Help Make The Floriculture Survey A Success!

Participate In The Upcoming NASS Survey

The national USDA survey of flower farms that provides the industry with vital information about production and trends, and gauges its economic impact, will be conducted again this year beginning in December.

The survey was not conducted for the last two years due to budgetary constraints at USDA’s NASS program. Leaders from the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and a team of farmers from Certified American Grown program flew to Washington, D.C., and met with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Administrator Hubert Hammer [article link: http://www.americangrownflowers.org/americas-flower-farmers-must-continue-to-lobby-congress/] and members of the U.S. Senate earlier this year to encourage the administration and Congress to reinstate this important annual report.

In February, Farmers met with USDA NASS Administrator Hubert Hammer about their decision to suspend the Annual Floriculture Report. Photo by Nony Pak of Ken Park Photography.

“This report provides our farms and our industry with a baseline of data that highlights just how valuable our farms and flowers are to their state and the economy,” explained Kasey Cronquist, CEO & ambassador of CCFC and administrator of Certified American Grown. “The successful effort to reinstate this report highlights just how important our efforts are in Washington, D.C., and that we can and do make a difference when farmers come together. Now we need everyone to stay engaged and most importantly, participate in the survey.”

Farmers met with Senator Diane Feinstein to discuss the need to reinstate the funding for the annual floriculture report. The Senator made it one of her top ag priorities in 2018.

CCFC and Certified American Grown also worked in coalition with American Hort and the Society of American Florists to help raise the awareness of this issue on Capitol Hill.

The survey is a census of about 10,000 commercial floriculture operations that annually produce and sell at least $10,000 worth of fresh cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, annual bedding and garden plants, herbaceous perennials, cut cultivated florist greens, propagative floriculture material and unfinished plants. Annual sales include retail and wholesale sales.

Last year’s delegation of Alaska’s flower farmers made a big impression on the team at USDA. So much so, Alaska’s flowers will now be counted as a part of the annual floriculture report.

The survey provides the number of farmers, area of production, quantity sold, percent of sales at wholesale, wholesale prices, wholesale value of production for floriculture commodities and average number of agricultural workers per farm or ranch.

USDA NASS Administrator Hubert Hammer speaking to America’s flower farmers during last year’s fly-in in February.

The USDA first started collecting data on the nation’s floriculture industry in 1956. The report, called the Commercial Floriculture Survey, has grown to cover six floriculture categories in the 17 main flower-producing states and more than 50 separate crops.

NASS says the survey provides an important snapshot of the industry and helps growers plan for the future.

Certified farmers Benno Dobbe of Holland America Flowers in Washington State and Erin Caird of Glad-A-Way Gardens in California sporting their new USDA NASS hats following the meeting with NASS officials. Dobbe is the chair of the CCFC’s governmental affairs committee and a member of the Certified American Grown Council.

“Technology has changed production practices and tissue culture propagation has accelerated production,” NASS says on its website. “New products are being developed every year. To keep abreast of the rapidly changing industry, growers and suppliers need data. Individual growers can compare their own operation to other operations to help identify state and national trends as they plan the future of their business. These estimates are also used to support industry claims in cases involving unfair trade practices and in trade negotiations.”

Last year’s team of flower famers who were responsible for elevating 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.

The federal government uses the data to gauge the industry’s economic impact. Sales of floriculture crops have exceeded $5 billion annually, which NASS calls “a significant contribution to farm income and the gross domestic product.”

NASS will collect data from growers by mail, phone, online and through personal interviews. The Commercial Floriculture Survey will be mailed to farms on Dec. 14. Enumerators from NASS will be visiting farms and calling farmers to help complete the survey from Dec. 31 through Feb. 8.

Consider joining your fellow flower farmers in Washington, D.C. in 2019. Join this powerful delegation of voices who are making a difference for America’s flower farmers.

The reference period is the preceding year. The data will be published in the Floriculture Crops report on May 8, 2019.

The information provided by growers will be used for statistical purposes only and no identifying details of respondents will be disclosed.

In the last survey, which covered 2015, the nation’s total floriculture crop value was estimated at $4.37 billion, up from $4.20 billion for 2014. California was the leading producer with 685 operations producing crops valued at $1.08 billion, followed by Florida at $1.03 billion. Those two states accounted for 49 percent of the nation’s floriculture crop value. Rounding out the top five states were Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio.

