Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles-based Outdoor Living Expert. As a writer and lecturer, she specializes in interiors, architecture and landscapes. Debra is author of seven books, including Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn's Press, 2013); The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, 2012) and Stylish Sheds And Elegant Hideaways (Random House/Clarkson Potter, 2008). Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Country Gardens, Garden Design, Metropolitan Home, Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens and many other fine publications. 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

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: A Day in the Life of Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers (Episode 152)

July 30th, 2014

Vivan Larson, of Everyday Flowers

Vivan Larson, of Everyday Flowers    

 

Vivan often takes times to educate her customers and visitors to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Vivan often takes times to educate her customers and visitors to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

As we launch this podcast’s second year, I’m honored to continue bringing great conversations to you each week.

Some of the most rewarding side benefits of interviewing flower farmers, floral designers and other influential voices in the field-to-vase floral industry are the “field trips” that bring me close-up and in-person to see the sources of our American flowers – the farms, the studios, and the retail spaces where such amazing beauty connects us with nature and the seasons. 

This happened again last week when I invited myself to Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Washington, for a visit.

Owned by veteran grower Vivian Larson, this established cut flower farm is a sight to behold. Viv is a precision grower, who cares deeply about her flowers – from the first seedlings emerging from trays of and trays of soil to the voluptuous bunches of blooms that are picked with great attention to detail, processed, bunched and delivered to her design customers.  

What a lovely way to wake up and view the flower fields from the guest bedroom at Viv's house.

What a lovely way to wake up and view the flower fields from the guest bedroom at Viv’s house.

Located about an hour north of Seattle, Everyday Flowers is situated on a gorgeous piece of land with a more than 180-degree view to the Puget Sound’s many islands – Camano, Whidbey, the San Juans – all the way up to Canada – and north toward Mount Vernon. Vivian and her husband Jim, a commercial fisherman, raised two children here and are now helping raise three grand-children. It is a bucolic place with a beloved horse who adds agricultural character to the scene, as well as rows and rows of field-grown annuals and perennials located next to several large and very tidy hoop-houses containing even more flowers. 

Here are the apricot-hued snapdragons we discussed - one of Viv's specialty crops.

Here are the apricot-hued snapdragons we discussed – one of Viv’s specialty crops.

Vivian is a founding member and board vice president of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and I’ve known her for several years through that relationship. Some would say she is the glue that holds that place together, a true diplomat when it comes to synthesizing points of view and navigating the true meaning of a cooperative – one that benefits all members for the greater good. 

Poppies and other field-grown varieties thrive in neat rows at Everyday Flowers.

Poppies and other field-grown varieties thrive in neat rows at Everyday Flowers. That’s “Sassy” grazing in the background.

Vivian is the daughter of farmers who taught her those intangible skills of building good soil and caring for the land. “I always had a patch of earth where I grew flowers as a child,” she recalls. When Vivian’s own children were small, in 1990, she asked her husband to prepare a large area of ground. She began growing flowers and selling her bouquets at a nearby farm stand. “People would wait there to get my flowers or I’d have standing orders,” Vivian recalls. “Good flowers sell themselves – I’ve never had to advertise.” 

A current obsession: specialty echinaceae varieties.

A current obsession: specialty echinaceae varieties.

Experience has taught Vivian to know which varieties are successful as cut ingredients, which colors are reliable over time and which flowers produce the longest stems. “I’ve always known there were certain types of flowers that lasted better than others, especially if cut at the right time, and treated properly post-harvest,” she explains. “The fact is, I have a choice of what to grow and I choose to grow plants that are going to be happy at my farm and hold well in the vase.” 

This shot is a little silly, but viv humored me when  I asked her to reach for the top of the sweet pea trellises!

This shot is a little silly, but Viv humored me when I asked her to reach for the top of the sweet pea trellises!

For example, Vivian grows larger quantities of white, pink and yellow lilies because they are more popular with buyers. Similarly, the Karma dahlias have been bred for 18-20 inch-long stems and longer vase life, so she focuses on those. 

Vivian working with and teaching one of her seasonal workers, Kelly Uhlig. Kelly's mom Pam Uhlig was a horticulture intern at Everyday Flowers this past spring.

