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Episode 268: Where are they now? Updates Mary Kate Kinnane of Rhode Island’s The Local Bouquet and Heidi Joynt & Molly Kobelt of Chicago’s Field & Florist

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

2up One of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced since launching the Slow Flowers Movement has been meeting emerging floral entrepreneurs and witnessing how their businesses flourish. Today, we’re returning to two floral enterprises featured on previous episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast to share updates with you.

First, you’ll hear from Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet in Little Compton, Rhode Island, and next you’ll hear a conversation with Molly Kobelt and Heidi Joynt of Field & Florist, which operates a Chicago design studio and a Three Oaks, Michigan-based flower farm.

Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet, our return guest.

Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet, our return guest.

Mary Kate and The Local Bouquet were originally featured in Episode 138, which aired April 2014.

You’ll hear our follow-up discussion about how the business changed from a partnership with Maureen Azize, Mary Kate’s sister-in-law, to a sole proprietorship.

Mary Kate and I will discuss the pain and pleasure of going solo — and what that has meant as she also juggles three small children and the demands of countless wedding clients.

Here’s more about The Local Bouquet, from the web site:

A MISSION TO SUPPORT THE AMERICAN FLOWER FARMER

At The Local Bouquet we have taken the two things we love; weddings and fresh, seasonal flowers and combined them to bring you the most beautiful designs for your special day. We are committed to creating gorgeous floral decor that compliments the chosen time of year of your wedding using 100% local and American-grown flowers only.

The Local Bouquet's American Grown Weddings -- love this slogan!

The Local Bouquet’s American Grown Weddings — love this slogan!

Design by The Local Bouquet ~ lovely!!

Design by The Local Bouquet ~ lovely!!

A beautiful bridal bouquet designed by The Local Bouquet's Mary Kate Kinnane.

A romantic bridal bouquet designed by The Local Bouquet’s Mary Kate Kinnane.

The Local Bouquet’s ingredients are gathered or foraged fresh from flower fields and sourced from local flower farmers.

Mary Kate believes that origin matters and values providing unique, fresh, and stunning flowers that are eco-conscience and organic.

“We think flowers should come from local farms and free of chemicals,” she writes.

“That is why we are committed to the field to vase movement that is happening across the United States as we celebrate local flowers and American flower farmers!”

FLOWERS FROM THEIR FARM

The second part of today’s episode features Field & Florist’s Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt.

The women were my podcast guests for Episode 148 in July 2014.

I photographed this portrait of Heidi Joynt (left) and Molly Kobelt (right) behind the Jam Handy Building in Detroit. Isn't it cool that the signage "Miracles" frames this shot? I totally unexpected detail.

I photographed this portrait of Heidi Joynt (left) and Molly Kobelt (right) behind the Jam Handy Building in Detroit. Isn’t it cool that the signage “Miracles” frames this shot? I totally unexpected detail.

At the time, these entrepreneur farmer-florists were farming on their second piece of land, owned by a friend of a friend outside Chicago. Wow, a lot has changed in 2016, with Field & Florist’s move last fall to a larger parcel of land in Three Oaks, Michigan. In the works for a while, the shift to a more permanent place to farm flowers has allowed Field & Florist to significantly scale its growing operation.

field-florits-farm-2_082

The new farmland offers so much potential for Field & Florist’s expansion! (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography

With the opportunity to experiment with spring greenhouse production of ranunculus, Icelandic poppies and more, a large increase in acreage for field production (peonies, garden roses, and of course, more dahlias) and the chance to wild-forage, the duo has continued to serve Chicago’s floral marketplace in year one of their new chapter.

Molly and Heidi at their new farm site.

Molly and Heidi at their new farm site. (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography

From April-October Heidi and Molly grow and harvest direct from their farm. In the winter months, they source flowers from certified sustainable sources within the United States.