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

This Year’s Visit Is Critical!

Year after year, we’re reminded of the importance of the face-to-face meetings we have during the annual flower farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C.

Our past efforts have netted the reinstatement of the national USDA survey of flower farms, inroads on bringing American Grown Flowers to the White House, expansion of the Cut Flower Caucus and strong relationships with policymakers.

These things happen because we’re there. Flower farmers are seen and heard. They share their stories. They give policymakers a name and face to remember.

It’s serious business. And it works.

Which is why we’re asking flower farmers to join us February 26-28, 2019, for our upcoming fly-in.

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 – like it did with the reinstatement of the farm survey.

The Commercial Floriculture survey, arriving in your mailbox very soon, had not been conducted for the past two years due to budgetary constraints at USDA’s NASS program. But after leaders from Certified American Grown program flew to Washington, D.C., and met with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Administrator Hubert Hammer and members of the U.S. Senate, the report was reinstated.

 

We were heard. And there are other big issues we need to lend our collective voices to.

Let us know you’d like to join the delegation by emailing Andrea Philpot at andrea@americangrownflowers.org.

 

And be sure to participate in the Commercial Floriculture Survey, being mailed to farms on Dec. 14.

 

NASS will be collecting data from growers by mail, phone, online and through personal interviews. Enumerators from NASS will be visiting farms and calling farmers to help complete the survey from Dec. 31 through Feb. 8.

Your participation provides our farms and the larger industry with data that shows just how valuable our farms and flowers are to communities and to the economy.

Just one more way to be heard.

4 New Farms Earn American Grown Certification

Farms Large and Small See Value, Benefits to Certification

Four new flower farms have recently officially become Certified American Grown, joining a cadre of 60 certified farms nationwide. These farms vary in size and in the varieties of flowers they grow, from peony growers in Alaska to novelty flower farmers known for their agritourism.

The newly certified farms are: Cuts of Color, Weimar, Texas; Stone Circle Peonies, Homer, Alaska; Red Twig Farms, New Albany, Ohio; and Boreal Peonies, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Earning recognition as Certified American Grown helps retailers, wholesalers and florists connect their customers with flowers grown right here in the United States and guarantees their customers that the flowers they’re bringing home or giving as gifts were grown by an American flower farmer, all points not lost on the newly certified.

And flower farmers whose farms have earned certification say it lends credibility to their efforts, connects them to new wholesale and florist clients and makes a positive statement to consumers, more and more of whom are seeking out homegrown products.

Four new certified farms, dozens of reasons to get on board.

Have you considered joining the Certified American Grown movement?

2019 Dinner Tour Stops in the Works

Seats Already For Sale For Popular Alaska Stop

Over half of the seats have been reserved for the Alaska dinner in 2019! 

Plans for the 2019 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour are already underway, with stops being planned at Certified American Grown Flower and greens farms across the U.S.

Imagine finding yourself at this dreamy table in 2019.

Next year’s tour will introduce guests to some never-before-open farms and will include a stop at Joselyn Peonies in Homer, Alaska, on Aug. 3, 2019. Seats for this already-popular dinner are available here!

Josyln Peonies, in Homer, Alaska, is located on the Kenai Peninsula and has a beautiful view of Kachemak Bay.

Starting in the spring, we’ll be crisscrossing the country with this award-winning dinner tour with stops likely in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, to name a few.

Mel Resendiz welcomed guests to his farm at the Fallbrook Field to Vase Dinner in 2018.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

You don’t want to miss your chance to meet a passionate flower farmer, dine in a flower field at a community table adorned with American Grown Flowers and connect with fellow flower-lovers.

Photo by Liraz Photography.

Each dinner also includes the renowned boutonniere bar where guests craft their own floral flair, and the popular Field to Vase swag bags packed with flower-related goodies.

The boutonniere bar is always a guest favorite. Photo by by Kelleghan Production.

Smiles abound when guests receive the swag bag full of gifts. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Where do you want to see the tour go next? Send us an email, we’d love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the entire 2019 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour map, coming soon!

