Debra Prinzing

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Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American grown flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.
Debra is the producer of slowflowers.com, the online directory to American flower farms, and florists, shops and studios who source domestic and local flowers. She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet.
Each Wednesday, you can listen to Debra's "Slow Flowers Podcast," available for free downloads at her web site debraprinzing.com or on ITunes and other podcast services. Here's what others say about her:

“The local flower movement's champion . . ."

--Ken Druse, REAL DIRT Podcast

“. . . an impassioned advocate for a more sustainable flower industry."

--Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU-FM (NPR affiliate)

“The mother of the ‘Slow Flower’ movement, Prinzing is making a personal crusade to encourage people to think about floral purchases the same way they may approach what they eat: Buy locally grown flowers or grow them yourself.”

--Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

“Debra Prinzing . . . has done more to celebrate and explain ethical + eco-friendly flowers than I could ever hope to.”

--Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge

Episode 263: Sunny Meadows Flower Farm’s Gretel and Steve Adams share a preview of the ASCFG Conference

September 21st, 2016

Grand Rapids skyline in watercolor splatters with clipping path

2016 National Conference: Grand Rapids is the destination for four full days of Flower Farming topics, people and more!

ascfg-badge-for-slow-flowers You may have noticed that Slow Flowers and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, or ASCFG, have teamed up for the coming year to cross-promote and cross-sponsor each others’ programming and marketing.

Slow Flowers and ASCFG has partnered in smaller ways in the past, including my giving a presentation at the 2012 Conference in Tacoma and supporting fundraising efforts for the ASCFG Foundation.

ASCFG has featured Slow Flowers in its popular publication, the Cut Flower Quarterly, and I featured ASCFG in my book, The 50 Mile Bouquet and in past podcasts. Now, we’ve formalized this mutually beneficial relationship with a formal sponsorship agreement.

Slow Flowers is the new media sponsor for the 2016 ASCFG Conference, November 6-9 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and ASCFG has joined our awesome family of sponsors for Slowflowers.com, the Slow Flowers Podcast and American Flowers Week 2017.

Sunny_Meadows_Gretel_Steve3 To kick off this partnership, I’ve invited two past guests of this podcast to return and share a preview of the upcoming ASCFG conference. Gretel and Steve Adams are owners of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm, based in Columbus, Ohio.

I met Steve and Gretel in 2010 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the first time any of us had attended a national ASCFG Conference. They impressed me with how eager they were to learn from flower farmers who were more established than they were, and how naturally they seemed to soak up advice, lessons and knowledge from their peers.

Gretel and Steve Adams on their farm in Columbus, Ohio.

Gretel and Steve Adams on their farm in Columbus, Ohio.

A couple years later, I found myself lecturing and teaching in Cincinnati, Ohio. I called up Steve and Gretel and invited myself for a visit. I drove a few hours to Columbus and enjoyed a fabulous Sunday morning touring Sunny Meadows Flower Farm and getting to know this couple better.

When I invited Gretel and Steve to be guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast in January 2014, I called them “young flower farmers whose creativity and determination to earn a living from their land.”

Our relationship inspired me to pitch a story about Sunny Meadows Flower Farm to my editor James Baggett at Country Gardens — He said YES and we I met in Columbus two summers ago to work with the very gifted photographer Kritsada to produce a story about Gretel and Steve.

As we discuss in this episode, that article and Sunny Meadows Flower Farm’s story has been very popular. Meredith Publishing, owner of Country Gardens and Better Homes & Gardens, has run our piece two subsequent times, including the recent appearance of Gretel and Steve on the cover of the premiere issue of Living the Country Life’s rebrand for the Spring-Summer 2016 issue.

For this episode, I caught up with Steve and Gretel Adams via Skype, recorded over Labor Day Weekend when they were giving themselves a rare “day off.”

We previewed their three presentations scheduled for ASCFG conference, including Gretel’s participation on a panel called ‘Wedding Designs from the Farm’ with Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, and Jennie Love of Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, Philadelphia, past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Steve and Gretel will also be part of a panel called Scaling Up the Farm, with Heidi Joynt of Field and Florist outside Chicago, Illinois, and Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm in Sebastopol, California — also past guests of this Podcast.