Vivian working with and teaching one of her seasonal workers, Kelly Uhlig. Kelly’s mom Pam Uhlig was a horticulture intern at Everyday Flowers this past spring.

Vivian has a good idea of what wedding designers and their clients are looking for and how they use each flower. While she has in the past done some of her own design work, the bottom line is that Vivian is first of all a flower farmer. “Honestly, I just enjoy growing more than anything else!”  

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs, going a little bloom-crazy during our early morning harvest.

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs, going a little bloom-crazy during our early morning harvest.

 

Alicia's gorgeous bouquet using all local and seasonal ingredients from Everyday Flowers.

Alicia’s gorgeous bouquet using all local and seasonal ingredients from Everyday Flowers.

We were lucky to have another guest along for my flower adventure – Alicia Schwede, a floral designer and owner of the Flirty Fleurs blog, joined Vivian and me for dinner and then returned early the following morning, clippers and urn in hand – for a floral designers’ whirlwind session. We loved creating arrangements and bouquets with Vivian’s flowers.

I made this hand-tied bouquet from yummy elements, including a cluster of unripe grapes.

I made this hand-tied bouquet from yummy elements, including dahlias, budleia, golden dill, calendula, Shasta daisies, leonitis, gooseneck loosestrife, and a cluster of unripe grapes and grape tendrils.

 

Kelly indulged to hold my bouquet for a different perspective.

Kelly indulged to hold my bouquet for a different perspective.

Everyday Flowers uses sustainable growing practices and the farm is Salmon Safe certified. No herbicides are used on the farm and on the rare instance when insecticides are used, they are OMRI-approved (Organic Materials Review Institute) products, Vivian explains. 

“I have a good beneficial insect population, including bees and ladybugs and I grow cover crops to suppress weeds and add more organic matter back in the soil,” Vivian explains. “I also have ‘Sassy’ my horse who does her share by producing great compost.” 

Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded more than 16,000 times. I truly appreciate the guests, listeners and sponsors who have supported the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing! Together, we’re changing the broken floral industry for the better!!

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: An All-American Celebration for our One-Year Anniversary (Episode 151)

July 23rd, 2014

Lots of great news to celebrate! Our 1st Anniversary and more than 15k downloads!

Lots of great news to celebrate! Our 1st Anniversary and more than 15k downloads!

Today I’m celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast

During the past year, I produced and hosted weekly episodes of this podcast — with news and insights of the American Grown flower movement. 

The people who have been guests on this series have generously and passionately  shared their time and knowledge. 

Our inspiring and straight-forward dialogue has prompted thousands of listeners to return, week after week, downloading the audio files to their various devices, to listen in the design studio, in the flower fields and wherever else they spend their days. 

ButtonMakers Pattern Template

The Slow Flowers Podcast is now a must-hear medium connecting  listeners across our country with creative and influential voices and exciting points of view. 

Thank you for joining me and please get ready for the next 52 weeks of great conversations.

We’re in full bloom, so to speak, and there’s an abundance of great information I’m eager to bring you! 

 

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

It is fitting that today I welcome Kasey Cronquist, CEO and ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission, the largest and most progressive organization in the American floral industry. As I said when he was my podcast guest last September, Kasey is a kindred spirit who is supremely passionate about saving our homegrown flower farms and preserving the agricultural way of life as a part of our country’s vibrant landscape. 

Our conversation took place last week at Cultivate ’14, the green industry trade show formally called OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio. 

At the invitation of AmericanHort, the host organization and trade show producer, Kasey and I partnered to promote two initiatives that go together like a bunch of just-picked sunflowers and a big white ceramic pitcher: Slowflowers.com and Certified American Grown Brand.

Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near Yout: the Certified American Grown Brand.

Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near You: the Certified American Grown Brand.

Slow Flowers is pleased to be a stakeholder in the launch of the brand new Certified American Grown Brand – a beautiful identity that will – for the very first time – inform and assure consumers of the domestic origins of the flowers they purchase at the cash register. 

I asked Kasey to discuss the implications of Certified American Grown labeling – and to give us some historic perspective about what led to the unveiling on July 1st and the debut at last week’s Cultivate conference. 

Kasey (left) and I teamed up to cross-promote Slowflowers.com and the Certified American Grown Brand at the recent Cultivate '14 Show.

Kasey (left) and I teamed up to cross-promote Slowflowers.com and the Certified American Grown Brand at the recent Cultivate ’14 Show.

This initiative was unveiled on July 1st at an industry Webinar involving all of the stakeholders who bring flowers to the consumer. A second webinar is scheduled soon – if you’re interested in being included, sign up here. 

I’m motivated by one thing – and that is spreading the news about  local, seasonal and domestic flowers. The most asked questions I hear from audiences are these:

How do I know the source of my flowers? Who grew these flowers and how far did they have to travel to get to me? How can I spend my floral budget wisely?

Last July, about the same time this podcast launched, I started developing the Slowflowers.com web site. 

Slowflowers.com went live in early May as a one-stop resource to help consumers find American flowers and the farmers, designers, studios and shops that provide those blooms.

With the introduction of the Certified American Grown Brand, I now have a second resource — a trusted brand that points consumers coast to coast to domestic cut flowers. I love the tagline: “Take Pride in Your Flowers.”

This is so much more than a visually compelling, red-white-and-blue logo that evokes pride and confidence. It symbolizes American family farms, agricultural revitalization and economic strength in our rural communities.

It is a brand that I endorse 100-percent and that I am proud to share with you.

Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 16,000 times in one year. I truly appreciate the guests, listeners and sponsors who have supported the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing!!! Together, we’re changing the broken floral industry for the better!!

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

I always conclude the episode by saying “The Slow Flowers podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley.”

I owe them both a huge bouquet of thanks for their creativity and professionalism as together we’ve built this podcast. Thanks so much! You can learn more about this talented pair at hhcreates.net.

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Floral and Event designer McKenzie Powell (Episode 150)

July 16th, 2014

A McKenzie Powell floral bouquet, photographed by Jasmine Star.

A McKenzie Powell floral bouquet, photographed by Jasmine Star.

I’ve experienced real joy in producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast this past year.

You could say it’s purely selfish to have a personal, 30-minute conversation with an influential and interesting leader in the American floral industry, right?

Yet I am so happy to invite you to share in our dialogue; doing so has allowed flower farmers, floral designers and flower sellers to reach so many others by simply sharing their personal stories. And I sincerely hope that listeners who care about the source, seasonality and growing methods of the flowers they enjoy in their lives are inspired by the guests I’ve been able to feature this past year.  

MPD-logo-new Today’s delightful guest is McKenzie Powell, a young floral artist and event producer based in Seattle. I’ve been wanting to interview McKenzie for a couple of years. And too often, when we run into one another at the flower market, we promise, “let’s get together for coffee, okay?”  

This past week, we finally made that happen. McKenzie’s star is on the ascent. In just four years since she launched her studio, the work of this talented designer has been showcased twice in Martha Stewart Weddings, as well as in local bridal publications in our area like Seattle Bride and Seattle Met Bride & Groom. After recording our interview, she also sent me this link to a 2013 project of hers that landed on Martha Stewart’s Real Weddings’ blog. 

McKenzie Powell with one of her beautiful arrangements (c) Belathee Photography.

McKenzie Powell with one of her beautiful arrangements (c) Belathee Photography.

She’s also been showcased on a gazillion websites, including but not limited to: Junebug, 100 Layer Cake, Coco & Kelly, Elizabeth Ann Designs, Style me Pretty, Once Wed, Apartment Therapy, Wedding Wire, and others.

McKenzie says this about her business: We are a boutique and floral event design studio located in Seattle, Washington, and available for travel. We bring flair, elegance, and creativity to each and every event – from an intimate dinner party to a grand affair. Our goal is to learn your story, your style, your vision – then design an event unique to you and incredibly beautiful. 

A wedding tablescape, all-white and lovely.

A wedding tablescape, all-white and lovely. (c) Bryce Covey

McKenzie was raised among gardens and trained as a graphic designer. She brings a broad appreciation and knowledge of design to the floral and event industry, a niche that combines so much of what she enjoys and finds inspiring. Interiors, flowers, fashion, food, travel – they all seem to play an important part in a well-crafted and thoughtful event. 

A Summer Bouquet from McKenzie's Seattle Garden.

A Summer Bouquet from McKenzie’s Seattle Garden.

