Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Episode 239: Flora Organica Designs and Faye Krause at the Arcata, CA Field to Vase Dinner

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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On March 12th the first of several Field to Vase Dinners for 2016 took place inside a state-of-the-art greenhouse in Arcata, California –  Humboldt County, located way, way up north in the Redwoods.

What a stunning installation, transforming a working greenhouse into a glorious dinner party setting at Sun Valley Flower Farm (c) Amy Kumler

What a stunning installation, transforming a working greenhouse into a glorious dinner party setting at Sun Valley Flower Farm (c) Amy Kumler

Faye's concept for the installation was Tulips + Bulbs overhead as the chandelier and color blocked tulips in vases down the center of the table (c) by Amy Kumler

Faye’s concept for the installation was Tulips + Bulbs overhead as the chandelier and color blocked tulips in vases down the center of the table (c) by Amy Kumler

The venue: Sun Valley Flower Farm, a leading grower of cut bulb and field flowers in the United States. According to its web site, Sun Valley chose this area as an ideal environment for growing bulb flowers, due to its mild winters, cool summers, generous humidity and coastally moderated sunlight. The fields surrounding the greenhouses also provide excellent growing conditions for spring, summer and fall iris, and summer flowers including crocosmia, hypericum, and monkshood.

Endless tulips!! (c) by Amy Kumler

Endless tulips!! (c) by Amy Kumler

On March 12th, the celebration was all about American-grown tulips and other-spring flowering bulbs — hundreds of thousands of them in all their colorful glory.

READ MORE…

The Flower House Virtual Tour Part 4 with David Beahm and Daevid Reed (Episode 232)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Daevid Reed (l), Lisa Waud (c) and David Beahm (r), captured in a moment of sheer joy by photographer Heather Saunders at the Field to Vase Dinner, The Flower House, Detroit.

Another view of the hanging pieces

The Seattle floral design community’s reimagined, Flower House-inspired botanical art installation

I have two cool Flower House-related segments to share with you today.

First, I want to share a short conversation with photographer Andrew Buchanan of Subtle Light Photography as we discuss his innovative idea to document the sculptural floral art installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, which was led by Lisa Waud of The Flower House for the Seattle design community on January 19th. I featured highlights of the January 19th installation day in an earlier episode here.

Enjoy my quick interview that I recorded with Andrew and then view the amazing time-lapse movie that he filmed and edited – shown below. I’m amazed by the power of visual storytelling through this medium and applaud Andrew’s artistry and generosity. I’m honored and grateful that he volunteered his talents for everyone to enjoy!

Based in Seattle, Andrew Buchanan specializes in architectural photography, interiors photography, helicopter aerial photography, land design photography, and hotel and resort photography in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Andrew offers photography of architecture, interiors, commercial and public spaces, and other built environments to design and marketing professionals, hotels and resorts, developers, magazines, and advertisers needing compelling, graphic photos of The Spaces Where We Live, Work, and Play. Please start on a Gallery page to see some of Andrew’s work or download his PDF portfolio to keep with youRead more about Andrew here.

ENJOY THIS FABULOUS VIDEO, COURTESY OF ANDREW BUCHANAN:

SeattleWholesaleGrowersMarket-LisaWaud-16Jan from Andrew Buchanan on Vimeo.

You can find the video and all of Andrew’s “motion” work at his online gallery here.

READ MORE…

Floral Spectacle in Seattle, inspired by The Flower House (Episode 230)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

“We can imagine it and we can do it,” Diane Szukovathy, Jello Mold Farm & Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She's standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud, artist, innovator, entrpreneur, floral designer and creator of The Flower House (Detroit). She’s standing in front of the base of the tree-inspired sculpture installed by her students at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

A botanical tree grows up the walls and across the ceiling of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Last week I told you about a series of Flower House activities taking place in Seattle with creator Lisa Waud. As I noted, Lisa has been on a West Coast tour which began on January 19th in Seattle, took her to Olympia and Portland, and continues until early next week in California.

As it turns out, I had a scheduled interview be postponed, so today, I’m bringing you a series of clips, short takes and conversations from the various events held at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market when Lisa was here. Please enjoy these sound-bites, beginning with remarks from flower farmer Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, board chair at the Growers’ Market, as she introduced Lisa Waud’s Wednesday morning lecture.

Diane is followed by Lisa’s introductory remarks; then we’ll jump to several short interviews with designers who took part in a Master Design Class led by Lisa. Thirteen designers teamed up to experience a mini-version of the Flower House installation, creating a massive botanical sculpture within the Market’s walls in just under 4 hours on January 19th.

Early in the class, a team started building the "bones" of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called "amoebas"

Early in the class, a team started building the “bones” of the sculptural installation, while other designers worked on the floral pieces, called “amoebas”

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

The team of amazing designers who were led through a 4-hour session with Lisa Waud (lisa is front, far left)

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Love this hot, orange-red amoeba palette!