Then, you’ll hear from the couple during their one-hour presentation, “Business, Business, Business,” which examines topics that flower farmers juggle besides growing great flowers. They will share how they keep their business going while dealing with crew, florists, grocery stores, suppliers, paperwork, weddings, and more, all while still liking each other at the end of the day.

Thanks for joining today’s conversation. I look forward to seeing many of you in early November at the ASCFG Conference in Grand Rapids. ASCFG recently announced that the Sunday, November 6th Growers School is sold-out, as is the Wednesday, November 9th Tour Day, due to space limitations. You can still attend for the full two days — Monday & Tuesday — of speaker sessions, the trade show, banquet and auction. Follow a link at debraprinzing.com to check out registration rates, hotel information and other details of the ASCFG Conference. UPDATE: As of Air Date, Wednesday, September 21st, there are only 10 registration spaces left for the speaker sessions on Monday & Tuesday! 

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 118,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

And finally, Welcome to our new sponsor, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 262: Luxury flowers on Colorado’s Western Slope with Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau of Zephyros Farm & Garden

September 14th, 2016

ZF_IMG_6051

Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau (left) with three of their friends and design team members on an August bouquet-production day

Two weeks ago, you heard me mention my August visit to Colorado, to attend and speak at the Field to Vase Dinner at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO, outside Boulder. Owners Chet and Kristy Anderson are past guests of this podcast and I’m a huge fan of their flowers and their leadership in the cultural shift to local, domestic and seasonal flowers.

Well, today you’re going to meet another amazing Colorado couple — the wife-husband team behind Zephyros Farm & Garden and its sister business, Studio Z Flowers. I have corresponded with Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau for a few years, and they have been early supporters and members of the Slowflowers.com directory and movement.

zephyros

Morning in Paonia, Colorado, at Zephyros Farm & Garden.

Morning in Paonia, Colorado, at Zephyros Farm & Garden.

I knew the 5-hour drive across Interstate 70 west from Denver would be a bit extreme, but it was so worth it to visit Paonia, Colorado. Don and Daphne welcomed me warmly and I fit right in as part family member-part floral crew for a wonderful day that ended with attending a live bluegrass concert on the lawn in the city park of downtown Paonia. Unforgettable! Before we left for the concert and picnic dinner to end the very long day of flower farming and bouquet-making, I sat with Daphne and Don to record our interview.

The flower wagon is filled after harvest.

The flower wagon is filled after harvest.

Zephyros is small, diversified family farm on 35 acres located on the Western Slope of Colorado in the North Fork Valley. The farm grows Certified Organic flowers and vegetables for farmers’ markets, restaurants, florists, wholesale and a unique Flower CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  In the spring, Zephyros provides a wide selection of Certified Organic vegetable and herb starts, as well as fun fruits and perennials just right for western Colorado. Not only food and flower growers, Daphne and Don are passionate floral designers who offer wedding and event flowers and have created an amazing place on their farm for couples to get married.  With their flower farm as a wedding backdrop and ceremony and personal florals created on site, weddings at Zephyros are entirely special events!

The design shed where all the bouquest are made and two huge walk-in coolers protect stems and blooms from Colorado's hot summer temps.

The design shed where all the bouquets are made and two huge walk-in coolers protect stems and blooms from Colorado’s hot summer temps.

Don tells the story of how he found their farm in this agricultural newspaper's classified ads.

Don tells the story of how he found their farm in the classified ads of High Country Shopper, an agricultural newspaper.

Here’s a bit more about Don and Daphne, from the Zephyros Farm web site:

Don is one of the fearless leaders of the farm.  Zephyros is a way of life for this man who loves to get lost in the field planting vegetables, planning for the next big project or keeping everyone laughing on harvest days.

He loves to telemark ski, hang out with his kids, coach soccer and donate many hours as a board member to the Organic Farming and Research Foundation, the local school and giving tours of the farm.  Don keeps the buildings kicking, the irrigation water flowing, and the farm pumping out the thousands of beautiful blooms and thousands of pounds of amazing certified organic produce.

Daphne has a deep connection with the plant world, although she has also been spotted many a time kicking the wheels of the ol’ tractor.  She has over twenty year experience in the plant industry working in large scale nurseries, small scale nurseries, permaculture design firms, small farms and of course running all aspects of Zephyros Farm and Garden.  Daphne is credited with putting the Garden in name Zephyros Farm and Garden!