After two years working for an angel investment firm, planning large-scale corporate events, she launched McKenzie Powell Floral & Event Design, quickly earning a reputation for her lush, romantic designs. While her floral work may be what she is most notably known for, she encourages her clients to think beyond the centerpiece. Using an approach that considers the entire table, the entire environment, McKenzie creates truly beautiful events. 

Her perfect lazy day is spent lakeside at her family’s cabin, in the company of a good book, a fresh grapefruit cocktail, and her handsome husband. 

You can find and follow McKenzie at these places:

McKenzie on Facebook

McKenzie on Instagram

McKenzie on Twitter

McKenzie on Pinterest

We are coming up on a one year anniversary next week. I have a very special guest who is going to share a big announcement about American Grown Flowers, so be sure to tune in.

Last week, thanks to listeners like you, this podcast hit the 15,000 download mark and I couldn’t be more grateful. I truly appreciate the guests, listeners and sponsors who have supported the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing!!! Together, we’re changing the broken floral industry for the better!!

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The slow flowers podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: A new brand of floral entrepreneur, Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery (Episode 149)

July 9th, 2014

Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, wearing one of her beautiful floral crowns (c) Jana Williams

Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, wearing one of her beautiful floral crowns (c) Jana Williams

CC_Logo_final.ai-page-001 Today’s guest is Bess Wyrick, founder and creative director of Celadon & Celery, a floral design and events studio based in New York City and Los Angeles. 

I first learned of Bess when researching florists to possibly feature in The 50 Mile Bouquet – I wanted to document the emerging business model of floral designers who actively promoted green practices, such as using seasonal and local flowers, embracing earth-friendly products and promoting anti-mass market style. 

I later learned that this category is called “eco-couture,” and it’s quite possible that Bess coined the phrase herself.

 

May 5, 2013 cover of New York Magazine, featuring Bess Wyrick's floral crown on the head of artist Jeffrey Koons.

May 5, 2013 cover of New York Magazine, featuring Bess Wyrick’s floral crown on the head of artist Jeffrey Koons.

In 2009, Bess’s Celadon & Celery was featured in a New York Times blog post about “organic flower” sourcing. The writer cited Bess’s policy of sourcing flowers within a 200-mile radius of NYC and also noted that when seasonal flowers aren’t available, she purchased Fair Trade, Veriflora and USDA organic flowers from certified vendors. 

The following year, in 2010, BizBash, a web site devoted to event planning, published a piece about Celadon & Celery that stated: “. . . sustainability is important to Wyrick. She composts, grows many of her own plants in her Chelsea studio, sources flowers from local growers or certified organic suppliers, and scavenges for materials to repurpose.” 

Bess shared this photo of a floral teepee, a recent installation.

Bess shared this photo of a floral teepee, a recent installation.

To read about that philosophy today – in 2015 – doesn’t seem all that unusual. But five years ago, it was rare. Believe me, I counted on one hand the number of designers proactively taking the green approach. I saved that article in my folder of inspiring designers. 

So how cool was it that when Celadon & Celery brought its floral design workshop series to Los Angeles, Bess’s publicist pitched me to write the story. 

Local flowers in a beautiful palette, designed by Celadon & Celery

Local flowers in a beautiful palette, designed by Celadon & Celery 

I was definitely intrigued. Intimate hands-on floral design workshops had hit the East Coast, and the New York Times had run a piece in 2010 about The Little Flower School of Brooklyn (and owners Sarah Ryhanen and Nicolette Owen, two recent guests of this podcast). I’d even led a few seasonal floral workshops for Ravenna Gardens in Seattle in 2010, but I hadn’t seen much like this happening elsewhere on the West Coast. 

My editor at the Los Angeles Times agreed, and I did a short Q&A interview with Bess about the workshop series in fall 2011. At the time, Celadon & Celery was charging $300 for its two-hour sustainable-design workshops at Bess’s loft-studio in New York’s Chelsea Flower District. For the Los Angeles expansion, she dropped the tuition to $125 and used social media channels to promote the classes. 

Overwhelmed by the positive response, Bess rented a photography studio in downtown Los Angeles and turned it into a classroom. She hired a few local freelancers to help and ran three classes a day for three weeks. “In that time we taught floral design to more than 800 people,” Bess marvels.

bliss! a Celadon & Celery seasonal creation

bliss! a Celadon & Celery seasonal creation

50MileBouquet_book I was able to witness the excitement in person and cover it for a chapter in The 50 Mile Bouquet. In the book’s pages, you can read about the explosion of DIY interest in floral design.

In that piece, Bess offered this observation: “The word ‘eco’ has a bad reputation implying something weedy,” Bess says. “But we’re creating flowers that are sophisticated, chic and tailored. ” You can read the entire chapter by clicking this link.

I’ve connected with Bess many times since the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet, in both New York and Los Angeles, depending on where our travels intersect. She is a generous supporter of the new Slowflowers.com and you can find Celadon & Celery featured in the online directory under studio florists and weddings/events.

I’ve been wanting to have her on as a guest and I’m delighted to include our conversation here today. Please enjoy our discussion about how floral design – and this designer in particular – has evolved to encompass event production, conceptual storytelling and artistic installations.

a singular bouquet.

a singular bouquet.

You’ll learn that floral design can be as multidisciplinary and multidimensional as you choose it to be. And, according to Bess, florists who advocate for their vendors, the family flower farm in particular, have an edge. She says: “I like to sell the fact that I’m a luxury brand and luxury brands work with really small artisans and that’s really important because you want to make sure that your flower farm vendors keep doing what they’re doing and creating unique and unusual flowers that the higher luxury market will pay for.”

(c) Jana WIlliams

(c) Jana WIlliams

I love how generous and frank she is and a few more of her interview comments really resonated:

For one thing, volunteering on flower farms has educated Bess to understand that “it’s not okay for clients to negotiate the cost of flowers because it is back-breaking work and there aren’t enough people who know how to grow flowers.”

And second: This quote is powerful and I hope it more than a few people in the floral industry to rethink their practices: “I don’t think that any florist in California should be importing flowers at all. That’s just being lazy.”

(c) Jana Williams

(c) Jana Williams

Ahem. Thank you, Bess, for stating the obvious. You’ve lent a lot of credibility to the Slow Flowers Movement with that proclamation!

Here are links to all of Bess’s social outlets:

Life with Bess Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Flickr

Instagram

And Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 15,000 times.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.

A July 4th Homegrown Bouquet, from an American flower farm

July 4th, 2014

Just picked, from the cutting garden and fields at Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, CA

Just picked, from the cutting garden and fields at Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, CA

Composing this arrangement for the July 4th holiday is my reward for 48 hours of hard work.

I’ve been here in Southern California on assignment for Country Gardens magazine and Deck, Patio & Outdoor Rooms magazine.

I worked with Michael Garland, an LA-based photographer, to capture two wonderful garden stories that you’ll see in the pages of these publications next year (summer 2015). 

Today, after wrapping up at Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, which has been the subject of past blogs and a podcast interview with founder Danielle Hahn, I got to play with the extra flowers from our photo shoot.

Everything that grows here is lush, and organic, and seasonal and simply devine! Here’s what my flower playtime yielded. Only in Santa Barbara area do the dahlias, roses, hydrangaes and succulents look at their peak on the same day.

If you have to work on a holiday, let it be July 4th and let it be at a American flower farm, right?

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt, two dynamic flower farmers and owners of Chicago’s Field and Florist (Episode 148)

July 2nd, 2014

Molly Kobelt and Heidi Joynt of Field & Florist, pictured at their flower farm outside Chicago.

Molly Kobelt and Heidi Joynt of Field & Florist, pictured at their flower farm outside Chicago.

Before introducing you to this week’s guests, I want to share some of the highlights that have recently come my way, thanks to friends and members of the Slowflowers.com site.

These incidents may seem small, but when gathered together, they encourage me that the message of this podcast and the usefulness of Slowflowers.com are increasingly important.

Web First, we recently added “Floral Workshops & Classes” as a listing category. Maryann Nardo, owner of 7 Petals Floral Design in San Rafael, California, just let me know she booked her first student through a Slowflowers.com customer who was searching for floral design classes. That’s awesome news!

Second, Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, a recent guest of this podcast, shared news that a floral designer in her Bellingham, Washington, area – someone who’s taken a workshop of mine — found Triple Wren on the Slowflowers.com site and has since subscribed to the farm’s flower CSA for the rest of this summer. Sarah wrote: “I thought you might like to know both that it helped our farm and that she is super inspired to continue in what you taught her.”