In 2015 Apartment Therapy included Field & Florist in its “Top 10 Under 40: Design & Food” and Martha Stewart Weddings named Field & Florist on its list of 62 Top Floral Designers. To quote Molly and Heidi on their blog post about the inclusion, “whoa”!

A beautiful centerpiece by Field & Florist

A beautiful centerpiece by Field & Florist (c) Levi & Val Photography

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Exquisite details in two designs by Field & Florist’s Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt. Left image (c) Roots of Life Photography; Right image (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography

 

Here’s how to find and follow today’s guests:

The Local Bouquet on Facebook

The Local Bouquet on Instagram

The Local Bouquet on Pinterest

Field & Florist on Facebook

Field & Florist on Instagram

Field & Florist on Pinterest

Thanks for joining today’s conversation! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 126,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

Wow, what a fabulous season we’re having for local flowers! So much creativity and beauty has been going on as many of you are closing up the season for field-grown flowers. The frost has arrived for many flower farmers, but the planning for off-season activities continues. And I love how much inventiveness is out there, extending through winter as you generate income and sustain your business model. For designers, florists and their clients, thoughts of harvest, home and holiday are top of mind.

By the time you hear this, Slowflowers.com will have released its first Editorial Content package to the media and yes, our imagery and story tips focused around harvest, home and holiday.

Our next package, Slow Valentine’s Day, will be released on January 5th but we need your submissions by December 1st. This package will highlight  romantic American-grown/Canadian-grown floral designs with an emphasis on domestic roses (as an alternative to imported ones) OR new botanical options for V-day. Participation is open to all Premium members on Slowflowers.com or for a nominal fee to Standard members. Look for details in our next Slow Flowers newsletter, out November 1st. And by the way, you can subscribe to the newsletter here.

sponsor-bar_sept_2016 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, thank you 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 267: Marybeth Wehrung of Stars of the Meadow Flower Farm and Hudson Valley’s emerging community of flower farmers

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
My Visit to Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network was a blast! Educational and Informative!

My Visit to Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network was a blast! Educational and Informative!

stars Last week you learned about my September visit to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area, where I spent three days visiting local flower farmers and florists, including teaching a Slow Flowers Creative Workshop.

Just prior to that visit, I had a swift side trip, Saturday, September 17th, a drive from Philadelphia to Hudson Valley at the invitation of Marybeth Wehrung, of Stars of the Meadow. There is a lot happening in New York’s Hudson Valley farming scene and I’ve been eager to learn more!

I previously featured some of the voices of this region, which you may recall from Episode 189 when I interviewed Jenn Elliott and Luke Franco of Tiny Hearts Flower Farm in Copake, New York, and from Episode 233 when Gloria Collins of GBC Style and I discussed the transportation challenges between designers like her and flower farms in the Hudson Valley.

The land where Marybeth raises her beautiful cut flowers is owned by Back to Basics Farm in Accord, New York.

The land where Marybeth raises her beautiful cut flowers is owned by Back to Basics Farm in Accord, New York.

Marybeth Wehrung, Stars of the Meadow Farm.

Marybeth Wehrung, Stars of the Meadow Farm.

During the past two years the local flower farming landscape has greatly expanded, gathering up people like Marybeth and several others who now participate in the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network. I joined up with some of the members last month in the town of Hudson, where we had a Slow Flowers “Meet-Up” and a great conversation about the state of their region, which I recorded to share with Slow Flowers Podcast listeners.

First you will hear a thirty-minute conversation I recorded at Back to Basics Farm in Accord, New York where Marybeth’s business, Stars of the Meadow, is based — she describes it as a “one-woman-powered-acre.” Stars of the Meadow offers locally and sustainably grown specialty cut flowers and foliage. Inspired by permaculture, biodynamics, and regenerative agriculture, Marybeth grows more than 100 seasonal varieties of lush, vibrant blooms, foliage, and herbs.

After we toured Marybeth’s microfarm, we drove about 30 minutes north to Hudson where we met others in the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network.

Tending to dahlias with mesh bags -- a laborious process to keep these luxury blooms blemish-free for discerning clients.

Marybeth tends to dahlias with mesh bags — a laborious process to keep these luxury blooms blemish-free for discerning clients.

Before you have a listen, let me introduce those in addition to Marybeth who participated in the roundtable discussion:

First, you’ll meet Angela DeFelice of Rock Steady Farm & Flowers in Millerton, New York.

Angela grew up outside of Rochester, NY, in a small town surrounded by fields of corn, soybeans and cows. After studying ecological horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems she worked two years at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project where she managed the low income CSA program. She went on to co-manage Huguenot Street Farm, a 12 acre Vegetable CSA farm in New Paltz, NY.

Angela was first introduced to flower growing while farming in California, and over time fell in love with the challenge and beauty of growing flowers — which brought her to Sol Flower Farm, where she built the cut flower enterprise from the ground up. Off the farm, Angela has a serious passion for dancing and wading ankle deep in creeks, catching salamanders.

Next, please meet April Kinser of April Flowers in Kingston, New York.

April and partner Brittinee Sideri began working together in 2013, combining a love of flowers with their backgrounds of working with flowers and the landscape, as well as years of event planning and management.

Trained as a visual artist, April designed the Celebrity Path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and created several site-specific environmental  artworks in New York City and the Catskills. She is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Architecture for her environmental installations. She has designed wedding flowers since 2006.

April grew up in Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses, and then moved to New York City to study art. She lived there for over 25 years before moving to the Hudson Valley in 2003.

And finally, you’ll hear from Jenny Elliott of Tiny Hearts Farm in Copake, NY. As you learned in our prior interview, Jenny farms with her husband Luke; she brought Emily, one of the farm’s designers, who you’ll also hear in this conversation.

By the time we finish up, this episode goes over 1 hour, so set aside plenty of time to listen. The Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network is part of an emerging phenomenon in our Slow Flowers community, as we’re witnessing regional floral hubs that make economic and geographic sense for those who yearn to share resources, contacts, knowledge and energy. I’m excited to bring these conversations to you today and I hope the voices you hear inspire you and, perhaps, prompt you to form a similar network in your area. There are many of you who have already done so — and I’d love to hear from you for a future episode of this Podcast.

PodcastLogo The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 123,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 in the right column. We hope to produce transcripts of each episode, although it costs $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!

sponsor-bar_sept_2016 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, thank you 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 266: North Carolina’s Spring Forth Farm with Megan and Jonathan Leiss, Homesteaders and Flower Farmers

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
Jonathan and Megan of Spring Forth Farm, a North Carolina homestead and sustainable flower farm. Photo by Bethany Cubino, Chasing Skies Photography

Jonathan and Megan of Spring Forth Farm, a North Carolina homestead and sustainable flower farm. Photo by Bethany Cubino, Chasing Skies Photography

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Earlier this year, in January, I received an email from Jonathan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina. His message was ultimately responsible for today’s episode. After introducing himself, Jonathan wrote: “My favorite episodes are your interviews with farmers . . . I know you aren’t in the Southeast often, but if you are, I want to recommend the Durham-Chapel Hill area as a great place to visit to see the resurgence of local flowers on the small farm and the creative ways farmers and designers are building relationships with customers.”

I snapped these cute portraits of Jonathan and Megan at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in Durham last month (held at Pine State Flowers)

I snapped these cute portraits of Jonathan and Megan at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in Durham last month (held at Pine State Flowers)

The email continued as Jonathan listed many of the folks in the NC “Triangle” (which also includes Raleigh) who comprise the progressive flower farming and floral design community there.  I loved the inclusive point of Jonathan’s story — he told me about Spring Forth Farm and what he and his wife Megan are doing — and he listed florists and fellow farmers whose work is notable and worthy of my attention. “This is a very dynamic area for farming in general and right now that energy is reflected in the burst of local flowers on the market. If you are ever this way, please consider visiting . . . to see the energy of the American-Grown flower industry.”

Love the openness of this farm, with the blue of the sky and the blue farmhouse providing a consistent palette.

Love the openness of this farm, with the blue of the sky and the blue farmhouse providing a consistent palette.

It took some creativity with the scheduling and dozens of emails and a few phone calls, but that initial email from Jonathan sparked my interest in visiting an area of the country that I knew would teach me more about the Slow Flowers Movement. We have 23 Slow Flowers members in North Carolina and another five members in SC, so I felt the pull to connect on a more personal level.

Here's a quick group photo that we grabbed at the Slow Flowers Meet-Up before dusk.

Here’s a quick group photo that we grabbed at the Slow Flowers Meet-Up before dusk. We lost a few folks who were touring the flower field, but this is a representation of the amazing talent and passion of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.

Last month, I flew to Raleigh after several other travel stops, including attending the Field to Vase Dinner at Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and spending the previous day in NY’s Hudson Valley with emerging flower farmers and florists in that region.

READ MORE…

Episode 265: Flowers in the Heartland with Adam and Jenn O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Jennifer and Adam O'Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

10846393_742697935817032_6622126312058960580_n I recently spent two days with farmer-florists Adam and Jennifer O’Neal at PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, where I combined a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine with the chance to interview them for this podcast — how lucky for me, right?!

If you have any curiosity about where PepperHarrow Farm is located, think about that romantic novel and the 1995 movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Maybe I’m dating myself, but it was a classic. The story and film are set in Winterset, Iowa.

It is a beautiful place to live and farm . . . and PepperHarrow Farm is everything you’d want in a homestead, with a charming farmhouse, a working farm with several useful outbuildings, access to “town” and the greater Des Moines urban core, which means it’s easy for PepperHarrow to supply a critical mass of flower customers within a 50 mile radius and to hold wedding consultations and teach workshops at their bucolic destination.

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal are local, hard-working green thumbs who cultivate fresh flowers and veggies on their 20-acre farm nestled among those covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County.

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

Adam is originally from south Louisiana and spent his childhood days playing in his backyard, the swamps of a nature reserve. That early exposure to the outdoors grew into a love for being outside. One day he read an article about permaculture and the rest is history.

Jennifer O'Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Jennifer O’Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Iowa native Jennifer is a long time gardener who also inherited her Grandmother’s love of flowers. She grew up spending long summer days on her grandparent’s farm and in their garden. Her grandmother also spent every summer instilling floral design in Jennifer, doing flower arrangements with her for the local county fair. Jennifer now gets to bring her grandma to her farm to see the flower legacy continue and often delivers floral arrangements for her grandma to enjoy.

Flowers for the Market

Flowers for the Market

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

PepperHarrow's signature style -- lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

PepperHarrow’s signature style — lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Quinlan O'Neal, whose "welcome" you hear on today's podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

Quinlan O’Neal, whose “welcome” you hear on today’s podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

The O’Neals are committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve and enhance the land. Their efforts to minimize the environmental impact and plan for self-sufficiency make their small farm a diverse and educational experience.

Jennifer and Adam

Jennifer and Adam

Follow these links to find Jennifer and Adam at these social places:

PepperHarrow Farm on Facebook

Jennifer on Instagram

Adam on Instagram

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There’s a lot to flower your soul and spirit, not to mention your creativity, in several forthcoming design opportunities, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these events!!

Detroit Flower Week, October 11-15: Along with numerous members of the Slow Flowers Community, I’ll be joining Lisa Waud of The Flower House and pot & box at the inspiring floral convergence of design, art, farming and storytelling. Read more about Detroit Flower Week here.
Follow this link to grab your tickets!

The Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, October 17-18 at Russian River Flower School in Sonoma County California. Spaces are still available for this excellent program. Debra Prinzing will teach “floral storytelling” and partner with Dundee Butcher to use local flowers in our expanded design process that includes each student creating a video short for her or his own use. Details and registration link here. Click here to listen to a Q&A with Debra and Dundee as they discuss the workshop.

Flowerstock, hosted by Holly Chapple, a Slow Flowers member based in Virginia. She’s a designer, educator, founder of Chapel Designers, past guest of this podcast and also a flower farmer with her husband Evan on a new project called Hope Flower Farm.

Flowerstock includes two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, a marketplace of vendors, flower playtime, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping! Slow Flowers is pleased to sponsor this special gathering of our flower friends. We’re also thrilled that Holly and participants of Flower Stock will design and produce one of our Floral Style Fashion images for American Flowers Week 2017!  Find Flowerstock Details and registration link here.

smallersonoma

On October 16th, Slowflowers.com will sponsor and co-host the amazing Field to Vase Dinner coming up at Sunset Magazine’s beautiful new trial and demonstration gardens in wine country. I hope to see you there! The event florals will be designed by Slow Flowers member Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo and Homestead Design Collective. Reserve your dinner ticket here!

sponsor-bar_sept_2016
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 121,000 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, thanks to 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 264: Red Daisy Flower Farm in Denver with Megan McGuire, grower, designer and antiques dealer

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Welcome to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado

Welcome to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Before I introduce you to today’s inspiring guest, Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm outside Denver, I want to share more details about the upcoming Slow Flowers Creative Workshop that I’ll be co-teaching with Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School in Sonoma’s wine country — Monday, October 17th and Tuesday, October 18th.

00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-02 This valuable workshop experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal aesthetic message as a floral professional – in both written and visual formats suitable for your web site, social media and mobile platforms.

In a safe, supportive and intimate setting, our small group will focus on YOU! We’ll go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” as each participant finds his or her own voice as a floral storyteller. If you’ve been thinking about investing in your businesses’ future, now is the time to sign up.

Meg (center) led a tour of her fields and high tunnels for our Slow Flowers Colorado Meet-Up guests.

Meg (center) led a tour of her fields and high tunnels for our Slow Flowers Colorado Meet-Up guests. (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Flowers grown and designed by Meg McGuire of Red Daisy Farm

Flowers grown and designed by Meg McGuire of Red Daisy Farm

Now, I’m so pleased to return, at least in my memory, to Colorado. I spent several days in the Rocky Mountain State during the month of August, visiting flower farms, meeting talented designers and seeing their work, and recording several interviews.

Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber

Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber (c) Certified American Grown/Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Today’s conversation is the third in my Colorado series, so if you missed the interview with Denver floral designer Robyn Rissman and her collaborator Alicia Schwede — the design team that created the Field to Vase Dinner flowers at The Fresh Herb Co., or if you missed the recent interview with Don Lareau and Daphne Yannakakis of Zephyros Farm and Garden, here are the links to those episodes:

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

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

Meg McGuire and I enjoyed a relaxing morning recording this episode on the porch of her beautiful historic farmhouse (c) Andrea K. Grist

Meg McGuire and I enjoyed a relaxing morning recording this episode on the porch of her beautiful historic farmhouse (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Another gorgeous arrangement designed by Meg McGuire, using flowers from her Colorado fields and high tunnels.

Another gorgeous arrangement designed by Meg McGuire, using flowers from her Colorado fields and high tunnels.

For years, Megan McGuire and her husband Terry Baumann had their eyes on a charming early 20th century farmhouse in Brighton, Colorado, just outside Denver. By the time that they finally became the owners, it seems as if the Red Daisy Farmhouse possesses them – but in a good way, a very good way.

Meg is a Slowflowers.com member and we’ve corresponded for nearly a year about my wanting to visit her if I returned to Colorado.

READ MORE…

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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
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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

Wednesday, 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:

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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

Wednesday, 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.

Friday, 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…