Debra Prinzing

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Episode 349: Finding a Market for Your Flowers with Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.

May 16th, 2018

Bethany Little, photographed at the recent Whidbey Flower Workshop, wearing the fanciful headpiece she designed during Susan McLeary’s wearables session.

Before I turn to today’s awesome guest, Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., I want to share two big news items.

First, this week marks the 250th consecutive episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, a major milestone in Podcastland where the average podcast only lasts 7 episodes.

In total, since airing my first episode on July 23, 2013, which for some reason I decided to assign as number 100 (thus the odd synch-up of today’s episode 349), I have hosted and have produced an original Slow Flowers Podcast episode every week for 250 weeks.

That is pretty awesome, folks.

And I thank you so much for loyally joining the conversation. In fact, this podcast has been downloaded more than 317,000 times by listeners like you! It is an honor and a humbling experience know you’re listening in each week – our listeners are an essential part of the conversation!

Here’s to the next 250 episodes! We know there are many more voices to hear and stories to tell and I want to bring them to you right here at the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing.

The NEW Slowflowers.com — about to relaunch as a celebration of the site’s 4th anniversary!

Our second piece of Big News involves the online directory – slowflowers.com. Four years ago this week, on May 12, 2014, I announced the debut of Slowflowers.com.

I said this at the time: “Slowflowers.com is a sister project to this podcast — a free, online directory of American-grown flowers and the designers, shops, studios and farms who source those blooms.”

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

I continued:

“The mission of Slowflowers.com is simply this:

To promote American-grown flowers, to make it easy for flower consumers to connect with florists, shops, studios and farms who provide American-grown flowers, and to encourage truthful and transparent country-of-origin labeling in the floral industry. 

My goal with this project is that when someone wishes to purchase or send flowers, they stop and ask themselves: Can those flowers be American grown? Slowflowers.com provides that answer.”

The directory began with 250 domestic floral resources listed. Today, that list has grown to 725 members — and my goal with your help, continues to be growing that list to one thousand!

Perfectly timed to coincide with the 4th birthday of Slowflowers.com, this week I am unveiling a brand new Slowflowers.com 2.0 – a visually updated and more user-friendly web site for those who visit the consumer-facing side; and a more functional machine for members who interact with the admin and database side to manage your content.

I have invested considerable time and finances to create Slowflowers.com 2.0, with a fresh, new aesthetic and easy-to-navigate user experience. Look for it soon!!

Take the Pledge!!!

And finally, if you have always considered yourself a “supporter of Slow Flowers,” but have never joined, now is the time to put your values into an actionable gesture and do so. We welcome you to our growing and vibrant community of kindred spirits – flower farmers, floral designers, farmer florists, wholesalers, retailers and consumers of flowers.

I’ll have much more news to share with you as we continue to improve all the facets of Slowflowers.com.

I definitely want to thank Bob Meador of Metric Media for his ongoing involvement in the creation, maintenance and caretaking of this digital project.

As I find myself so often saying . . . I’m a journalist, not a business person. My path to creating the Slow Flowers community and content channels has been passion-driven more than entrepreneurial. With continual improvement in the platform, we’re creating a dynamic brand with which floral consumers and the floral industry wants to engage – and I’m stretching my business know-how in doing so.

Bethany with just-harvested lavender

It’s fitting to share today’s conversation with my guest Bethany Little because she and her husband Charles Little are veteran flower farmers and huge supporters of the Slow Flowers cause.

This episode was recorded last month when Bethany and I spent a few days together at the Whidbey Flower Workshop hosted by Tobey Nelson.

I was there to teach creative writing during the workshop’s opening session after which Tobey graciously invited me to stay with the group of instructors and students for two consecutive days.

Bethany was there as both a student and sponsor, bringing hundreds of beautiful flowering branches from hers and other Oregon flower farms to be employed by Joseph Massie and his students for a few breathtaking, large-scale installations.

You may recall that Bethany’s husband, the one and only Charles Little, appeared on this show a few years back.

Charming and inviting — the farm stand sign at Charles Little & Co.

I was in Eugene, Oregon, visiting friends and lined up a stop at the Charles Little HQ on Seavey Loop Rd. Bethany was out of town that weekend, so I zeroed in on Charles’s story –a wonderful narrative of a sustainable agriculture pioneer whose 30 years of flower farming set the stage for so much of which is happening today in our slow flowers world. Follow this link to that episode from August 2015, called “Grower Wisdom,” for part one of this story.

Bethany Little leading a tour of Charles Little & Co.

Now, you’ll hear part two of the story – Bethany’s insights on flower farming and on creating a viable marketplace for those flowers.

Scenes from Charles Little & Co., including Remy, one of the two canine members of the family, an Australian cattle dog.

Here’s more about Charles and Bethany’s philosophy, from their web site:

We have lived and worked on 35 acres of the very best river-bottom soil along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Oregon for nearly a quarter-century. The crops we raise include flowers and foliage of all kinds; ornamental herbs, grasses and grains, and unique sticks, pods and berries. We send in-season floral materials year-round to wholesalers throughout the United States. Our product is excellent and our service is responsive, friendly and direct. We have been growing specialty cut flowers for more than a quarter-century, and we approach our work with passion and keen observation. We are always trying something new to add to our extensive crops, bringing inspiration to our fields and to our customers.  

Harvest time at Charles Little & Co.

Here’s how to find and follow Charles Little & Co.:

Charles Little & Co. on Facebook

Charles Little & Co. on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we heard Bethany Little’s story!

I am in awe of all you – intrepid and gifted flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the right column.

I want to remind you about the Dream Designer Package — a ticket promotion that runs through Sunday, May 20th. All May registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one spot to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening. So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

As I mentioned at the top of this show, the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded 317,000 times and we’ve just hit our 250th episode of this program.

Five years ago, my book “Slow Flowers” was published.

Four years ago, I started the ambitious endeavor to publish and maintain an online directory called Slowflowers.com, which is a free resource to help connect consumers with American grown flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Three years ago, American Flowers Week debuted, and the fourth annual week-long event American Flowers Week 2018 is almost here. Mark the dates June 28-July 4th on your calendar.

Last year, in 2017, Slow Flowers Journal launched as an online magazine, and soon became a permanent feature in the pages of Florists’ Review each month.

I also launched the Slow Flowers Summit, a one-day mind-meld and gathering for floral progressives. Our second annual Summit is set for June 29th – just around the corner.

What an incredible and rewarding ride it has been — especially to connect with kindred spirits in this journey we’re all taking! The journey to rescue, restore and revive domestic floral agriculture and a floral community focused on transparency and conscious sourcing practices.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs.

Our lead sponsor for 2018 is Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens provides 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 longfield-gardens.com.

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.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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.

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.

Music Credits:
Chapel Donder
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
In The Field; River Meditation
Music from:

audionautix.com

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