Renowned Floral Designer Debi Lilly Will Wow At Lompoc Dinner

You Can Design Alongside a Floral Luminary

Celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will bring her amazing design skills to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, California, on September 7. 

Celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will be our featured designer for the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner. Photo courtesy of A Perfect Event.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve seen Lilly on TV, in magazines, in stores nationwide, and you’ve likely even seen photos of her floral and event creations for designer brands.

Photo courtesy of A Perfect Event.

Known as Oprah’s “favorite pro,” Lilly was part of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 10 years and has made it her mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of party planning expertise, stylist tips and DIY designs with fans worldwide.

With her impressive client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Lamborghini, Lilly is a highly sought-after designer. Oh, and she’s also the creator of a unique American Grown bouquet available at Safeway stores, along with her Debi Lilly branded floral containers! 

 

Lilly has twice been a featured designer for stops on the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. Each time, she delighted guests with her creations and the easy-to-follow design tips she provides during her F2V-related workshops.

Lilly brought her design expertise to the Carlsbad Field to Vase Dinner in 2018. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

That’s right, you can design alongside Lilly at a floral workshop, also on Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. Just add the $40 workshop when you save your seat for the dinner. 

Join Debi Lilly at her Sept. 7 workshop where she will share her tips for fall and holiday floral design and party planning. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

During the workshop, Lilly will cover fall design trends, creative vessels for unique arrangements and perfect floral designs for the holidays.  

Debi Lilly loves to inspire and connect with her workshop guests and they in turn, love the personal interaction with her. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

Don’t miss you chance to see Lilly’s breathtaking tablescapes at the dinner and design alongside her at the workshop. After all, she’s floral royalty! 

 

 

Culinary Artist Will Wow at Alaskan Dinner Tour Stop

When you visit Alaska Coastal Catering’s website, the photos are both mouthwatering and breathtaking, making it easy to see why the chefs there refer to themselves as “culinary artists.”

Now for the big news: Guests at the Aug. 3 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Joslyn Peonies in Homer, Alaska, will get to experience multiple courses of Alaska Coastal Catering’s artistic creations. 

And the menu will feature the best Alaska has to offer. Think salmon, stripe shrimp, homegrown carrots, local oysters and sauces from Alaska blueberries. And the bounty of seafood to be served is being sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), ensuring incredible quality and freshness. 

Chef Susie Von Willer Linford has an impressive Alaska-inspired menu prepared for guests of the Homer Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo Courtesy of Alaska Coastal Catering, LLC.

Alaska Coastal Catering’s Corporate Chef and Managing Member Susie Von Willer Linford’s wealth of experience includes catering for the executive chefs of Disney Corporation, Warner Brothers, Prudential Commercial and Safeco in Southern California. Since coming to Alaska in 1993, she’s continued her culinary adventure by creating memorable events featuring the best seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables Alaska has to offer! 

Photo Courtesy of Alaska Coastal Catering, LLC.

It’s that approach that has earned her Best of Alaska recognition from Alaska Business Monthly Magazine from 2016-2018. And Linford was also a 2018 nominee for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef” in the Northwest. 

And per Field to Vase Dinner tradition, Linford’s multi-course artisan meal will be paired with local wines and craft beers, and a floral-themed cocktail.

You can enjoy this delightful Alaskan meal while surrounded by gorgeous peonies and flower-loving friends when you reserve your seat at the table today. Photo by Joshua Veldstra Photography

Guests will also enjoy an oyster bar, and will leave with armfuls of flowers and a swag bag packed with floral-themed treats.

With food and goodies like this, seats are going fast. Save your seat today and taste all Alaska has to offer! 

 

It’s American Grown Flowers Month!

We’re Celebrating All Month Long and So Can You!

For the third year in a row, Congress has designated July American Grown Flowers Month, recognizing the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers. It’s an amazing form of recognition right at the height of flower season! 

And there are so many ways you can participate in the celebration and help spread the word that origin matters! 

First place winner at King Soopers Store 112 in Bennett, CO. during our 2018 American Grown Flowers Month contest.