 

Y’all Would Have Loved Green Door Gourmet

The American Grown Field to Vase Tour Ends Its 2018 Season in Nashville

American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour guests enjoyed a warm welcome at Green Door Gourmet in October.  Photography by Liraz Photography

Guests from all across the country descended on Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the last American Grown Field to Vase Dinner of the 2018 season at Green Door Gourmet.

And it was glorious.

The flowers, the table, the design, our guests – it all combines for a beautiful evening on the flower farm at Green Door Gourmet.  Photography by Liraz Photography

 

A sold-out crowd of 160 guests enjoyed a beautiful evening at Green Door Gourmet. Photography by Liraz Photography

At every turn, our guests enjoyed the Southern hospitality from the team at Green Door Gourmet who thought of everything in order to help make the evening something our guests would never forget.

A floral cocktail with a Tennessee twist, sponsored by Jack Daniels. Photography by Liraz Photography

From the farm tour to the boutonnière bar, the floral cocktails (sponsored by Jack Daniels) to the wine (sponsored by Geyser Peak); the chickens at check in to the amazing tablescape by floral designer Kelly Shore looking over the beautiful flower fields at Green Door Gourmet, the 2018 tour ended on a wonderful note in Music City.

Guests enjoyed creating their own flower flair at our boutonnière bar during the reception. Photography by Liraz Photography

Our swag bags have become a much sought-after item. Once the dinner is over, every guest takes home a fun bag filled with gifts from our sponsors. Photography by Liraz Photography

Floral designer Kelly Perry of Philosophy Flowers and Team Flowers created a beautiful all-American Grown tablescape with a group of volunteer designers from Team Flowers. The Team enjoyed the opportunity to work with the flowers harvested right there at Green Door Gourmet.

Floral designer Kelly Perry did an incredible job leading her team of Team Flower volunteers in development of the beautiful tablescape for our final dinner of the season. Photography by Liraz Photography

Green Door Gourmet’s owner Sylvia Ganier and flower farmer Laura Dison provided guests with a tour of the farm, highlighting their history in vegetable production and their commitment to growing Certified American Grown Flowers in Nashville.

Laura Dison (left) and Sylvia Ganier provided guests with an overview of the farm and Green Door’s mission in Nashville. Photography by Liraz Photography

 

Flower farmer Laura Dison. Photography by Liraz Photography

The evening was unusually warm for October, record-breaking actually, but that didn’t impact the experience of our guests. One guest described the evening’s experience this way, “Sitting at a table in a field with gorgeous vistas among beautiful flowers, eating delicious local food prepared with flowers and enjoying good wine with new friends made for an evening not soon forgotten. The Field to Vase Dinner allows anyone who loves flowers to immerse themselves in a floral fairyland.”

Another guest shared that the dinner was, “…the ultimate flower party. Loved the gorgeous tablescapes, enjoyed meeting others involved in the industry as well as simple floral fans such as myself. The wildflower bouquet we came home with was a lovely reminder for the next few days to appreciate moments of presence, awareness and beauty.”

Passed appetizers, local beer, delicious wine and a fun floral cocktail made the reception a festive affair. Photography by Liraz Photography

Chefs Deb Paquette and Richard Jones treated everyone to a wonderful menu, with ingredients procured from Green Door and other local farms.

A canopy of lights and the flicker of candlelight helped illuminate the table after the sunset at Green Door Gourmet. Photography by Liraz Photography

As the sun set over Green Door Gourmet and the 2018 season for our national American Grown Field to Vase Dinner, you couldn’t help but sense a feeling of gratitude. An appreciation for the meal, the flowers, our designer, our farmer and all the work that goes into hosting a pop-up dinner in the middle of a flower field.

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is a great example of America’s “can do” attitude. Sylvia and her team shared their story, their example of how they are putting in the hard work and dedication to continue to meet the increasing demand for their American Grown Flowers.

Our national tour doesn’t end here.

Stay tuned for the debut of the 2019 schedule.

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour has hosted over 5,000 people at our floral-filled events over the last four seasons.  Photography by Liraz Photography

Nine New Retailers Excited to Promote American Grown Flowers Month in 2019

Certified American Grown (CAG) recently “set up shop” at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Orlando.