And finally, Kate Richards of the Farmhouse 38 blog, sent this awesome piece of news.

“One of my guests at my blogger dinner this weekend is getting married in Rhode Island in September. She’s incredibly ecologically minded, and had opted to not do any flowers at the wedding because she is pretty much ‘over’ the current floral industry. Between my recent blog post about the Slow Flowers movement and my blogger dinner featuring all local, CA-grown flowers (and food), my friend had her eyes opened to the idea of slow flowers (she called it ‘life-changing’, lol). She hadn’t even considered that there could be a proximate flower farm where she could get local, responsibly raised flowers. So she went on slowflowers.com and sure enough, she discovered Robin Hollow Farm, not too far from where she’s getting married—and they are officially doing her wedding flowers now! Huzzah!!!”

These stories are simply fantastic – just what I had hoped for when I created Slowflowers.com. If you want to make my day, I’d love to hear how this movement, this podcast and the online directory is helping you as a flower farmer, retailer or florist.

fieldandflorist

It’s no surprise to learn that today’s guests are also part of the Slowflowers.com directory. Pictured above, Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt of Field & Florist, are based in the Chicago area. A few weeks ago, I was able to visit their idyllic growing grounds in Barrington, IL, about 30 minutes northwest of the city. After touring the fields to see what flowers are emerging from those lovely long rows, we sat down for a fun interview.

Field & Florist Farm. Photo by Jaclyn Simpson Photography

Field & Florist Farm. Photo by Jaclyn Simpson Photography

I first met Heidi when she attended the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ conference that was held in Tacoma during the fall of 2012.

We ended up sharing a car ride back to Seattle from a farm dinner in Skagit Valley, along with several other awesome young farmer-florists. For me, it was a memorable 90 minutes: ideas and energy bounced around the inside of my Subaru. Each person had something vital to share and we were all eager to learn about how our fellow passengers were developing their own floral businesses – from Seattle to Chicago to Columbus, Ohio — similar things are happening to connect local flowers with eager floral customers.

In the two subsequent years, Heidi and I have stayed in touch and corresponded about her business. She’s a model farmer-florist who has done so many exciting things to educate and inspire her customer base — from holding fun “work parties” on the farm that gets city folks out to the country and leaves a little dirt under their nails; to producing pop-up shops at hip Chicago venues, to designing beautiful seasonal wedding flowers for many happy couples.

Engagement photo bouquet. Photo by Ashley Bosnick Photography

Engagement photo bouquet. Photo by Ashley Bosnick Photography

Heidi is no longer a solo farmer and in this interview you will meet her new business partner Molly Kobelt. The two women have known one another for a couple years, through Dose Market – an innovative Chicago hub for all things local. Molly worked for Dose Market handling promotions and marketing; Heidi brought her flowers to sell. They recognized in each other a kindred spirit in their philosophy that being passionate about one’s work is important. Earlier this year, they joined forces when Molly came onboard as a partner in Field and Florist.

Ampersand Pop-Up Dinner Arrangement. Photo by Michael Litchfield

Ampersand Pop-Up Dinner Arrangement. Photo by Michael Litchfield

Check out “A Taste of a Floral Arrangement,” an awesome video produced by Rabbit Hole Magazine at Kinmont Restaurant in Chicago with Field and Florist. In the “small world” category of our intersecting lives, my son Ben works at this restaurant – and he originally shared the clip with me before he knew Heidi and I were friends. That connection makes me very happy.

Field and Florist grows and harvests a wide array of beautiful blooms from April to October – that’s about the maximum amount of time you can source locally in Chicago’s climate. In the winter months, Field and Florist sources from certified sustainable sources within the U.S.

I hope you enjoy hearing from these two talented farmer-florists, as we talk about all the successes and challenges of their venture.

Recent bridal + bridesmaid bouquets. Photo by Averyhouse

Recent bridal + bridesmaid bouquets. Photo by Averyhouse

Thank you for joining today’s conversation with Heidi and Molly.

Here are links to sign up for the Field and Florist newsletter

Consider subscribing to their floral CSA - they’re taking orders for September right now.

Thanks to listeners like you, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 15,000 times.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts and Andrew Wheatley. Learn more about their work at hhcreates.net.