Led by Lisa, the designers went through the entire process that a Flower House designer probably experienced — from visioning, brainstorming, creative problem-solving and execution. Having watched the process first-hand, I have to say it was nothing less than Spectacular!

One of the fun things Lisa threw into the mix was a series of surprises that added pressure and tested the mettle of the designers, much like the Flower House team endured during the 3 days when they installed the Flower House.

So I played along as a member of the press, who showed up unannounced expecting people to stop what they were doing while I conducted an interview. That was just one of the crazy twists Lisa threw at her students. Another of her surprises was to add a “last minute” delivery of flowering branches — and challenging the designers to figure out how to incorporate those elements into an almost-finished composition.

In the end, well, all I can say is, these designers rose to the challenge and proved that the sum of their parts was far greater than anyone could have individually achieved.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The final installation is gloriously wild and magical.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market's 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation -- check out the I-beams.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s 18-foot-high ceilings are perfect for the installation — check out the I-beams.

Each of the five "amoebas" were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Each of the five “amoebas” were woven with foliage, branches and flowers, with a specific color emphasis.

Another view of the hanging pieces

Another view of the hanging pieces

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba

Details of the pink and fuchsia amoeba, fashioned with flowers and foliage from the farms that supply the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

As you hear a series of clips, I will ask each person to introduce herself and her business, followed by a brief series of questions; and then we move onto another group of designers. This patchwork quilt of a podcast episode concludes with a 10-minute wrap-up session, a debrief with Lisa and the 13 designers, as they compare notes about the challenges and results of their time together.

Here is a list all the participants and their social media links — these are women you will want to follow if you haven’t yet discovered them!

Floressence, owned by Anne Bradfield

Terra Bella Flowers, owned by Melissa Feveyear

Splash Floral and Interiors, owned by Lisa Behringer

Columbia City Bouquet, owned by Emily Kopca

Gather, owned by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

Bash and Bloom, owned by Eleanor Blackford

Lola Creative, owned by Emily Ellen Anderson

Camas Design, owned by Erin Shackelford

First & Bloom, owned by Tammy Myers

Smashing Petals, owned by Keita Horn

Melanie Benson Floral, owned by Melanie Benson

Vases Wild, owned by Tobey Nelson

Casablanca Floral, owned by Maura Whalen

Finally, I have to state publicly, that this entire week of events could not have happened so successfully without the leadership and talents of the three staff of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: Molly Sadowsky, Danielle Bennett, and Agnes Cwalina. They are amazing!

NEWS TO SHARE

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

This happened and it came as a total surprise!

I want to thank the flower farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market for surprising me with a huge honor. Here is a link to the Market’s press release.

On January 19th, Slow Flowers hosted a dinner to honor Lisa Waud and to showcase the floral art installation she and her team had installed earlier that afternoon.

At the dinner, Diane Szukovathy took the mic and announced that the farmers had created a new award, called the Growers Choice Award, and that I was the first recipient. Later she told me it was the most fun scheming she’d had in a long time, which puts a huge smile on my face. I truly was astonished to receive this recognition–and the language is most meaningful because it recognizes “outstanding contributions to revitalize the local floral community.”

80K

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 80,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Music provided by: Audio Nautix

The Story of American Made Vases from Syndicate Sales’ Anne Graves (Episode 229)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate's "Gathering Vase" for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers used Syndicate Sales’ “Gathering Vase” for the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

I promised a few weeks ago that the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour Dates & Farm Venues were about to be announced. And today is the day! The team behind this celebration of American Grown Flowers has been hard at work and in the past few weeks they’ve given me a sneak peek to what’s in store.

2016 tour header As a sponsor of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, it is my privilege to help select a Slow Flowers florist as the featured designer for each event and I’m especially proud that the Dinner Tour is committed to only working with florists who are listed and active on Slowflowers.com. That philosophy is 100 percent in alignment with the other priority of holding dinners on farms that are Certified American Grown.

I hope to see you at one of these very special gatherings to raise awareness and show support for America’s flowers —  from east to west and in between, we’ll be dining at 10 flower farms in the coming year. The announced list includes 7 confirmed venues and I’ll add the other three as we learn of them.

2016 Tour Dates

(3 additional dates and locations will be added soon)

March 12th: Arcata, CA~ Sun Valley Floral Farms

April 13th: Carlsbad, CA ~ The Flower Fields

May 21st: Austin, TX~ Texas Specialty Cut Flowers

August 13th:  Boulder, CO ~ The Fresh Herb Co.

September 14th: Bucks County, PA ~ Thistle Dew Farm

September 17th: New York, NY~ Bear Creek Dahlias

November 5th: Woodland, WA ~ Holland America Flowers

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Lisa Waud (far left, front) and 12 Seattle area floral designers recreated a little of The Flower House magic at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on January 19th.