First, you can look for the amazing American Grown Flowers displays from retailers participating in the second annual American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest. You’ll find special presentations and supporting collateral in many Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres, Big Y, Whole Foods, Reasor’s, Grocery Outlet and Ovallarta Supermarket stores. 

Look for the Certified American Grown label when you reach for a bouquet at your local store, this month and every month.

Grab some American Grown Flowers and Greens when you see them and encourage your family and friends to do the same. With 7 stores participating, it’s easy! 

Florists, you can also look to DVFlora for its celebration of American Grown Flowers Month that includes downloadable marketing materials and eight weeks of specials on flowers and greens from Certified American Grown farms throughout July and August.

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore is one designer that is committed to using American Grown Flowers and supporting the farms that grow them.  Photo provided by Petals by the Shore.

And florists who are committed to spreading the #originmatters message and designing with homegrown flowers can use DVFlora’s dedicated online directory to quickly and conveniently purchase Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens. 

Finally, you can have a conversation about homegrown flowers with all of your connections. That might be in person, in an email or by sharing about American Grown Flowers Month on social media. 

Now’s the time to spread the word about the bounty and beauty of American Grown Flowers and Greens that are at their peak in July! 

 

[Press Release] Alaska Peony Farmer Rita Jo Shoultz Appointed First Chair of Certified American Grown Council

Flower Farmer Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony has been appointed the first-ever volunteer chair of the Certified American Grown Council.

Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony has been a staunch advocate for American flower farms, taking the lead on vital issues in Washington, D.C., during the annual fly-ins. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

Shoultz was previously the District 1 (Alaska) representative on the council.

The Certified American Grown brand is led by a council of American flower farmers and industry advisers. The members of the council are flower and greens farmers from throughout the United States who are committed to a unified promotional and advocacy effort that establishes an identifiable and iconic brand that communicates to the public the domestic origins as well as the high quality, freshness and consistency of American Grown Flowers.

Shoultz was a 2014 nominee for Champions of Change for the Future of Agriculture and was named a winner of the 2018 Small Business Championship by SCORE, a network of volunteer expert business mentors.

Photo Courtesy of The Homer News

She also worked to have Homer, Alaska, declared the “City of Peonies,” and started Main Street Homer, a task force working to revitalize downtown Homer through economic and cultural development, historic preservation and advancement of the arts.

In another change to the Certified American Grown Council, Diana Roy, business manager for Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, has been appointed to represent District 2 (California). Roy was selected to replace Bruce Brady who recently left the floral industry to pursue other efforts.

Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea speaking to Congressman Jimmy Panetta (right) during a reception in Washington, D.C., has been a consistent voice for American flower farms. Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

Roy has combined her passion for flowers with her background in public relations to help make Resendiz Brothers one of California’s largest suppliers of South African and Australian flowers – not to mention an international leader in protea farming. She has worked tirelessly to increase consumer awareness and influence floral trends to drive sales of protea flowers and foliage.

Photo courtesy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Flowers

Roy is a past chair of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and a frequent educator on protea growing worldwide.

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About Certified American Grown Flowers

Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown Flowers represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply- chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Flowers logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about Certified American Grown Flowers, visit www.americangrownflowers.com.

Get Your Hands On Some Amazing Alaskan Peonies!

Join a Design Workshop at Joslyn Peonies in Homer, Alaska

If you’re still pondering attending the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Homer, Alaska, on Aug. 3, we’re making your decision even easier! 

Now, before you dine among peonies, you can design with them! 

Make your American Grown Field to Vase Dinner experience complete by participating in our exclusive floral workshop with renowned designer Christi Lopez, AIFD EMC, on Aug. 2 from 10 a.m. to noon on the farm at Joslyn Peonies. 

Imagine learning to design a beautiful arrangement for your home from Christi Lopez, this year’s co-lead of the First Lady’s Luncheon Design Team. Photo by Kirstin Smith Photography.

You’ll work with gorgeous blooms and learn all the techniques you need to create a stunning centerpiece for your home that will engage your guests and be a conversation-starter. You’ll be able to use what you learn again and again, and you’ll be working in person with one of America’s most talented floral designers! 

Photo by Joshua Veldstra Photography.

All materials, including an awesome pair of Corona clippers, are included in the $75 fee. Sign up when you save your seat at dinner! Just add the workshop at checkout. 