She delights in her children and loves to work in the greenhouse, go skiing, design bouquets, plant and harvest veggies, and cook incredible food from the bounty here on the farm.  When she has time off she loves to plant more gardens full of the thousands of perennial plants she has learned to love, propagate, plant and sell.

Please enjoy our conversation — for me, just listening to it again transports me to a wonderful visit with inspiring flower folks and I can’t wait to return.

Follow Zephyros Farm & Garden on Facebook

Follow Studio Z Flowers on Facebook

See Zephyros Farm & Garden on Instagram

See Studio Z Flowers on Instagram

There is something so strategic about how Daphne and Don leverage their remote geographic location, which has them situated 2 hours away from the luxury destinations of Aspen and Telluride. It reminds me of how Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm have tailored their brand to serve Sun Valley and Jackson Hole. You may want to go back and listen to my interview with them, recorded last spring — Here is the link to that episode.

A vibrant palette of Colorado-grown flowers from Zephyros Farm & Garden

A vibrant palette of Colorado-grown flowers from Zephyros Farm & Garden

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 117,500 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, Welcome to our new sponsor, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 261: Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers, a one-woman flower show on the Oregon Coast

September 7th, 2016

Kathleen Barber of Erika's Fresh Flowers

Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers

Earlier this summer, I joined my husband on a beautiful drive that culminated at the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean; the Columbia is the natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon.

Here, there is a historic maritime town called Astoria, which was first visited by explorers and fur traders in 1811 and founded in 1876.

The reason I wanted to tag along with Bruce was because I’ve been meaning to visit Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen grows and designs flowers in a secret garden adjacent to her home in Warrenton, Oregon, the town just south of the metropolis of Astoria.

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly, owner of 3 Cups Coffee in Astoria

Kathleen (right) and her customer Carly Lackner, owner of 3 Cups Coffee House in Astoria.

erika_img_5614 We met up at 3 Cups Coffee House in downtown Astoria, where owner Carly Lackner displays Kathleen’s weekly arrangements. This is the seeming “heart” of the community where people come in for a designer cup of caffeine and a home-baked pastry and stay for meetings, conversation, reading and fascinating views of the Columbia River shipping traffic.

After we jumped in Kathleen’s car, I accompanied her on a bouquet delivery to the Astoria Co-op Grocery. Another important home-grown business, the Co-op is a source of local food from local farms, and local bouquets from Erika’s Fresh Flowers. After a delicious lunch at a farm-to-table restaurant specializing in vegetarian and vegan options, we drove back to Kathleen’s home and garden-farm.

Kathleen's delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

Kathleen’s delivery to Astoria Co-op Grocery.

I followed her through the rows, raised beds, high tunnels and borders inside a fenced area about 3/4-acre in size. You can hear me asking her about specific flowers and foliage that she grew and harvested for an arrangement she had in mind to promote American Flowers Week.

And she delivers to the local wine bar!

And she delivers to the local wine bar! Kathleen poses with Rebecca (right) owner of WineKraft in Astoria.

Here’s more about Kathleen, from the Erika’s Fresh Flowers web site:

img_1107-300x200

Kathleen and her daughter Erika

Erika’s Fresh Flowers is named after my daughter, Erika, who at 14 years old took over my mother’s flower stand, which was simply a way to make extra money from the joys of gardening. As Erika picked and picked, another stand was built on the other side of town.

A local florist put in a request to buy several bunches at a time directly from Erika. On one delivery to the flower shop, the florist made the check out to“Erika’s Flowers“ and therefore named the business. Erika started her first job working for that florist at 17 years old and continued through college. She has since graduated, married and lives further South in the Willamette Valley but her passion for flowers is still part of her life.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen Barber inside one of her Warrenton, Oregon, high tunnels (hoop houses) for dahlias.

Kathleen received a degree in Business Management and began a career as an Office/Operations Manager. After having her second child she decided to stay home with her children. In 2005, her passion for all things floral blossomed into a family business and Kathleen formally launched Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

A Kathleen Barber floral arrangement, which she photographed in her studio.

1001993_589854187739739_425674889_n She also writes: I enjoy the ability to play with flowers and be with my family. I love creating lush bouquets and arrangements with ingredients that I grow myself. The pleasure of giving others something I created just for them and seeing their response is fun and fulfilling.

We are a locally owned flower farm and design studio with a garden style inspired by the wild, unique botanicals around us.  We tend to a cutting garden with a vast selection of flowers, foliage and herbs grown with sustainability practices in mind so as to preserve our land here on the North Oregon Coast.

Yes, she's very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika's Fresh Flowers.

Yes, she’s very close to the beach! The Oregon coast is a backdrop for many destination weddings and designs by Erika’s Fresh Flowers.

Kathleen Barber's locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

Kathleen Barber’s locally-grown, designed and photographed arrangement

A word about the quite excellent growing conditions that Kathleen enjoys. True confessions, this description comes from Wikipedia, but since I am a former Oregon resident, this feels pretty darned accurate: Astoria lies within the Mediterranean climate zone with very mild temperatures year-round, some of the most consistent in the contiguous United States; winters are mild for this latitude (it usually remains above freezing at night) and wet. Summers are cool, although short heat waves can occur. Rainfall is most abundant in late fall and winter and is lightest in July and August, averaging approximately 67 inches of precipitation annually. Snowfall is relatively rare, occurring every few years or so.

Astoria is tied with Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas, as the most humid city in the contiguous United States. The average relative humidity in Astoria is 89% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. (a side note, with cooler temperatures in the air, this ‘humidity’ is altogether different from what you’d experience in Louisiana or Texas, perhaps this is why Kathleen has such beautiful skin!)

Temperatures reach 80 °F only four days per year and only rarely reach 90 °F. Normally there are only one or two nights per year when the temperature remains at or above 60 °F.

With 191 days annually producing measurable precipitation, irrigation isn’t Kathleen’s problem! She enjoys the benefits of being able to grow and harvest some type of crop — flowers and foliage — nearly year-round, keeping her local customers quite delighted with Slow Flowers, Coastal Style.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

Kathleen in her studio where she operates her portrait photography business.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

A lovely bouquet featuring flowers and foliage grown, designed and photographed by Kathleen Barber.

In our interview, Kathleen demonstrates how she weaves together art and commerce in both her flower farming and floral design work, making it look much easier than I know it is.

Here is how to find and follow Erika’s Fresh Flowers:

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Facebook

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Instagram

Erika’s Fresh Flowers on Pinterest

Kathleen Barber Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 116,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much. Last month marked our highest listenership to day — 5,561 people downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast during August. If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on the home page at right.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

Heartfeld thanks to Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, Welcome to our new sponsor, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 260: Blooming in Colorado with Robyn Rissman of BareRoot Flora and Alicia Schwede of Bella Fiori Floral Design and Flirty Fleurs

August 31st, 2016

Amazing setting, beautiful flower farm, farm tables laden with local flowers and the gorgeous Colorado sky -- at the August 13th Field to Vase Dinner, flowers designed by today's guests.

Amazing setting, beautiful flower farm, farm tables laden with local flowers and the gorgeous Colorado sky — at the August 13th Field to Vase Dinner, flowers designed by today’s guests.

Earlier this month I returned to Longmont, Colorado, just outside Boulder, to a beautiful destination called The Fresh Herb Co.

Flower farmers Chet and Kristy Anderson, past guest of this podcast, again hosted an al fresco Field to Vase Dinner for the Certified American Grown campaign.

It was lovely to return to The Fresh Herb Co., Longmont, Co. I grabbed a photo with Niesha Blancas (F2V Dinner Tour social media expert) to commemorate the evening

It was lovely to return to The Fresh Herb Co., Longmont, Co. I grabbed a photo with Niesha Blancas (F2V Dinner Tour social media expert) to commemorate the evening

Kasey Cronquist (R) is the administrator of Certified American Grown and producer of the F2V Dinner Tour

Kasey Cronquist (R) is the administrator of Certified American Grown and producer of the F2V Dinner Tour

Slow Flowers and yours truly continues to be involved in the Field to Vase Dinner series — as a sponsor and co-host.

I have loved spending time in Colorado over the past several years, getting to know flower farming leaders like Chet and Kristy, and meeting others in the floral world, including designers, florists and retailers who value local flowers.