Certified American Grown kicked off 2019’s promotions for July at PMA’s Fresh Summit this October. A focus on celebrating American Grown Flowers Month has already proven to drive sales.

With red buckets, beautiful bouquets and bunches all labeled Certified American Grown, the display provided inspiration for retailers that stopped by.

“Drive sales all month long,” helped communicate the opportunities retailers have to increase their sales during the summer slump.

The effort was designed to motivate, encourage and sign up retailers for the American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest, held for the first time last July with great success.

And sign up they did! Nine mass market retailers have already agreed to participate in the second annual contest coming in July 2019, kicking off a great start to proven campaign.

Nine retailers signed up to celebrate American Grown Flowers Month in 2019 during PMA’s Fresh Summit.

Here’s why: data from the contest showed this campaign helps sell more flowers. In fact, the top five stores from each division that participated in the first year of the contest saw a 17.5 percent increase in their year-over-year sales during the month of July.

An example of one of our First Place Winners in 2018. This is the Safeway store in Daly City, California, part of the NorCal Division.

Selling more flowers in July, a typically slow month for flower sales, is something that all retailers can support. In fact nearly 12 retailers representing over 1,200 retail locations participated in the contest in its first year.

The team at Fry’s did an incredible job driving sales and waving the flag during American Grown Flowers Month this year.

We’re thrilled more and more retailers are seeing the value of promoting Certified American Grown, so much so that they’re getting on board with promotional efforts eight months in advance!

It’s a win-win for retailers and consumers who continue to tell us origin matters!

To learn more visit http://www.americangrownflowers.org/agfm/.

To register your division, visit: http://americangrownflowers.org/julycontest/

Sponsors Add Magical Touch to Dinner Tour!

It takes a village, as the saying goes, to put on the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. And we simply couldn’t do it without our national sponsors who, in the most clever and imaginative ways, add a secret sauce to each tour stop.

These sponsors seamlessly add to the guest experience and make each dinner special. Each of the six stops on the 2018 tour was sold out, a feat made possible by the support of our sponsors.

The boutonnière bar has become a main attraction for our guests that attend a dinner.  Photography by Liraz Photography

One of the most popular features of the dinners, the boutonnière bar, is sponsored by Smithers Oasis. Time and time again, guests tell us how much they enjoy designing a bout or corsage to wear throughout the evening.

Photography by Liraz Photography

Thanks to the support of Smithers-Oasis, our guests enjoy designing their own boutonnière during the reception of each of our events.  Photography by Liraz Photography

Ball Horticultural is our reception sponsor, underwriting the food and wine for both our VIP reception and our pre-dinner reception. Ball ensures each dinner is off to a great start!

Our guests enjoy an hour long reception prior to dinner. Ball is our headline sponsor for every flower filled reception we host.  Photo courtesy of the Society of American Florists.

Live music, cocktails and meeting great people helps kick off an evening you will remember forever.  Photo by Kelleghan Production

Speaking of wine, Geyser Peak Winery and the nonprofit Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley provide all of the wine for our dinners, a must for any artisan meal experience.

Working closely with our chefs, Geyser Peak Wine provides our guests with a perfect pairing every time our table is set. Photo by Kelleghan Productions.

Our guests enjoy red and white wines from Geyser Peak at each dinner.   Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Great wine makes for a great event and we are fortunate to have Geyser Peak as a part of our national tour.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

And Syndicate Sales ensures our tablescapes will amaze and delight by providing the containers our floral designers fill with American Grown Flowers at each stop. The volume and variety of vessels they provide is spectacular.

The beautiful tablescapes would not be possible without the support of our national sponsor Syndicate Sales. The vases and containers they provide help our designers craft the most creative and beautiful table arrangements.  Photo by Taken by Sarah Photography.

This vivid tablescape byRené van Rems included these colorful vases by Syndicate Sales. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Helping guests bring home some magic from each event are Visit California, sponsor of our swag bags; and Corona Inc., which provides each guest with a pair of floral clippers so they can design their own American Grown arrangements at home.

Visit California helps us ensure that our guests leave with some wonderful memories and parting gifts from their Field to Vase experience.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography.

Each guest leaves with tools they can use thanks to Corona tools, a national sponsor of our Field to Vase Dinner Tour.  Photo by Kelleghan Productions.

Designers and guests appreciate the opportunity to use Corona tools during our hands-on workshops and at our boutonniere bar.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Our swag bags have become a much sought after item. Once the dinner is over, every guest takes home a fun bag filled with gifts from our sponsors.  Photography by Liraz Photography.

The dinner tour is also generously supported by national wholesale flower sponsors Mellano & Company and DV Flora, and is underwritten by Certified American Grown Flowers and the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). Needless to say, a floral dinner has to have spectacular flowers and these sponsors ensure that’s the case at every single stop!

We load our swag bag up with unique items from each region, but always include a copy of Florists’ Review and SuperFloral magazine, our national media sponsor.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Finally, media sponsors Super Floral and Florists’ Review help us share the experience in text and photos all year long! We’re grateful for the coverage and the ability to share the tour experience far and wide.

As we wrap up the 2018 dinner tour and plan for the thrilling stops in 2019, we send our sincere thanks to our national sponsors!

Farm to Fork Dinner Goes Floral

Designer Debi Lilly is ‘Floral Chef’ at Iconic Event

Debi Lilly served as this year’s Floral Chef for the Farm to Fork Dinner event on the bridge in Sacramento. Photo by Glenn Younger

The annual Tower Bridge Dinner is the grand finale for Sacramento, California’s annual Farm-to-Fork Celebration. This year the event took on a floral focus with the addition of an American Grown Flowers tablescape created by Debi Lilly A Perfect Event.

Lilly, an event planner, floral designer and two-time American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour designer, served as the “floral chef” for the popular event where 800 diners gather for a multi-course meal at table that covers the length of the Tower Bridge.

Debi Lilly with Crystal Hedgpeth, Floral Manager for NorCal Safeway.  Photo by Glenn Younger.

She used hundreds of flowers of plants from farmers throughout California to create a multi-level tablescape that emanated fall sunshine and happiness. Think 440 vases of sunflowers. 440 vases of gerbera. 990 feet of bay leaf garland. 440 jack ‘o little pumpkins, 440 loose sunflower blooms, 440 succulents.

American Grown Flowers took center table during this year’s Farm to Fork event in Sacramento.  Photo by Glenn Younger.

And in a nod to a popular feature at all American Grown Field to Vase Dinners, the event also include two boutonniere bars where guests crafted bouts and posy bouquets using California Grown Flowers.

“Everyone loved it and the bar was a dozen people deep the entire cocktail hour,” Lilly shared.

Throughout the Farm-to-Fork weekend, Lilly also hosted demonstrations on flower design trends and designed two trend tables that were fully dressed with linen, crystal, dishes, dozens of vases of American Grown Flowers and, of course, the Certified American Grown Debi Lilly bouquet.

Photo by Glenn Younger.

She also recognized the farms that had contributed flowers to the event, gave a shout out to the flower farmers in attendance and discussed the importance of origin when it comes to selecting fresh blooms.

“Where flowers come from is as important as where food comes from. The origin of our food has been a focus for years, and now it’s the big story for florals, too. A lot of consumers aren’t aware that many blooms are grown thousands of miles away in other countries, so helping share the American Grown Flower movement and the stories of the farm families is an incredible opportunity,” Lilly explains.

“The Tower Bridge Dinner continues to highlight the best of the best, and we couldn’t think of a more fitting addition to the evening than Debi Lilly to ensure the beautifully designed California Grown Flowers were also showstoppers,” said Visit Sacramento President & CEO Mike Testa. “We’re thrilled that she could join us this year to create such a memorable experience for our guests.”

“For the last four years, we’ve been taking our American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour around the country to highlight that the homegrown movement isn’t just about food,” shares Kasey Cronquist, CEO and ambassador for Certified American Grown. It’s also about the flowers at the center of the table being as important as the food on your plate when it comes to sustainability, freshness and beauty. It was wonderful to see Safeway and Debi Lilly take that important floral message to this iconic food event in Sacrament, the nation’s Farm to Fork Capital.”

Winners of First-Ever American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest Announced

National Contest Included 12 Divisions Representing Over 1200 Stores

Eighteen stores that wowed consumers with their displays and promotional efforts for Certified American Grown Flowers were selected as winners of the first-ever American Grown Flowers Month merchandising competition held throughout the month of July.

The winners represent first, second and third place honorees from among four large grocery retailers nationwide. Twelve mass market divisions representing over 1200 stores participated in the competition – an amazing number for a first-time event, and one that will propel the competition into the future.

First place winners were: Big Y store #103 in Norwell, Massachusetts; Dave’s Marketplace store #08 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island; Safeway NorCal store #3031 in Daly City, California; King Soopers store #112 in Bennett, Colorado; Fry’s Store #64 in Gilbert, Arizona; and Whole Foods Market store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

First Place Winner Safeway NorCal store #3031 in Daly City, California

Second place winners are: Big Y store #86 in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; Dave’s Marketplace store #04 in Warwick, Rhode Island; Safeway NorCal store #1648 in Lodi, California; King Sooper store #98 in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fry’s Store #675 in Buckeye, Arizona; and Whole Foods Market store in Cincinnati, Ohio.

First Place Winner Whole Foods Market store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Third place winners are: Big Y store #90 in Shelton, Connecticut; Dave’s Marketplace store #01 in Warwick, Rhode Island; Safeway NorCal store #691 in Berkeley, California; King Sooper store #102 in Longmont, Colorado; Fry’s store # 60 in Glendale, Arizona; and Whole Foods Market store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

First Place Winner Big Y store #103 in Norwell, Massachusetts

Participating retailers were judged on the quality and beauty of their in-store displays promoting American Grown Flowers Month, their ability to increase flower sales in July and their efforts to promote the celebratory month overall, as well as promoting the Certified American Grown brand.

First Place Winner Dave’s Marketplace store #08 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Participating retailers were judged on the quality and beauty of their in-store displays promoting American Grown Flowers Month, their ability to increase flower sales in July and their efforts to promote the celebratory month overall, as well as promoting the Certified American Grown brand.

First place winner at Fry’s store #64 in Gilbert, AZ.

The average sales increase for the top five stores from each company was more than 17.5 percent. Overall, participating stores reported an average increase in sales of 6.7 percent throughout the month of July.

First place winner at King Soopers Store 112 in Bennett, CO.

All we can say is “wow.”

The contest was launched after Congress declared July American Grown Flowers Month, which happens to be a high-production month for flowers but a traditionally slow time for retail flower sales. Until now.

Store campaigns were judged by Travis Rigby, publisher of Super Floral magazine and Florists’ Review; Keith White, AIFD, creative director for American Floral Trends Forecast and AANDK Productions; and Tom Bowling, AIFD, PFCI, education director for Syndicate Sales.

Participating stores that earned the highest marks had large attractive displays that were saturated with American Grown messaging. In fact, the more ways stores communicated the message visually and with verbal support from staff, the higher their sales.

And retailers got very creative in their efforts to attract attention to American Grown Flowers, using balloons, buttons worn by employees, the American Grown logo on signage and even red, white and blue pinwheel hats!

Look for information about next year’s contest starting in June 2019. With sales increases like we saw in the inaugural year of the contest, we’re expecting more retailers to get on board.

After all, consumers appreciate knowing the origin of their flowers, and as nearly 1,200 retailers found out this summer, make buying decisions based on that knowledge.

Rey Rodriguez Wins 50th Annual Sylvia Cup Competition

Certified American Grown is a Proud Sponsor

Rey Rodriguez, AAF, AIFD, TMFA, of The Gypsy Florist in Austin, Texas, was named the winner of the Society of American Florists’ 50th Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition held during SAF Palm Springs 2018.

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

Lee Burcher, AIFD, CCF, PFCI, of Fleur de Lys in San Pedro, California, received second runner-up honors and $250. Burcher won Sylvia Cup top honors in 2004.

Certified American Grown sponsored all of the cut flowers and greens for the live competition.

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.

Rey Rodriguez’s winning designs.

This year’s competition — the contest’s 50th anniversary — paid homage to “The Wizard of Oz.” The event was sponsored by Certified American Grown and Smither-Oasis and coordinated by Professional Floral Communicators-International.

Among the 19 floral designers competing were 12 members of the American Institute of Floral Designers, eight past Sylvia Cup contestants and three contestants sponsored by state floral associations.