You’ve just got to join us in Alaska! 


 

Join Us in Supporting America’s Flower Farmers

Hardworking American flower farmers who grow some of the highest quality and most beautiful flowers and foliage need your support.  Pssst … helping takes just a few seconds!

 

The American Grown Act, a new act introduced in Congress, would require that all flowers and greens purchased by the federal government for events, memorials, displays at national cemeteries and day-to-day flowers at the White House come from American flower farms.

Makes sense, right?

That’s why we’re asking all floral designers, wholesalers and retailers (and taxpayers!) to add their names to our growing list of supporters of H.R. 3019 American Grown Act.

Alaska peony farmer and Certified American Grown Council member Rita Jo Shoultz with Congressman Don Young in Washington, D.C., last February.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

The act, introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young, also a member of the Congressional Cut Flowers Caucus, enforces something we think the entire floral community can get behind – requiring the federal government buy American Grown Flowers for use in its facilities.

Bottom line: It’s the right thing to do.

If you agree, we’d appreciate you adding your name to our growing list of supporters.

Just sign on and start spreading the word to your colleagues and friends!

America’s flower and foliage farmers matter. Origin matters. Your voice matters.

Help us ensure that the flowers at the center of our government’s events are as American as the dollars that fund them. Photo by Susie & Becky Photography.

Oyster Bar Is Part of Alaskan F2V Experience!

We’re always looking for ways to make the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour even more special. And when it comes to the Aug. 3 dinner tour stop at Joslyn Peonies in Homer, Alaska, that means an oyster bar! 

Photo by Joshua Veldstra Photography.

Guests at this tour stop will have the extra-special add-on of a full oyster bar hosted by Jakolof Bay Oysters as part of the pre-dinner reception. 

Jakolof Bay Oysters are renowned for their prime condition – plump, clean and firm – a benefit of slow, pristine, cold-water growth. 

Photo courtesy of Jakolof Bay Oysters.

And because the flavor of oysters changes with the seasons, the weather, their age, their reproductive cycles and even their very placement within a small bay, a single Jakolof oyster can provide a kaleidoscope of flavors.

There’s the salty taste of the liquor when it first hits the tongue, gliding into a sweet burst as the silky fatty lipids are released, then a smooth sea tang lingers And if you add lemon, shallot mignonette or Tabasco, that extra kick will give you a thirst for a sip of Muscadet or a local beer. A bite of buttered French bread will clear the palate for another round.

In addition to the oyster bar, guests can also create wearable floral flair at the dinner’s popular bout bar before sitting down for a multi-course artisan meal at a community table overflowing with amazing Alaskan peonies! 

A stunning table will be set with the beauty of Alaskan grown peonies and a break-taking view of the Kachemak Bay. Photo by Joshua Veldstra.

Oh, and it all takes place smack dab in the middle of fields of peonies in full bloom.

Opportunities like this don’t last long, and just a few seats for this dinner tour stop remain!

Save your seat and then start planning your Alaskan adventure that might also include sightseeing, tours of more Certified American Grown peony farms and fishing excursions.

 

 

Bohemian Garden Party Comes to the Lawn of CA State Capitol

Celebration Includes Annual Floral Design Contest For Legislators

Guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on the lawn of the State Capitol in Sacramento enjoyed what floral designer Cindy Magan of Hillside Blooms Floristry called a bohemian garden party.

A beautiful table was set for guests who arrived at the 2nd annual Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner on the State Capitol lawn.  Photo by Ashley Noelle Edwards.

And what a garden party it was!

Guests throughly enjoyed the wonderful photo opportunity provided by sponsor Nor Cal Safeway and their classic, red truck filled with CA Grown Flowers.  Photo by Francisco Chavira.

Guests arrived to a vintage truck from Safeway that was overflowing with every variety of California Grown Flowers imaginable.

From left to right: Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Devin Mathis, Assemblymember Monique Limón (champion for the second year in a row) and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva participated in a lively and competitive design challenge.  Photo by Francisco Chavira

And as part of the VIP reception in advance of the dinner, California legislators Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Devin Mathis, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and Assemblymember Monique Limón competed in a floral design contest where they took their best shot at creating a breathtaking bouquet.