I flew into Denver three days before the August 13th event at The Fresh Herb Co. and picked up a rental car for what turned out to be a 5-hour drive west — across the state to the Western Slope of Colorado.

My destination was Zephyros Flower Farm, where Slow Flowers members Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau hosted me for a few days.

You’ll hear my interview with them in September. Another upcoming Colorado episode will introduce you to Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, where I spent a few nights after returning to the Front Range/Denver area.

Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to the design team responsible for creating the floral presentation at Boulder’s Field to Vase Dinner. Typically featured Field to Vase Dinner florists are selected from those who are active Slowflowers.com members, and this is considered a valuable opportunity and perk. At the beginning of 2016 when Kathleen Williford, the dinner tour’s former event planner, and I put our heads together, we were in immediate agreement that Robyn Rissman of Bare Root Flora in Denver was our top choice.

Alicia Schwede (L) and Robyn Rissman (R) at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO

Alicia Schwede (L) and Robyn Rissman (R) at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO

Flirty-Fleurs-Screenshot-of-Magazine-Cover When I reached out to Robyn to chat about the opportunity, our conversation turned to the Flirty Fleurs Magazine, a collaboration between Robyn and her good friend Alicia Schwede, of the Flirty Fleurs blog.

The publication has been produced each of the past two years and I’ve contributed articles to both the 2014 and 2015 editions, so while Robyn and I didn’t really know one another, she was familiar with my work and I was certainly familiar with her work.

During our phone conversation I was hit with a brainstorm and said: What if we asked Alicia to work with you on the flowers for the Field to Vase Dinner? And that was the cincher for the deal! Alicia’s deep ties to Colorado, where she lived and worked as a florist for more than a decade, made their partnership a natural option.

A lovely F2V tablescape, designed by collaborators Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman. They used Colorado, Alaska and California-grown blooms and American-made vases from Syndicate Sales.

A lovely F2V tablescape, designed by collaborators Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman. They used Colorado, Alaska and California-grown blooms and American-made vases from Syndicate Sales.

Robyn and Alicia came up with a "Boutonniere Table" for dinner guests to DIY their own wearable flowers.

Robyn and Alicia came up with a “Boutonniere Table” for dinner guests to DIY their own wearable flowers.

READ MORE…

Slow Flowers Creative Workshop with Bonny Doon Garden Co.

August 26th, 2016

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) This past weekend provided a hugely rewarding experience for my friend Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and me. We teamed up to teach the first-ever Slow Flowers Creative Workshop at Castle House & Garden, her private, “secret garden” setting in Santa Cruz.

The idea behind our curriculum was twofold:

I wanted to share “Floral Storytelling” techniques and Teresa wanted to share her approach to “Garden-Inspired Design.”

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales' black cherry bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales’ black cherry pedestal bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

Floral Storytelling and Garden-Inspired Floral Design concepts are central to the idea of creating a personal brand for flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who support Slow Flowers, local sourcing and sustainable design practices — and who wish to differentiate themselves in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa's garden, a perfect source of inspiration.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa’s garden, a perfect source of inspiration. From left: Dyana Zweng, Terri Schuett, Teresa, Daniele Allion Strawn, Laura Vollset and Liz Marcellus. Missing: Michelle Bull, Kellee Matsushita and Dawn Mayer.

READ MORE…

Episode 259: Beth and Jason Syphers of Oregon’s Crowley House Farm, a flower-filled life and design business

August 24th, 2016

Crowley House Flower Farm on display at the McMinnville (Oregon) Farmers' Market

Crowley House Flower Farm on display at the McMinnville (Oregon) Farmers’ Market

Beth and Jason Syphers

Beth and Jason Syphers

I’m so excited to share my recent interview with Beth and Jason Syphers of Crowley House Flower Farm in Rickreall, Oregon.

About 10 miles west of Salem, Oregon, the state’s capital, there is a charming turn-of-the-20th-century farmhouse where the gardens flourish, the fields are lush and colorful, and the activity inside co-owner Beth Syphers’ design studio is thoroughly inspiring.

I met Beth last year at the first Pacific Northwest Cut Flower Growers meet-up held at Our Table Cooperative outside Portland, and felt an immediate connection to her warmth, kindness, and support for Slow Flowers.

