Senate Declares July ‘American Grown Flowers Month’

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution on June 12 designating July as “American Grown Flower Month.”

The resolution notes that the U.S. Senate recognizes: that purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy; that growing flowers and greens in the United States is a vital part of the U.S. ag industry;  and urges “all people of the United States to proactively showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States in order to show support for our flower farmers, processors, and distributors as well as agriculture in the United States overall.”

American consumers spend almost $27 billion per year on floral products each year. While the majority of consumers would prefer to buy homegrown flowers, only 20 percent of the flowers sold here were grown in the United States.

Flower farmers met with Senator Diane Feinstein in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“California grows nearly 75 percent of American-grown cut flowers – including tulips, gerbera daisies, lilies, irises and gladiolas,” said Senator Feinstein. “Americans want to support local businesses and growers, but often are unaware the flowers they’re purchasing were grown outside of the United States. Our resolution will help raise awareness and encourage consumers to look for the ‘Certified American Grown’ label before buying flowers.”

Flower farmers met with Senator Dan Sullivan in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“Alaska’s moderate weather and cool soil conditions allows for a growing season that brings beautiful American grown flowers to market throughout the summer,” said Senator Sullivan. “In Alaska, our local peony growers – family owned farms across our state – provide some of the most beautiful and saturated blooms to weddings and events around the country; well after the traditional growing season has passed in other states. American Grown Flower Month is only one small acknowledgment of the value and support we share for these local small business owners, but an important one.”

Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist noted the importance of the national designation recognizing America’s hardworking flower-farming families. “We’re honored to have earned this important recognition and we join flower farmers nationwide in celebrating this wonderful recognition,” said Cronquist. “Naming July American Grown Flowers Month also opens the door for florists and wholesalers to continue to discuss the virtues of homegrown flowers – a point that’s resonating with consumers who want the flowers in their homes to be as fresh and sustainable as the food on their plates.”

To learn more about American Grown Flowers Month, visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org/AGFM

 

First Lady's Luncheon Showcases American Grown Flowers

Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

This was the 106th annual effort by the Congressional Club to host the First Lady’s Luncheon.

It was also the third opportunity for Certified American Grown to provide all of the flowers for this bipartisan tradition.

Each table was adorned with a beautiful centerpiece, carefully handcrafted by an all volunteer team of dedicated designers, helping to showcase the beauty of American Grown Flowers. Accent Decor provided all of the vases for this year’s luncheon.  Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

On May 15, every table centerpiece, the dais, the high tops, the flower wall, the runway and all 800 boutonnières were 100% American Grown. America’s flower famers proudly sent over 15,000 stems of flowers from farms across the country to Washington, D.C.

An all-volunteer team of floral designers worked together to help make all of the American Grown Flowers shine for this year’s First Lady’s Luncheon. The awesome T-shirts were donated by Nature Supply Co.. Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

An incredible team of 32 floral designers convened in Washington, D.C. and transformed the Washington Hilton Ballroom into an amazing display of the beauty that is represented in our homegrown flowers. Lead by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet, designers worked through Mother’s Day weekend to ensure everything was ready for the almost 2,000 people who would attend this time-honored event honoring the First Lady of the United States.

The Washington Hilton Ballroom is the second largest ballroom in Washington, D.C., capable of hosting over 2,000 people.  Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

Unfortunately, First Lady Melania Trump  was unable to attend. Admitted into Walter Reed Hospital on May 14 for a routine kidney procedure, the luncheon would go on without the First Lady for just the second time in the event’s history.

Certified American Grown representatives pose for a picture with Second Lady Karen Pence (center). Pictured from left to right, Jumana Misleh, Kasey Cronquist, Benno Dobbe, Second Lady Karen Pence, Pamela Arnosky, Kelly Shore and Klazina Dobbe. Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

Second Lady Karen Pence stood in for the First Lady and a delegation of American flower farmers had the opportunity to speak with her about the growing movement for American Grown Flowers. In conversations, flower farmers encouraged the administration to consider bringing American Grown Flowers back to the White House, featuring the homegrown origin of flowers like they do food and wine.

Certified American Grown hosted Congressman Tom O’Halleran during the luncheon. Congressman O’Halleran’s wife, Pat, was this year’s chair of the First Lady’s Luncheon. Going around the table from the left, Congressman O’Halleran, Kasey Cronquist, Michael Genovese, Betty Joslyn, Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Klazina Dobbe, Benno Dobbe, Claudine Perez, Kate Penn, Pamela Arnosky and Jumana Misleh.   Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

“It was an incredible feat,” shared Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “From the flowers sent by our farms, the transportation provided by Delaware Valley, the vases from Accent Decor, the amazing volunteer design team; everyone came together to contribute to something beautiful and it really reflects the ‘can do’ of what Americans can accomplish when we are working together.”

Wearing their American Grown boutonnières, guests were excited to take their picture in front of the beautiful flower wall. Photo by Marion Meakem Photography

A major highlight for guests attending this year was the floral wall and boutonnière bar. Guests stood in line for the opportunity to take a picture in front of the all-American Grown Flower wall. The boutonnières made the event even more festive, and nearly everyone in attendance wore one!

Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

“It was an honor to be involved with this year’s luncheon,” shared Kelly Shore, this year’s floral design team leader. “We had an outstanding group of volunteers and I could not be more proud of all that we accomplished on behalf of America’s flower farmers. They sent us some amazing flowers to work with.”

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane led this year’s design team effort, responsible for over 180 arrangements and a team of 32 volunteer designers. The awesome T-shirts were donated by Nature Supply Co.. Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography

Thank you to the following flower farms for contributing over 15,000 stems of flowers to this year’s luncheon:

The all-American Grown Boutonnières were a big hit at this year’s luncheon.

California

  • CallaCo
  • Dramm & Echter
  • Eufloria
  • Green Valley Floral
  • Holland America Flowers
  • Kendall Farms
  • Myriad Flowers
  • Ocean View Flowers
  • Protea USA
  • Resendiz Brothers
  • Sun Valley Floral Farm

Florida

  • Fern Trust

Minnesota

  • Len Busch Roses

    The design team worked together to prepare the ballroom.

Oregon

  • Oregon Flowers

Texas

  • Texas Specialty Cut Flowers

Virgina

  • Bloomia
  • Harmony Harvest

A big thank you to our partners Accent Decor, Delaware Valley Wholesale, Smithers-Oasis and Nature Supply Co.

Second Lady Karen Pence stood in and represented the First Lady during this year’s First Lady’s Luncheon. Kirstin Smith Photography

First-Ever Book Signing at our Soldiers Grove Dinner!

Get Your Signed Edition of Florists to the Field

Guests at the Sept. 8 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, will be part of a first-ever book signing on our dinner tour. They’ll be able to purchase a signed edition of the spectacular new book Florists to the Field from floral designers Greg Campbell and Erick New, also our designers for the dinner.

The book takes readers on a floral excursion from the Deep South to the West Coast, through the Midwest and across the ocean to Holland, sharing the flower fields where Campbell and New find inspiration.

Plus you’ll get a glimpse into what drives these designers’ avant-garde aesthetic and their knack for large-scale installations.

You can see that aesthetic in person when Campbell and New, also owners of Garden District in Memphis, Tennessee, bring their over-the-top design skills to this stop on the dinner tour.

At Garden District, Campbell and New have created a business based on floral abundance and artistry. The shop provides seasonal flowers, unique gifts and home accents, and their floral installations weave flowers and greenery into breathtaking textural structures.

Their showroom in the heart of Memphis is a soaring showcase of the latest in flowers, containers and antiques.

To meet Campbell and New, and purchase a signed copy of the book, save your seat at the Sept. 8 dinner and add the book purchase at checkout.

Chef for Dinner Tour Stop in Sacramento Named

Meet Executive Chef Dan Watterson

With the third stop on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour fast approaching, we’re excited to announce the chef for our June 13 stop in Sacramento!

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Meet Dan Watterson, executive chef for Statehouse at the Capitol.

Chef Dan Watterson is creating a delicious menu that will delight the guests of our Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner.

Watterson leads a top-notch culinary team at Statehouse, a brand that includes Statehouse Eatery, Statehouse Café, Statehouse Coffee and Statehouse Catering.

 

 

 

 

He has over 15 years of culinary experience and recently relocated from Washington, D.C., where he was the chef de cuisine for Stephen Starr’s famed French bistro Le Diplomate. Prior to joining Le Diplomate, he was an executive chef for Matchbox Food Group. His resume also includes positions at Hamptons Restaurant in South Carolina and The Ashby Inn in Virginia.

Watterson is planning a multi-course farm-to-table meal that will be paired with Geyser Peak’s amazing wines.

Join the table! You will delight in a delectable meal prepared by Chef Dan Watterson while surrounded by the beauty of American Grown Flowers. Photo by Taken by Sarah Photography

With the announcement of the chef and floral designer Liezet Arnold of Bloem Décor in place, tickets for the Sacramento dinner are going fast!

 

Senators Feinstein, Murkowski Champion the Reinstatement of USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report

In February, a delegation of American flower and foliage farmers traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the reinstatement of the USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein took time to meet with American flower farmers to hear their concerns about the Floriculture Report during the 2018 DC Fly-In. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

This morning, the Senate Ag Appropriations Sub-Committee’s mark-up was published and includes language requested by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski directing $500,000 to USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) budget to reinstate the Annual Floriculture Report.

A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Feinstein, representing the largest flower growing state in the United States, has been a longtime champion of American flower and foliage farming families. Sen. Murkowski has been a stalwart supporter of the growing number of peony farmers in Alaska. Working together in 2017, Senators Feinstein and Murkowski co-sponsored and passed a senate resolution declaring July American Grown Flowers Month. The reinstatement of this important report by NASS, specifically accounting for the domestic production of cut flowers and greens, was a top priority for both Senators this year.

“This is a great example of how the collective efforts of our farmers can really make a difference,” explained Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “This kind of continued investment in accounting for our domestic industry must remain a priority in Washington, D.C.”

Sen. Feinstein with flower farmers from California. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

The Annual Floriculture Report serves America’s flower farmers and the floral industry in numerous ways, highlighting the value and varieties of flowers our farmers grow. It also helps to count the number of farmers growing them.

Wearing an all-American Grown corsage, Sen. Murkowski meets with Alaskan flower farmers during the annual fly-in for Certified American Grown.

 

One of the largest contingencies to date attended the 2018 DC Fly-In to lobby for the issues concerning America’s flower and greens farmers, including the reinstatement of USDA’s Annual Floriculture Report. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography

Certified American Grown has been working closely with AmericanHort and a coalition of floral industry organizations, including the Society of American Florists, to raise the profile on this issue, both in the House and Senate.

The inclusion of the request for continued funding is good news for our farms and our industry as the Senate Ag Appropriations process continues to move forward. Certified American Grown will continue to monitor the Senate process and advocate for the reinstatement of the report in the House.

See more images from the our annual flower farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C. on our Flickr page:

Alaska’s peony farmers meet with Senator Dan Sullivan.

Farms meeting with Congressman Collin Petersen, ranking member of the House Ag Committee.

Add a Capitol Tour to Your F2V Experience

At each American Grown Field to Vase Dinner, we love to offer guests the chance to tour a flower farm and chat with a real farmer about the blooms and greenery grown on the farm, sustainability efforts and overall operation.

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When the dinner tour comes to the gardens of California’s Capitol on June 13, we’ll offer a similar – but oh so unique – experience!

A view of the Capitol from the surrounding gardens.
Photo courtesy of The Sacramento Bee.

Guests can sign up for a special tour of the Capitol grounds and building with George Soares, an ag expert and partner in Kahn, Soares and Conway. Soares is a tour guide extraordinaire and plans to show guests all sorts of special locations and artwork as he shares about the Capitol’s history and the ag issues won and lost there.

California’s State Capitol Park, featuring the World Peace Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of worldpeacerosegardens.com.

Join Soares to learn about some of the statues on the grounds, see the site where Queen Elizabeth arrived, where President Gerald Ford was nearly assassinated and where a semi-truck drove into the Capitol building a few years back.

Inside the Capitol, you’ll get a glimpse of a statue of President Ronald Reagan that now resides in the basement, the entrance to the governor’s office – complete with a giant bear Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found while on a ski trip – and portraits of the last seven California governors.

Guests will also see the beautiful Capitol Rotunda from inside.
Photo courtesy of CapitolWeekly.net.

Along the way, Soares will get you caught up on quite a bit of history, share insider stories and fill you in on ag decisions made in these hallowed halls.

And if the stars align, guests will also get a glimpse of the Assembly and Senate floors or galleries.

State legislators were greeted by bouquets of fresh California Grown Flowers in the Senate Chamber on the day they voted to declare June is CA Grown Flowers Month.

This tour is unprecedented in scope and uniqueness.  Sign up for the tour when you purchase your ticket to dine on the Capitol lawn.

ABC features American Grown Flowers for America’s Moms

Anchor David Muir Meets with Florists, Farmers Who Deliver Homegrown Blooms

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir featured the growing trend for American Grown Flowers for Mother’s Day.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching and millions buying flowers this week, ABC World News Tonight Anchor David Muir spoke with some florists who are making sure their flowers and greens are grown right here in America.

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Muir talked to designers who are dedicated to creating bouquets and arrangements with American Grown Flowers as well as featuring the farmers who grow the blooms.

David Muir of ABC’s World News Tonight speaks with floral designer Emily Thompson of The Guild regarding the growing trend for American Grown Flowers.

All pointed to what Muir called “a growing trend” – consumers seeking out homegrown blooms for the flowers they give as gifts or bring home.

The feature includes Certified American Grown’s own Green Valley Floral in Salinas, California, along with designers committed to promoting American Grown Flowers.

The ABC report highlights how Emily Thompson sources from all across the country to supply homegrown blooms to her customers.

We couldn’t be more excited that the American Grown Flowers movement is not only spreading, it’s capturing the attention of World News!

Crown Mom the Queen This Mother’s Day!

Still looking for that perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Relax, we’ve got you covered!

Celebrate the mothers in your life with an evening filled with flowers. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Pick up a few tickets to one of our American Grown Field to Vase Dinners.

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And because we know all moms deserve a little extra,

we’ll craft a hand-tied floral crown for her…

 

 

 

 

 

 

and include a special pair of Corona Flex Dial clippers for the both of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Mom will delight in a multi-course artisanal meal served among the beauty of American Grown Flowers.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

She’ll dine at a table overflowing with American Grown Flowers designed by our featured designers.

 

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

And she’ll sip local wine and floral-themed cocktails.

 

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

All while chatting with a host of California flower farmers and like-minded floral fans.

 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

She will even go home with an arm full of gifts!

 

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

See. It’s the perfect solution to Mother’s Day gifting!

 

Reserve your tickets by Saturday to be included in this special offer by using promo code MOMSDAY.

 

 

 

Second Dinner Tour Stop Gets Rave Reviews

Guests Watched the Sun Set Over the Pacific as They Dined in a Sea of Ranunculus

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography

The glory of The Flower Fields never tires.

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For the fourth year in a row, The Flower Fields of Carlsbad provided the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner tour with that quintessential experience that one might imagine when dreaming of dinner on a flower farm.

Surrounded by beautiful ranunculus.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Hundreds of millions of ranunculus carpet the hillside, tended to by Mellano & Company, where the tradition and history of flower farming in Southern California is made manifest and approximately 300,000 people are invited onto the farm each year to experience the incredible majesty.

Special event planner and floral designer Debi Lilly of Perfect Events was the featured floral designer for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. Photography by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

However, just 160 people had the opportunity to spend an evening dining between the rows of these beautiful ranunculus to celebrate American Grown Flowers.

Guest Kimberly K. shared, “It is a visually stunning experience that leaves you in awe, breathtaking beauty that surrounds you for as far as the eye can see. It is very humbling to be among so much beauty. It sure does put a big smile on your face…for days!”

Designer Debi Lilly set the table with gorgeous blooms in gorgeous vases from sponsor Syndicate Sales. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography

 

 

Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event was this year’s featured designer, starting out the day hosting two floral design workshops on the flower farm in the Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn.

 

Lilly walked attendees through current floral design trends and techniques, and highlighted the value and virtues of the growing movement for homegrown blooms, all while designing with Certified American Grown Flowers.

 

 

Debi Lilly (center) lead two floral design workshops prior to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

“The beauty in these fields – it’s completely overwhelming,” shared Lilly. “You expect the yellow brick road and emerald city skyline to magically pop out – it’s pure movie set magic.”

 

 

Flower farmer Mike Mellano of Mellano & Co. provided guests with a warm welcome, thanking everyone for coming to the farm for dinner. Mellano acknowledged his team of growers, highlighting all that it takes to keep a flower farm blooming in California.

Flower farmer Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company, provided guests with a farm tour prior to the dinner. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

“Anymore, I don’t get to get my boots in the mud as much as I’d like,” shared Mike. “But at Mellano & Company, we have a great team of experienced people that help make this all happen.”

Guests enjoyed a very special menu, provided by Chef Teegan Smith of Crown Point Catering.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

“The Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields has become a tradition unto itself,” shared Certified American Grown Flowers Administrator Kasey Cronquist. “Each flower farm we visit is uniquely beautiful, but watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean while dining in a sea of ranunculus is really something special.”

Guests went home with their arms full after a wonderful evening at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

…and beautiful ranunculus from Mellano & Company. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Three dinners remain on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour.  Dinner on the lawn of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California on June 13, Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, on Sept. 8  and Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 5. Visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org/FieldToVase to learn more about the dinner tour.

A night to remember. Guests cheers to making memories in The Flower Fields of Carlsbad during the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on April 26.  The wine was provided by Geyser Peak Winery. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

[Video] Watch This! Fallbrook Was Magical

Inspiring Video Features Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea

We worked with Orange County wedding videographer Brian Kadar of Love Is Cinema to help capture the beauty and splendor our guests recently experienced at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California.

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Check out this quick-two minute feature of this mountaintop experience!

It will take your breath away!

When you recover, share your comments, below, and then share the video widely with your friends. They’ll thank you for it!