The contest, sponsored annually by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), brings attention to California Grown Flowers Month being celebrated throughout June. Combining the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner with this annual tradition by CCFC helps guests, including California’s lawmakers, understand just how valuable the American Grown Flower movement has become.

Assemblymember Monique Limón, winner of the design competition, poses with California flower farmers Mike A. Mellano, Felicia Alvarez, Lane DeVries, Farai Madziva and featured designer Cindy Magan.  Photo by Francisco Chavira

For the second year in a row, Assemblymember Monique Limón was the contest champion, earning a gorgeous crystal vase and a year of deliveries of California Grown Flowers for her office.

Photo by Franciso Chavira

After watching the contest and enjoying wine from Silt Wine Company, a floral-themed cocktail from J.J. Pfister Distilling, passed appetizers and a cheese station hosted by the California Milk Advisory Board, guests moved to a community table adorned with floral designs created from blooms donated by flower farmers up and down the Golden State.

Featured designer Cindy Magan created a fresh and lovely tablescape that was both earthy and elegant using all CA Grown Flowers and Greens.  Photo Ashley Noelle Edwards.

Dozens of centerpieces paired with clustered vases of specialty blooms reflected Magan’s “fresh romantic” design aesthetic. And the bohemian vibe was reflected in the flower selection and ombre design that incorporated dozens of flower and greens varieties.  

The menu was divinely inspired by many of California’s favorite local ingredients and prepared by Sacramento’s own chefs Aziz Bellarbi-Salah and Christophe Cornet. Photo by Franciso Chavira

Guests dined on a multicourse meal created by Sacramento chef Aziz Bellarbi-Salah and Chef Christophe Cornet of Brasserie Capitale and Café à Coté. Served were a mixed green salad with watermelon, radish, ricotta, blueberries and chopped herbs; roasted salmon with tomato basil relish, eggplant with tomato-basil coulis; seared bavette steak with red wine reduction and potatoes gratin; and cantaloupe with a fig and port reduction.

Many ingredients for the farm-fresh menu were provided the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Blueberry Commission, the California Olive Committee, the California Fig Advisory Board and the California Milk Advisory Board.

 

 

 

Guests left with armfuls of California Grown Flowers and a swag back chock-full of floral themed goodies.

Photo by Ashley Noelle Edwards

If this dinner sounds like something out of your floral dreams, there’s still time to make a reservation for the remaining 2019 American Grown Field to Vase Dinners with upcoming stops in Homer, Alaska; Lompoc, California; and New Albany, Ohio.

Don’t miss the summer’s most exclusive dinner parties!

[Press Release] Kasey Cronquist Stepping Down as Administrator of Certified American Grown

Kasey Cronquist is stepping down as administrator of Certified American Grown. His last day will be July 12.

Kasey Cronquist, Administrator of Certified American Grown, led the program to become the largest consumer-facing brand promoting origin in the industry. Photo by Ashley Noelle Edwards.

The Certified American Grown Council will be working closely with the board of the California Cut Flower Commission to help with the transition of the program’s leadership. It’s expected that an interim leader will be appointed to handle day-to-day operations as it begins a search for a new executive.

“Thanks to Kasey’s dedication, vision and enthusiasm, Certified American Grown is now the largest consumer-facing brand promoting the origin of flowers in the floral industry. America’s flower-farming families will miss Kasey and want him to know how grateful we all are for the many accomplishments our program has achieved as a result of his leadership which he so selflessly gave to us. We wish him and his family the very best,” said Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peonies and a member of the Certified American Grown Council.

“It has been an honor to have been a part of establishing the Certified American Grown campaign for America’s flower and greens farmers,” Cronquist said. “Now representing over half of all domestic cut flower and greens production, the program is positioned for tremendous growth and opportunity to encourage consumer preference and win back market share for our domestic flower farmers.”

Cronquist has been named president of the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). In his new role, starting July 29, he’ll serve all blueberry industry members by providing oversight and insight on the USHBC’s robust national promotion, health research and education programs.