Jason joined her at our Portland meet-up this past April and I could tell he’s one of those super-essential spouses that creatives need in their lives.

When I asked them if I could visit their farm during an recent summer trip we had planned, I wasn’t surprised to be told YES.

I set aside a full day to drive about one hour south of Portland to Rickreall, where a curving country lane called Crowley Road led me to the driveway of a beautiful homestead.

The beautiful Crowley House

The beautiful Crowley House

A charming porch scene (c) Beth Syphers

A charming porch scene (c) Beth Syphers

Beth and Jason greeted me and led me on a tour of their property, including a peek inside the converted garage-studio where Beth processes and designs flowers, and hosts her workshops. We walked through the fields and into the high tunnel to see what was in bloom, and eventually sat down at the kitchen table to record this interview. Jason’s voice can be heard at the top of the segment, but we soon lost him to a business phone call.

Wedding florals by Beth Syphers

Wedding florals by Beth Syphers

A lovely arrangement from the Crowley House Flower Farm

A lovely arrangement from the Crowley House Flower Farm

Beth shares this introduction on the Crowley House Web Site: What started out as just a flower design hobby ten years ago, has grown over time into the family farm of today. The need to produce high quality blooms for my designs, and an ever changing parade of color, texture and fragrance; plus the appeal of the slower, simpler lifestyle for my family – the need to feel the soil on my hands and feet, to see the sun rise and set on our fields, and the smell of the country morning dew – has headed me down the path of flower farming and the amazing adventure that has become Crowley House.

The simple pleasure, or smile, that graces the face of our customers as they hold and smell a bouquet of our fresh flowers is one of the high points of our day. Crowley House is pleased to offer many garden heirloom roses, sweet peas, flowering vines, delicate woodland blooms and gorgeous berries in dozens of varieties, all of which represent just some of the flower varietals that we grow and which makes up the framework and style of our farm and design work. Nearly all of the flowers used in our designs are Crowley House grown, but occasionally we will use materials grown by other USA regional growers.

Crowley House offers a wide range of services from a simple bucket of flowers for the DIY creative folks, to full event styling and coordinating floral service – for weddings, corporate events, parties, memorials and various Family Events.

Lovely floral crown designed by Beth Syphers

Lovely floral crown designed by Beth Syphers

Details of a Crowley House wedding

Details of a Crowley House wedding

Thanks so much for joining us today. Be sure to follow Crowley House Flower Farm at these social places:

Crowley House Flower Farm & Studio on Facebook

Crowley House Flower Farm & Studio on Instagram

Sign up for Crowley House’s e-newsletter here

A woodland bride, with flowers by Crowley House's Beth Syphers

A woodland bride, with flowers by Crowley House’s Beth Syphers

You can tell we had a lot of fun together. Meeting Beth and Jason was a memorable highlight of my summer trip to Oregon!

download I have some news about Lisa Waud’s new project, Detroit Flower Week, which is coming up October 11-15, 2016. Inspired by her amazing 2015 production, The Flower House, Lisa has dreamed up a fantastic week of lectures, workshops and other events featuring all local and American-grown flowers.

I invited her to give us the details and listen for info about how you can take advantage of a special Slow Flowers promo code for discounted day pass tickets — if you act before the end of August. Follow the ticket link here and use “Slowflowers” for a 15% off discount on day passes (must be purchased by end of day 8/31). Perhaps I’ll see you there! If you can’t make it, the Slow Flowers Podcast will bring you recordings of some of the voices gathered at Detroit Flower Week, so stay tuned.

Now, on to the story of Crowley House!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 113,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page to the right.

Recently, a flower farmer in the Slow Flowers Community who is deaf asked me if we would ever consider producing transcripts of our episodes so she could read these conversations. It was a poignant reminder of how casually those of us who are in the hearing world take our senses for granted. So I am going to try to produce transcripts, which cost an estimated $50-$75 per episode to transcribe, edit and prepare for download. Your contributions will help make this possible and eventually, we’ll go back and transcribe the archives if we’re able to raise enough funds!

2016 American Flowers Week Sponsors

2016 American Flowers Week Sponsors

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

And finally, thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.