Here in Seattle this week, I’m part of all the fabulous Flower House activities featuring creator Lisa Waud. If you haven’t seen the announcement, Lisa is on her West Coast tour beginning with a Master Design Class taught yesterday, a wonderful Slow Flowers-hosted dinner last night and a lecture this morning at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine -- captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Lisa Waud of The Flower House and I posed last night with the new issue of Flirty Fleurs magazine — captured by editor Alicia Schwede for Instagram.

Earlier this week, in Lisa’s newsletter to Flower House subscribers, she made a bold, totally inspiring proclamation — and I want to share it with you here:

Lisa wrote this under the heading: “POT & BOX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”

as you probably know, i also have a floral design and horticultural decor business called pot & box. this business will run the farm on the site of flower house, growing gorgeous cut flowers for the detroit-area events and weddings we provide floral arrangements for. more on that as we get closer to breaking ground in spring.

what i’m proud to tell you is that as a result of the immense enthusiasm and support for

the project’s commitment to american-grown flowers and plants, i am making the same commitment with my business. effective immediately, pot & box is committed to sourcing local and american-grown flowers and plants, as well as going foam-free, to reduce our waste and to avoid working with dangerous chemicals. i am really looking forward to designing with domestically-grown and natural products.

if you are looking for a florist with the same commitment, you can find them on the slow flowers directory, of which pot & box is a proud member.

Thanks so much, Lisa !! Your leadership will inspire many, many others in our community!

I hinted at today’s guest during the 2016 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast episode earlier this month when I highlighted American Made Goods for florists as one of the 10 influential themes of the year.

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Today's guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

Today’s guest, Anne Graves, marketing director for Syndicate Sales (left), with her family.

I give Anne Graves, marketing director of Syndicate Sales, a lot of credit for stepping up and placing a USA-made focus on the products her company manufactures.

Syndicate Sales is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of floral hardgoods in the United States, employing nearly 300 people in Kokomo, Indiana. This makes Syndicate Sales the largest family-owned local business in that town.

The company was co-founded by Delmar Earl Demaree, Sr., affectionately called “Pap.” Today, Pap’s granddaughter Laura Shinall serves as president, continuing the values of stewardship, hard work as well as honoring customers, creditors, and employees.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Syndicate has taken new steps to feature and promote its vast selection of made-in-the-USA vases for florists.

I’ve gotten to know Anne over the past few years and I’m very impressed with the decisions she and her colleagues have made to highlight these products in their catalog and on their web site.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

Look for the USA flag icon to find American-made vases and other hardgoods from Syndicate Supply.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers-- called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

In 1946 Syndicate introduced the 1st quick, convenient way to preserve and transport single stem flowers– called Aquapic®. Prior to Aquapics, florists had to rubber band flower stems into a plastic bag of water. Aquapics are still an industry staple.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9" cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender's name.

The Candelite Cardette® was introduced in 1967: A 9″ cardholder designed for prominently displaying the sender’s name.

Enjoy this gallery of arrangements from last year’s Field to Vase Dinner Tour. They combine American-grown flowers with Syndicate’s American-made vases — what a perfect partnership.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the "Footed Rose Bowl" for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers.

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Floral + Foliage used the “Footed Rose Bowl” for her F2V Dinner Tour centerpieces held at Oregon Flowers. (c) Laurie Black Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another view of Elizabeth's beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Elizabeth’s beautiful centerpieces.

Another view of Melissa Feveyear's centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Here’s more of Melissa Feveyear’s centerpieces at Jello Mold Farm.

Syndicate Sales' "Terrariums" showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner.

Syndicate Sales’ “Terrariums” showcased the work of Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studio + Farm at the Washington, D.C. Field to Vase Dinner. (c) Linda Blue Photography for F2V Dinner Tour

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Another peek at the Terrarium designs of Andrea Gagnon.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate "Rose Bowl" for her F2V centerpieces.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events in Michigan used the classic Syndicate “Rose Bowl” for her F2V centerpieces. (c) Heather Saunders Photography

Here's another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Here’s another beautiful centerpiece by Susan McLeary for F2V Dinner Tour in Detroit.

Special Podcast Giveaway. Syndicate is offering one listener a $100 gift of Made-in-USA product. Anne will work directly with the winner to process your choices and ship the goods directly to you.

Here’s how to Enter: Post a comment below by 5 p.m. January 27th and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced in our February 4th episode.

Syndicate Sales’ Catalog for 2016

Syndicate Stars Reward Program for Florists

“Millie’s Musings,” Syndicate’s Blog

Follow Syndicate Sales on Facebook

Follow Syndicate Sales on Instagram

Follow Syndicate Sales on Pinterest

Follow Syndicate Sales on Twitter

Contact Anne Graves at agraves@syndicatesales.com

MORE NEWS

There are lots of cool gatherings going on at this time of the year. We’ve recently heard about the Maryland Flower Farmers meeting, the Ohio Flower Farmers Meet-up and now I’m excited to share the announcement of two days in Oregon taking place next month.

1913891_10205843922083938_750892574376956860_n The first is being held on Saturday, February 20th Oregon State University’s annual Small Farms Conference, held this year in Corvallis, Oregon.

As I understand it, this is the first year that the small farms conference is offering a cut flower farming track — what does that tell you about the growing popularity of local flowers?

On the following day, Sunday, February 21st will be the 2nd annual Pacific Northwest Cut Flower Growers gathering, also at OSU.

I’ve invited Erin McMullen of Raindrop Farms, a past guest of this podcast, to share a preview of these two important events and to let you know how to get involved. She’s been working with  Kathleen Barber and Beth Martin Syphers to plan the Sunday gathering.

I am so excited to hear about the dynamic activity, region by region, where flower farming is exploding. We can attribute this growth to climbing demand from florists and consumers who value their domestic flowers. And isn’t that what we’re all working toward?

Reach Erin McMullen here: raindropfarms@peak.org

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded nearly 79,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Slow Flowers’ Holiday Special with Musician-Flower Farmer Dennis Westphall (Episode 225)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist -- and American flower farmer

Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist — and American flower farmer. Photo (c) Linda Blue

Welcome to our Special Holiday Edition of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Today’s amazing guest, Dennis Westphall, is co-founder of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which he operates with his wife and partner Diane Szukovathy. Diane may be familiar to you because she’s appeared on two prior episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast – and she is the “cover girl” of the 50 Mile Bouquet (along with floral designer Stacie Sutliff).

Dennis is an accomplished mixed media artist and an award-winning singer-songwriter who has nearly 200 original songs to his credit.

I will let you hear the story directly from Dennis, as he shares his inspiring career path, one that takes us from the era when he was a street musician at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to his success as a founding member of the band Tickle Tune Typhoon, to the past decade when he transitioning into a flower farmer, and much much more.

Interspersed between our fascinating conversation, Dennis will perform several songs for your holiday enjoyment.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association's Notable Children's Recording Award.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording Award.

Two are original compositions, both lyrics and music, and two are classic songs that have been given the whimsical Dennis Westphall “new lyric” treatment.

I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do — a gift from Dennis to the flower farming and floral design community to enjoy this holiday week.

Check out more details about Tickle Tune Typhoon’s retro vinyl albums and CDs of the foot-stamping, finger-snapping music that has delighted school children and their families for generations.

Thank you so much for joining me today for this very special episode.

I love how Dennis describes flower farming as a botanical art-supply source for the florists who purchase flowers from Jello Mold.

It’s such an appropriate metaphor for the important, interdependent relationship between flower farmers and floral designers — one that brings success to the entire Slow Flowers community.

Watch a recent segment on Seattle’s KING 5 TV (NBC affiliate) with excerpts of Dennis singing

Dennis has generously shared the lyrics to his original song called “Flowers”:

Recorded by Tickle Tune Typhoon on the CD, All Of Us Will Shine
Music and Lyrics by Dennis Westphall

[Chorus]

Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance for you

Ah the smell of summer roses
And it’s a dandy day to watch a pansy play
Gracefully they grow
Bouquet on tiptoe
Rising in the sky so blue
Sunflower shines on you

[Chorus]

Flowers grow make the world a grand bouquet
Row on row bringing color to our day
Flowers grow a pleasure to the eye
That fragrance oh it fills the air and makes you sigh
Everybody sigh
I’m so gladiola, you’re gladiola too

Flowers aha Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance
Blossoms will dance for you

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Find Jello Mold Farm on Facebook

Find Jello Mold Farm on Instagram

Hear Diane Szukovathy on Slow Flowers Podcast #103 “Marketing Local Flowers the Co-op Way” and on  #215 “Cooperative Wholesaling Among Farmers”

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Next week is our final episode of 2015 and as one year ends and another begins, I will be sharing with you the “2016 Slow Flowers Forecast and Insights.”

In the meantime, I  wish you a wonderful holiday season!

I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Rain Drop Farms of Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Episode 213)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
Erin and Aaron of Oregon's Rain Drop Farms, photographed by Linda Blue at the Field to Vase Dinner on Sept. 12th.

Erin and Aaron of Oregon’s Rain Drop Farms, photographed by Linda Blue at the Field to Vase Dinner on Sept. 12th.

10011796_10153933043017542_6146716397999247836_o Fall is here and news from our Slow Flowers Tribe is exploding!

There are so many things to discuss and update you about this week. You’ll find that news at the bottom of this post, after I introduce you to Rain Drop Farms.

The heart of the Slow Flowers Podcast are my weekly conversations with inspiring voices in the American flower farming and floral community. Please meet today’s guests, Erin McMullen and Aaron Gasky, the dynamic duo behind Rain Drop Farms. Based outside Corvallis, Oregon, in Philomath, this husband-wife team of farmers grows a wide array of perennials and annuals on three acres of healthy soil. Allow me to bring Raindrop Farms  — and the sunshine they spread — to you, with the story of lovely, local, Oregon flowers and how one family makes a beautiful and creative living from their land.

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms.

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms, standing — where else? — in her dahlia fields.

Situated in the foothills of the Oregon coast range, Rain Drop has been providing fresh, local, specialty flowers to the Willamette Valley since 2000.

Passionate about growing flowers, Erin and Aaron count dahlias among their favorites. They grow more than 75 varieties and are always searching out more, as well as a wide variety of perennials and many different annuals.

The kids of Rain Drop Farms.

The kids of Rain Drop Farms with some of their beautiful zinnias.

Theirs is a working family farm. As Erin writes on the web site: “We live here, grow here and play here.  Our children have grown up digging in the dirt and chasing rainbows here.  As stewards of this beautiful place we strive to maintain and promote the diversity here.  We use organic and sustainable practices throughout our farm.  It is our belief that growing this way is just the right thing to do. It is the best for our farm, our family and flowers.”

Aaron Gasky at the Rain Drop Farms' farmers' market stall. Notice he's wearing a Slow Flowers t-shirt!

Aaron Gasky at the Rain Drop Farms’ farmers’ market stall. Notice he’s wearing a Slow Flowers t-shirt!

I adore this couple. We’ve met in person on a few occasions, most recently when they took what I call a busman’s holiday to drive from Philomath up to Mt. Vernon, Oregon, (about 325 miles away) to spend a few days volunteering at the Field to Vase Dinner held on Sept. 12th at Jello Mold Farm. I simply couldn’t let the opportunity pass and am so thrilled that Erin and Aaron agreed to record this conversation.

Harvest time with Erin!

Harvest time with Erin!

Last week, Erin shared with me a fascinating conversation she had with a Farmers’ Market customer and I think it sums up what so many of us have experienced:

We have had so many people ask us this year if we grow all of the flowers.  Of course we say ‘Yes!  Every last one!’ We are always surprised by how many people seem surprised by this!  Yesterday we had a guy come up and ask if we grew all the flowers; the conversation progressed and he tells us that he works with flowers in LA and didn’t realize that there were people like us who actually grew flowers like these domestically.

His business is selling flowers at college graduations and he said that they buy most things from Ecuador and South America, basically saying that domestic flowers were just too pricey.  

Aaron told me later that he could see me high jump onto my soap box, but I let (the customer) know what I thought of that excuse and that supporting American farmers is a more sustainable long term economic strategy.  

He actually took pause and then asked for our contact info and for the name of the Slow Flowers website again, saying that he was intrigued and would like to learn more.  

I’m telling you this story, though I’m sure you hear this kind all the time, because it was so refreshing to me.  Also, because of you and your efforts, I have become more well informed and confident about my convictions that American flower farmers deserve a chance to thrive in a domestic marketplace.  So, thank you!  So glad that we met and that we’ve had an opportunity to get to know each other a little better!  :)”

Thank YOU both Erin and Aaron! I couldn’t agree more.

Follow Rain Drop Farms on Facebook

Follow Rain Drop Farms on Instagram

More news to share!!!

Here is a just-released clip about The Flower House, created by Hello Future Films, that shows recent footage captured during the installation of the preview exhibit earlier this year – it’s being shown to stimulate ticket sales for The Flower House show dates, October 16-18. If you’re anywhere near Detroit, hop on over to see this amazing display!

And then, with much fanfare, I’m so pleased to share with you “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a 7-minute, 39 second documentary produced, filmed and edited by my friends Haejung Kim and her husband Moon, a LA-based couple of creatives whose probono efforts have beautifully captured the story of American grown flowers and the renaissance we are all helping make happen. Click here to read my recent Q&A with Haejung and Moon.

I have a cameo role in the film, but please don’t take this as blatant self-promotion. It’s all about the cause of promoting American flower farms, American flowers and the florists who create such beauty with intent. You’ll also meet flower farmer Paul Furman whose family owns California Pajarosa Roses and Slow Flowers member Teresa Sabankya, of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who was the guest designer at the Field to Vase Dinner held at Pajarosa Roses this past June. The film is beautiful, poignant and I encourage you to watch it and share it widely.

Martha Stewart American Made Taps Two Slowflowers.com Members

11406783_927429313946323_8650643430552798404_n I want to showcase the many people in our community whose work has earned them FINALIST status on the Martha Stewart American Made 2015 campaign.

I am especially excited that Susan McLeary of Passionflower, a Slowflowers.com member based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a finalist – the only floral category finalist – in the Design Category. Check her out here. 

And flower farmer Wanda Fox of Illinois-based Fox & Co. is a finalist in the Craft Category for her beautiful charcuterie boards made from salvaged and reclaimed black walnut lumber. Check her out here.

I also want to put in a plug for my friend Andy Chapman of Stumpdust. Andy is a finalist in the Design Category for Gardening & Outdoor Living, for his unique garden stakes and tools fashioned from salvaged wood. Andy’s work is exquisite and he is the genius behind my American Made shadowbox that I used to display my 2015 Northwest Flower & Garden Show floral entry. You can see photos of that beautiful work here. And please check out Andy & Stumpdust on MSL here.

Get Your Hands on Floral Soil!

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Another Slow Flowers Podcast friend who is near and dear to my heart is Mickey Blake of Floral Soil, the innovative, plant-based, 100% biodegradable alternative to formaldehyde-based flower foam.

Mickey has just introduced a fun new product called “Floral Soil Cupcakes,” a perfect gift or DIY project that is one of the perks in her two-week Indiegogo fundraising campaign that continues through October 10th. Many of us have been waiting for Floral Soil to kick into full-scale production because we can’t wait to get our hands on this earth-friendly design product. By supporting the Floral Soil Indiegogo campaign, for as little as $15 you can get your hands on a cute cupcake-shaped base for planting succulents or arranging flowers – and you can help push Floral Soil to the next level where commercial production of those must-have bricks will begin before the holidays.

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 66,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

American-grown flowers for our nation’s capitol with Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Farm and Studio (Episode 212)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Andrea Gagnon, designing with her just-picked Virginia-grown blooms. (c) Linda Blue

Andrea Gagnon, designing with her just-picked Virginia-grown blooms and Eufloria’s California-grown roses (c) Linda Blue

Earlier this month I spent several days at LynnVale Studios, the farm and art studio owned by Andrea and Lou Gagnon.

The couple graciously hosted the Washington, D.C., area Field to Vase Dinner in their Gainsville, Virginia, flower fields on September 3rd.

Not only was the event a spectacular floral and culinary celebration of local agriculture, it also gave me the chance to spend time observing Andrea’s incredible talents as a flower farmer and designer.

I’ve been wanting to interview Andrea for the past few years and somehow the moment never presented itself for us to record a face-to-face conversation for the Slow Flowers Podcast until now.

Let me tell you a bit more about Andrea:

Andrea Gagnon combines her professional design education with her expertise in floriculture to grow premium flowers and design unique arrangements that range from formal to fantastic. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech.

d0b21daa-5d38-4954-8959-82f937b868a0 Andrea was the invited floral designer whose creations decorated the 2015 Congressional Wine Caucus Reception in Washington, D.C., held at the Library of Congress, where her exquisite floristry featured all American-grown flowers and foliage.

Andrea and Lou manage a thriving art and design studio, floral design studio and commercial cut flower garden surrounded by 100 acres of forest, pasture and crop land.

Founded in 2002, LynnVale is dedicated to the cultivation of creativity and the human spirit through alternative agriculture and fine art.

A feast in the flower fields (c) Linda Blue

A feast in the flower fields (c) Linda Blue

From Field to Vase, with LynnVale Farm and Studios' amazing barn in the backdrop (c) Linda Blue

From Field to Vase, with LynnVale Farm and Studios’ amazing barn in the backdrop (c) Linda Blue

Guests of the Field to Vase Dinner on September 3rd followed Andrea on a farm tour to see her dahlias up close and personal (c) Linda Blue

Guests of the Field to Vase Dinner on September 3rd followed Andrea on a farm tour to see her dahlias up close and personal (c) Linda Blue

The heritage farm is nestled in the middle of an eighth generation family homestead in Northern Virginia. They share this on the LynnVale web site:

“We are committed to sustainable horticulture and ethical labor practices. We hire local high school students, university interns, stay at home parents and floral and garden enthusiasts. For events, we work with some of the best floral designers in the region. We thank you for supporting our effort to keep our farmland open and productive and for helping us cultivate a creative community.”

Lou and Andrea Gagnon (c) Linda Blue

Lou and Andrea Gagnon (c) Linda Blue

A LynnVale centerpiece adorned the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner (c) Linda Blue

A LynnVale centerpiece adorned the tables at the Field to Vase Dinner (c) Linda Blue

Each year, LynnVale grows more than 100 varieties of specialty cut flowers, foliages and herbs for sale at farmers markets and to fine florists across the D.C.- metro region.

In addition, with Andrea as the studio’s creative director, LynnVale provides flowers and arrangements, specializing in eco-friendly events and green weddings.

Our interview was recorded inside Andrea’s somewhat noisy delivery van, which happened to be filled with buckets of just-picked hydrangeas, dahlias, celosia and other amazing fresh, local and seasonal blooms.

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Andrea Gagnon’s winter fantasy design for the “Clock Tower,” by photographer Rebekah Murray

I was in on the secret: those flowers were destined for a very special VIP event in our nation’s capitol – I can’t tell you who ultimately enjoyed them but I am definitely in awe of what Andrea pulled off to fulfill the last-minute request from her floral design client.

A dahlia-centric flower farm (c) Linda Blue

A dahlia-centric flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Thanks so much for joining me today. Please enjoy these photographs of the flowers at LynnVale, of Andrea’s gorgeous floral designs, and of the stunning Field to Vase Dinner held in the fields that she and Lou so lovingly farm.

Read my Q&A profile of Andrea on the American Grown Flowers’ blog.

Learn more about Andrea in this wonderful piece on Flirty Fleurs.

Follow LynnVale on Facebook

Follow LynnVale on Twitter

Follow LynnVale on Pinterest

Follow LynnVale on Instagram

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 66,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

One Month to The Flower House Launch with Floral Savant Lisa Waud (Episode 211)

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
Lisa Waud, pictured at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

Lisa Waud, pictured at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

I love this pic of Lisa Waud (left) and me, taken by Heather Saunders at The Flower House press preview on May 1st.

I love this pic of Lisa Waud (left) and me, taken by Heather Saunders at The Flower House press preview on May 1st.

theflowerhouse_graphic I jumped on the phone a few days ago with Lisa Waud of pot & box, the botanical genius and visionary of The Flower House, the floral art installation that will open to the public in mid-October.

Listeners of this podcast heard my original interview with Lisa this past February when the plans and ideas for The Flower House were in their beginning stages. Since then, The Flower House news has been shared widely, but we can proudly say we heard Lisa’s personal story here first on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Lisa reminded me of the amazing piece created by Hello Future Films, depicting her vision for The Flower House. I want to share it here for you to watch again. I find it so moving, and it makes me so proud to know and support Lisa and this phenomenal project.

Since doors to The Flower House open in exactly one month, on October 16th, Lisa agreed to chat with me for a few minutes to share her updates as preparations are revving up for this phenomenal, must-attend floral event.

We thought this would be a quick 10-minute interview, but the conversation was so engaging and Lisa and I were having so much fun discussing The Flower House that we spoke for a half hour.

Consequently, we’ve adjusted our program lineup and today’s episode is completely devoted to The Flower House and the very special Field to Vase Dinner that takes place on October 16th.

Lisa painted a beautiful picture of what’s to come . . . and here are a few beautiful bonus photographs taken by her cohort Heather Saunders, the official photographer of The Flower House. Your imagination will be stimulated, I promise!

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Here is the link to purchase your ticket to tour The Flower House, Oct. 16-18.

Follow The Flower House on Facebook

Follow The Flower House on Instagram

Follow The Flower House in Twitter

Follow The Flower House on Pinterest

VOLUNTEER at The Flower House

Now is the time to put an X on the calendar and check out flights to travel from your home town to Detroit!

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Add a visit to The Flower House and reserve a seat at the table for The Field to Vase Dinner on October 16th. Ticket details are here – and remember that listeners can claim a $35 discount by using the SLOWFLOWERS promotion code upon checkout!

Make the pilgrimage – it’s one of those experiences you won’t want to forget. Florists and flower volunteers, your talents are needed, too! As Lisa noted, there are many opportunities to get involved in this floral event of the year. I’ll be there and I hope you are, too!

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 64,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Melissa Feveyear of Seattle’s Terra Bella Flowers – Pioneering Local and Sustainable Floral Design for 10 Years (Episode 210)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Love this portrait of Melissa, the crown of her head encircled with flowers.

Love this portrait of Melissa, the crown of her head encircled with flowers.

This week’s guest is my very good friend and “flower-sister” Melissa Feveyear, owner and creative director of Terra Bella Flowers.

Melissa’s appearance on the Slow Flowers Podcast  is especially exciting this week because she and her work will be showcased at the next Field to Vase Dinner, set for Saturday, September 12th at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, just north of Seattle.

Only 10 designers in the country have been invited to create the floral installation for the Field to Vase Dinner series, a very special pop-up, floral-centric dining experience pairing local flowers and local food.

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It is fitting that Melissa is the featured designer this week because she is a longtime customer of Jello Mold Farm and the entire floral community of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

You’ll hear us discuss her role in the Market’s origins as the first cooperative marketplace connecting local flower farmers with local florists.

Melissa, left, on location in her Seattle shop during our stylized photo shoot for The 50 Mile Bouquet. My talented friend Jean Zaputil, right, was our stylist.

Melissa, left, on location in her Seattle shop during our stylized photo shoot for The 50 Mile Bouquet. My talented friend Jean Zaputil, right, was our stylist.

Terra Bella is located in Seattle's Phinney Neighborhood on a busy pedestrian corner.

Terra Bella is located in Seattle’s Phinney Neighborhood on a busy pedestrian corner.

The visionary of Terra Bella Flowers, Melissa combines her obsession with all things rooting and a background in Environmental Studies/Hazardous Waste Management.

After working in the field and becoming aware of the amount of pesticides used in the production of cut flowers, she realized she couldn’t consciously support the conventional side of the floral industry. Melissa created Terra Bella Flowers nearly 10 years ago to prove that the business of flowers can be a beautiful thing, from the time the seed is planted, until her bouquet arrive at your door.

As we discuss in this episode, Melissa and her business are featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet, the book I wrote in 2012 featuring the photography of David Perry. As a special gift to you, I’ve included the free chapter called “Sublime and Sensuous,” which you can download her and read more of her story: MelissaFeveyear_The 50 Mile Bouquet Chapter

Melissa and Tutta Bella appeared in The 50 Mile Bouquet

Melissa and Tutta Bella appeared in The 50 Mile Bouquet

I began that chapter with this description of Melissa:

Curiosity and intentionality are two of her design tools; she selects foliage, blooms, and other fresh-from-the-field elements with the same care as if she personally grew each ephemeral blossom or stem in her own backyard. That connection with nature is vitally important to her artistic philosophy.

“If flowers aren’t locally or organically grown, then they are most likely coming from some huge factory farm,” she said. “My customers do not want flowers dipped in strong pesticides on their dinner table.”

Melissa has been a fabulous supporter of Slowflowers.com from the moment it was just an idea of mine. She has contributed her time and talents, appearing on the 2014 Indiegogo campaign video that helped raise more than $18,000 to launch the online directory (see above).

We’ve also teamed up to promote Slow Flowers on local television and at special events — and I know you’ll find Melissa and her story inspiring.

Another lovely seasonal floral arrangement from Terra Bella Flowers.

Another lovely seasonal floral arrangement from Terra Bella Flowers.

A lush, seasonal summer bouquet from Terra Bella Flowers.

A lush, seasonal summer bouquet from Terra Bella Flowers.

Here’s how you can connect with Melissa and Terra Bella Flowers:

Terra Bella Flowers on Facebook

Terra Bella Flowers on Instagram

Greater Seattle Floral Association

In August, Melissa and I did a pre-F2V Dinner walk-through of Jello Mold Farm with flower farmers Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall - don't they all look happy in the flower fields?

In August, Melissa and I did a pre-F2V Dinner walk-through of Jello Mold Farm with flower farmers Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall – don’t they all look happy in the flower fields?

Seattle-page-001 Thanks for joining me today. If you’re in the Northwest and you want to experience the magic of Melissa’s Northwest Gothic floral installation at the September 12th Field to Vase Dinner, there’s still time. A few tickets are still available and I can’t wait for you to be part of the evening on a flower farm. Follow the link to reserve your seat at the table and use the special discount code SLOWFLOWERS to enjoy a $35 discount when purchasing your ticket.

Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 63,000 times and I thank the progressive floral community for supporting this endeavor. It is nothing short of inspiring to see the listenership increase each week – and we have received only 5-star reviews on iTunes, 22 in all.

Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

SLOW FLOWERS Goes to Washington, D.C.

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

This was a red-letter week! For so many wonderful reasons, which all involve flowers, farming and gardening. Rather than write too much, I’m going to let the photos do the talking:

WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN

lets_move_logo On Tuesday, four of us achieved one of those “bucket list” goals!

Yes, we received permission to photograph the White House Kitchen Garden and its champion, Deb Eschmeyer, head of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” program.

I am so grateful for the people who helped make this happen, including my friends at Certified American Grown and the First Lady’s communications and Let’s Move staff.

With James Baggett, editor of Country Gardens; Nick Crow, the magazine’s art director and photographer Bob Stefko, like me, a frequent freelance contributor to the title, I spent an amazing two hours at this very important kitchen garden. Look for my story in 2016 in the pages of Country Gardens!

Yes, here we are! Bob Stefko (photographer); Nick Crow (art director); James Baggett (editor) and me -- after our whirlwind 2-hour photo shoot at the White House Kitchen Garden!

Yes, here we are! Bob Stefko (photographer); Nick Crow (art director); James Baggett (editor) and me — after our whirlwind 2-hour photo shoot at the White House Kitchen Garden!

Here I am with Deb Eschmeyer, the new director of the First Lady's "Let's Move Program," at the Kitchen Garden which is part of the program she manages. Notice, I've just given her signed copies of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Hopefully, they will inspire!

(c) Nick Crow; Here I am with Deb Eschmeyer, the new director of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move,” at the Kitchen Garden which is part of the program she manages. Notice, I’ve just given her signed copies of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Hopefully, they will inspire!

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(c) Nick Crow. I am seriously in a dream state here. None of us could believe what we were experiencing!

A rainbow of just-harvested organic veggies from the White House Kitchen Garden, just steps from the First Family's residence!

A rainbow of just-harvested organic veggies from the White House Kitchen Garden, just steps from the First Family’s residence!

FARMER-FLORIST PHOTO SHOOT WITH ANDREA GAGNON

On Wednesday, Nick Crow and Bob Stefko joined me at LynnVale Farm + Studios, a Certified American Grown flower farm where we photographed a story with farmer-florist Andrea Gagnon.

It was such a fantastic opportunity to capture Andrea’s farming and design talents. I can’t show you the beautiful bouquets she created because we’re saving them for the print story in Country Gardens, but I can share some lovely flower and farm pics with you. This will be an inspiring and instructional story – you’ll see it in a future issue of the magazine!

With Slowflowers.com member Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Farm and Studios, on location with Country Gardens magazine (c) Nick Crow

With Slowflowers.com member Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Farm and Studios, on location with Country Gardens magazine (c) Nick Crow

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