 

About Certified American Grown Flowers

Launched on July 1, 2014, Certified American Grown Flowers represents a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms, including small and large entities in multiple states across the country. Certified American grown flower farms participate in an independent, third-party supply-chain audit to verify both origin and assembly of the flowers they grow. When it appears on bouquets, bunches and other packaging or store signage, the Certified American Grown Flowers logo gives consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assures them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm. For more information about Certified American Grown Flowers, visit www.americangrownflowers.com.

 

Guests Dine Under Tulip Chandeliers at Bloomia USA

Floral Designer Kelly Shore Returns to The F2V Tour With An Outstanding Floral Installation

Every American Grown Field to Vase Dinner is special, but the second stop of the 2019 tour at Bloomia USA in King George, Virginia, may have set a new standard for the floral chandelier!  

All photos by Manda Weaver Photography. Vases by Syndicate Sales.

Guests dined under a canopy of 36 color-blocked tulip chandeliers at tables featuring vases overflowing with tulips that mirrored the bloom colors overhead – we’re talking thousands of tulips!

Floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore was responsible for the incredible tablescape design and tulip chandelier installation at Bloomia.

The imaginative concept was created by floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, this tour stop’s featured designer.

“Kelly Shore out did herself,” shared Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist and emcee of the national Field to Vase Dinner Tour. “Her design vision and passion for our American flower farming families was front, center and overhead at Bloomia. She’s a true champion for the cause.”

The teams from Evoke Events DC and Occasions Catering came together to help create a magical event at Bloomia.

And that was just one aspect of the flora-bundance. Guests arrived to archways and floral photo backdrops bursting with tulips. And the on-site boutonniere bar featured an assortment of Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens for guests to use to create wearable floral swag thanks to even more flowers sent from Certified flower farmers from around the country in support of the national dinner tour. Certified farms Fern Trust from Florida, Mellano & Company and Dramm & Echter from California and LynnVale Studios and Harmony Harvest from Virginia all sent their flowers to Bloomia for guests to experience and enjoy.

Jeannette Tavares of Evoke Events helped to elevate the guest experience through her outstanding event planning and design ideas.

One guest described their experience at Bloomia saying, “Saturday event was incredibly educational, empowering and inspiring. Not only did I enjoy the tour, good food, cocktail I also met like minded individuals and florist that I now call friends.”

Flower farmer Werner Jansen, general manager of Bloomia, provided guests with a tour of the sprawling tulip farm.

The meal by Occasions Caterers was as stunning and color coordinated as the flowers. Guests dined on appetizers that included roasted baby carrots, golden beets rolled around carrot matchsticks and goat cheese mousse, and lemon chicken wonton cones. The salad course featured cauliflower salad with opal basal vinaigrette and a roasted beet salad. The main course was a char-grilled beef loin served with toasted barley prepared risotto style. For dessert, guests enjoyed strawberry couronne with milk snow and basil cream.  

 

Guests from all over the United States enjoyed a wonderful meal by Occasions Catering at Bloomia in King George, VA.

All of this was paired with wine and a floral-themed cocktails. In fact, VIP guests were treated to a “cooler experience,” as they were invited to enjoy a “frozen cocktail” in one of the large coolers at Bloomia. Don’t worry though, each guest was given a beautiful Bloomia blanket to wear as they celebrated in the cold storage with the tulips.

The team at Cocktail Curations shared a special floral themed cocktail for VIP guests in the cold storage at Bloomia.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Bloomia blankets were given to guests while enjoying a “frozen cocktail” in the cold storage at Bloomia.

Another guest mentioned their appreciation for the very popular DIY boutonnière bar, sharing, “Loved the ‘make your own boutonniere’ station and the special cocktail.”

Guests were encouraged to harvest their own tulips as they left Bloomia.

As the night wound down, guests were encouraged to harvest their own tulips as they left the farm, picking tulips, complete with the bulb, as they walked through the Bloomia greenhouses on their way out.

The California Wine Institute sponsored the event’s wine for the evening.

If all of this talk about food and flowers has you thinking you’ve got to get to one of these dinners, you’re right!

Our next stop is June 12 in Sacramento, California, on the lawn of the State Capitol.

And we have three more stops this season. Now’s the time to find a dinner near you and save your seat!

 

Check out this video from last year’s dinner in Sacramento: