve added to the tour that will provide just that).

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Floral fun at The Fresh Herb Company in Boulder, Colorado.

One of the more remote destinations on our list is more of a Field to Vase Adventure than a dinner.  We’ll blaze new territory when we travel to Alaska to visit the only place in the world where peonies thrive during the mid-to-late summer months. Scenic Place Peonies is remote, and travel will require some planning. We’re putting together travel information to assist you in preparing for this trip of a lifetime, along with a package that will include the dinner, a private farm tour and hands-on floral experiences. If you’re interested in this date, please let our team know as space is very limited.

So, without further ado, here are the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates and locations:

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The tour locations were selected to represent the variety of flowers and growing conditions found in the United States. While we can’t showcase every flower each year (that would be a feat!), we always strive to introduce new American flower farms and varieties to our guests.

Here is what some of our guests said last year about the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour:

“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Aside from my wedding, it was the best event I’ve been to. Every detail was thoughtful and innovative. I loved the venue, the boutonniere bar, the swag bag!” – Erin R., Boulder, Colorado

“It was truly a beautiful and unique experience! I would attend all the dinners around the country if I could!” – Adrienne S., Carlsbad, California

“The Field to Vase dinner was, quite honestly, the most extraordinary event I’ve ever attended in Humboldt County. Everyone came with a spirit of adventure, ready to traipse through the greenhouses in all their farm-chic elegance on a behind-the-scenes tour, before settling in for a fantastic gourmet meal. It is such a joy to rally around local flower farmers and make new friends! It was an unforgettable night that people here are still talking about.” – Amy Stewart, acclaimed garden writer and best-selling author of “Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful.”

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Cheers to Certified American Grown Flowers!

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Every location has the best selfie photo-ops, just like David Beahm’s Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Wouldn’t you think so?

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Food, flowers, wine and friendship! They’re #F2V staples.

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It was a true bloggers’ paradise at Cornerstone Sonoma with Sunset Magazine! If it’s not Insta-worthy, we’re not having it!

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Guests at Texas Specialty Cut Flowers got theirs … it’s all about the F2V swag bag.

Save your seat today as we expect a sell-out tour for the third year in a row. In the weeks, ahead we’ll be announcing the star-studded cast of floral designers involved with this year’s tour. World-renowned and pioneers in their craft, the 2017 slate of designers will be bringing their own following to the table, so seats will go quickly.

Cheers to a big year with an even BIGGER #F2V adventure! Save your seats today!

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Let’s get social! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest F2V news, special behind the scene moments and live stories! #AmericanGrown #F2V #OriginMatters

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(Did you attend last year’s tour? Share your stories and pictures and help us spread the good news of this year’s tour! We’ll be watching for your posts!)

Experience Heirloom Fire at David Beahm’s Thistle Dew Farm

Meet our featured Chef Jim Gop, owner of Heirloom Fire, a fire-based catering events company located in the Berkshires.

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Jim Gop of Heirloom Fire, featured #F2V chef at David Beahm’s Thistle Dew Farm.

In the midst of his second complete season, Chef Jim Gop is no stranger to putting his talent and passion in front of the fire to wow his guests. Focusing on the dining experience from start to finish, Jim and his team have a night of wonderful surprises in store for our guests.

Providing our #F2V guests with an experience unlike any other, Jim has prepared a menu fit for a king (or queen) at none other than world-renowned celebrity event designer turned American flower farmer, David Beahm’s farm, Thistle Dew Farm.

Recently, we had the chance to catch up with our featured chef to talk about everything from what inspires him as a chef and business owner, to his story of chasing dreams in California and the aesthetic he has established within his company, Heirloom Fire.

F2V: We are so excited to have you join us at David Beahm’s Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown, PA as our featured Chef! What will we see during this upcoming dinner?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 2.00.03 PMJim: I am super excited to come along for the ride! It is important to pay attention to the aesthetic of the event, which happens to be much bigger than just the food. It’s the entire experience that we will be focusing on. To be able to work with the Field to Vase Dinner Tour and David Beahm to create this exclusive experience is beyond thrilling.

The menu we designed for the night will elaborate on that Pennsylvania feel. We will be roasting and cooking pigs in various ways, as well as serving handcrafted charcuterie, hearth baked breads, grilled summer vegetables, cast iron roasted lattice peach pies, fireside s’mores and more.

F2V: What is your story? How did you get started in the industry?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 1.55.54 PMJim: I have always been into art and loved expressing my vision through art. In my early years, I started drawing and eventually got really into special makeup effects, even working on sculpting prosthetics for faces. The attention to detail has always been my thing. Wanting to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, I went to California at the age of 17. Not breaking into the career I aimed for, I traveled back to the East Coast. I began to work for a grocer (similar to Whole Foods) in which I learned a lot about seasonality. It was that moment I began to fall in love with food. I attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and had the opportunity to learn hands-on through internships at high-end, white tablecloth restaurants. Eventually, I got burnt out from putting in long hours and often felt disconnected from who I was preparing a meal for within the restaurant scene.

Shortly after, I began working for my friend who did simple pig roasts and grilled vegetables. I couldn’t help but think how amazing this experience was to be outside and actually interact with the guests. I wanted to marry this artistic and higher-end background I had with the feeling of being outdoors. Sooner or later, Heirloom Fire was born. Believe it or not, this is our second full season as a business. It has been great!

F2V: If you can describe your work in one word, what would it be and why?

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.47.00 AMJim: Captivating. We rely so much through display and exposure. When we set up for our events, we try to tuck ourselves away from the actual ceremony. Guests may visualize smoke in the air or see some fire flumes in the sky, but they eventually must turn a corner. For example, when you go to a baseball game, you purchase your tickets from the outside, come into the field, and it’s just an explosion of green. That’s the experience I want to provide my guests when they come around the corner from seeing the amazing smoke coming up from the flames, and the sounds of everything cooking.

F2V: As a chef, what inspires you?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 2.02.00 PMJim: I am always inspired by the local flavor of the locations we travel to. For this dinner, I want to highlight Pennsylvania with fresh summer ingredients grown locally on the East Coast. For me, summer is decided by peaches and melons that are so juicy, you want to stand over a bathtub while eating them!

Seasonality plays a huge factor in inspiration, which has captivated my love and appreciation for food but also the process of how a summer peach tastes different than a peach that would be shipped in from Chile or Argentina in January.

F2V: What makes you different compared to all the other Chefs we have featured in the past?

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 1.56.38 PMJim: When it comes to our food, it is important to realize its more than just the taste, but also the presentation. We believe the overall experience is the most important factor. We are a fully exposed open-kitchen, conscious of reducing waste and focusing on the roots of cooking.
When we do events, we do not use any electricity. Everything is hand-driven. For refrigeration, we use our ice chests, which require large ice blocks. We have no plastic (anything) used in our kitchen. We use vintage copper and brass utensils, as well as kitchenware. From what I know, no one is doing it like us. People often stand near our set up and I want them to come closer – to give them a tour of our kitchen and explain our process for their meal. Our guests get to see the whole story being told by food. I want to capture your attention.

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It is no secret that your FULL attention will be captivated ALL NIGHT through your eyes, nose, ears, and taste buds with Chef Jim in the house! Join the Field to Vase Dinner Tour for a dinner to remember in Quakertown, PA on Wednesday, September 14!

Save you seats today!

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Field to Vase Dinner destination featured in Sunset Magazine

When you think of Alaska do you conjur up images of majestic mountains where moose roam like cattle, wild salmon jump directly into the mouths of bears and the towns are full of rugged…flower farmers? That’s right, it’s Alaska’s peony farmers who are changing the landscape of agriculture in Alaska and gaining well deserved attention for their beautiful American Grown blooms.

In fact, Sunset Magazine is featuring Alaskan peony farmers in this month’s issue (you can pick it up in news stands now if you haven’t already). Included in this month’s feature is our Alaska Field to Vase Dinner host Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska. Beth will be hosting what promises to be one of the most awe-inspiring dinners to date.

The article highlights how Alaska has been able to successfully extend the season of American Grown peonies. Not only are the only state with peonies during the months of July, August and September, Alaska is the only peony producing region in the world at that time. This is wonderful news for brides planning late summer and early fall weddings.

Planning for our Field to Vase Dinner in Homer on July 28, 2017 is underway and tickets to this amazing place are available now. As a Field to Vase Dinner guests you’ll have a chance to see these extraordinary flowers growing in fields overlooking the beautiful Kachemak Bay. You’ll also get to meet the extraordinary farmers who are growing this delicate crop in a state known for extreme weather and rugged landscape.

So don’t wait! Save your seat today for our July 28, 2017 Field to Vase in Alaska.

Check out the full article here!

(Photo Credit: Thomas J. Story/ Sunset Publishing)

(Photo Credit: Thomas J. Story/ Sunset Publishing)