Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles-based Outdoor Living Expert. As a writer and lecturer, she specializes in interiors, architecture and landscapes. Debra is author of seven books, including Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn's Press, 2013); The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, 2012) and Stylish Sheds And Elegant Hideaways (Random House/Clarkson Potter, 2008). Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Country Gardens, Garden Design, Metropolitan Home, Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens and many other fine publications. Here's what others say about her:
“The local flower movement's champion . . ."
--Ken Druse, REAL DIRT Podcast
“. . . an impassioned advocate for a more sustainable flower industry."
--Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU-FM (NPR affiliate)
“The mother of the ‘Slow Flower’ movement, Prinzing is making a personal crusade to encourage people to think about floral purchases the same way they may approach what they eat: Buy locally grown flowers or grow them yourself.”
--Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee
“Debra Prinzing . . . has done more to celebrate and explain ethical + eco-friendly flowers than I could ever hope to.”
A rainbow of rose colors grown in Oregon by Peterkort Roses. Love this palette!
Love this graphic messaging on the side of Peterkort’s delivery truck.
Hello again and thank you for listening to the newest episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing.
This is part 2 of my back-to-back episodes on American grown roses, in honor of Valentine’s Day, taking place later this week. In our previous episode, I introduced you to Danielle Hahn of Rose Story Farm, based in Carpinteria, California.
Today, I hope you’ll enjoy my conversation with Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal of Peterkort Roses.
Most U.S.-grown roses hail from California, which accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s overall floral production. Yet in Oregon, Peterkort Roses has raised hybrid teas for the floral trade since the 1930s. The Peterkorts, a third-generation Oregon family, currently produces 2 million roses annually, using many sustainable growing practices.
“We have this certain niche, and we really want to support the local floral industry,” says Sandra, granddaughter of Joseph and Bertha Peterkort, who came to Oregon from Germany and started flower farming in 1923, raising sweet peas, gerberas and pansies.
This photo is from a visit I made to Peterkort Roses in May 2012 when Portland TV personality Anne Jaeger produced a segment about sustainable and local flowers for The Oregonian. Sandra Laubenthal and her brother Norman Peterkort pose at right: I’m on the left and Anne is second from left.
Historically, the state had been home to several commercial cut rose growers, but during the past two decades those operations either shifted to other crops or folded altogether. “We are an anachronism, but it seems like the ‘City of Roses’ should have its own local rose grower,” Sandra points out.
Stunning pink rose blooms – perfect for your sweetheart.
Peterkort’s elegant blooms look vastly different from those softball-sized imported ones that are offered by supermarkets, wire services and conventional flower shops every February 14th.
Instead, Peterkort’s 60-plus rose varieties are closer to what you might find gracing a mixed perennial border in the garden. Specialties include the hybrid tea rose, with upright, spiraled petals; a German-bred hybrid tea that features multi-petal characteristics of an old garden rose; and dainty spray roses with many small blooms on a single stem. Today, Peterkort’s 16 hoop houses produce thousands of rose stems, as well as gorgeous Oriental and Asiatic lilies, maiden fern, orchids and new crops like ranunculus and anemone.
More Peterkort pretties!
Designers count on Peterkort as an important local source for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, flower girl wreaths and tabletop arrangements. The versatile color palette begins with pure white roses and ends with ones covered in dark, velvety black-red petals. Unlike unscented imported roses, these have a light, pleasing fragrance. Because Peterkort harvests its flowers one day and sells them the next, their roses are super fresh and, as a result, are long-lasting in the vase.
Fresh roses on the grading table at Peterkort’s greenhouses.
“I’ve been ordering roses from Peterkort for years,” says designer Melissa Feveyear, owner of Seattle-based Terra Bella Floral Design, who specializes in local and organic flowers. With varieties like ‘Piano Freiland’, a red, peony-shaped rose, and spray roses that last several weeks in an arrangement, Peterkort’s blooms make up in quality what they don’t have in size, she says.
“Because the stems are thinner than (those of) imported roses, they’re very easy to use in hand-tied bouquets. You can group a bunch together for really stunning impact without making the stem feel too bulky for a bride to hold.”
A detail from a Valentine’s Day bouquet featuring Peterkort Roses.
Indeed Peterkort is the last Oregon rose grower, but in fact, customers around the country have begun to discover these boutique blooms. A message on the company’s web site helps to explain their popularity: “What can we say about a bunch of people who are still dedicated to growing cut flower roses in the U.S.? . . . We continue because we are obsessed.”
Peterkort’s sustainable practices produce greener blooms:
During the winter months, Peterkort increases the amount of artificial greenhouse light, thereby producing more roses in less space for the same amount of energy. Energy curtains provide additional insulation as outside temperatures drop. The panels are made of Mylar and are suspended from cables across the greenhouse ceiling, containing heat within when closed.
Peterkort uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system of biological controls to curb aphids, spider mites and other predator pests.
Peterkort selects disease-resistant rose varieties and suppresses the spread of fungal diseases by maintaining ideal temperature, humidity and air circulation levels inside the greenhouses and keeping the ground clear of dead leaves and debris.
All packaging is recycled and roses are wrapped for market in newspaper purchased from a local charity.
Here are some of my arrangements from Slow Flowers, featuring roses and lilies grown by Peterkort Roses:
Peterkort lilies with winter greenery. The variety is Lilium ‘Rio Negro’, a hybrid Oriental lily.
Peterkort’s lovely red garden rose ‘Piano Freidland’, makes this autumn arrangement sparkle!
“Supergreen’ is a hybrid tea rose grown by Peterkort – a sublime pale green rose.
A springtime bouquet featuring ‘Supergreen’ with a pastel combination.
For many sweethearts, Valentine’s Day is filled with expectations and anticipation. Yet for followers of the Slow Flowers movement, the romantic holiday is not complete unless the flowers we give and receive come from local farmers who use sustainable practices. Peterkort is one such source. Please ask your local florist to order these domestic roses rather than the steroidal giants that must be shipped from afar, a continent or two from here.
In fact, here is my list of American rose farms. If your local florist says, “I can’t find American-grown roses,” then give him/her my recommendations and ask them to do their homework. You have to care enough to do the right thing.
It has been my pleasure to share with you today’s podcast conversation with Sandra Laubenthal. All photos are (c) Debra Prinzing.
Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 6,500 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.
A beautiful American rose, grown in Oregon by the Peterkort family.
In the grand scheme of things, Whole Foods is supposed to be one of the “good guys,” right? From the point of view of the American flower farming community, I know that many of my farmer-friends sell beautiful, seasonal and local blooms from their fields to Whole Foods stores in their specific regions. This “local sourcing” is done on a region-by-region basis with kudos going to passionate store and floral department managers who develop strong ties to their local farmers.
But at the corporate level, and especially during Valentine’s Day, something else is going on altogether. And I’m not alone in being bothered by it.
Labeled “Whole Trade,” which is the proprietary corporate branding that Whole Foods puts on imported roses, these blooms are as far from local as you can find. They’re shockingly similar in appearance to the bunches of roses being marketed by all the wire services, 1-800 marketers and big boxes.
So the local, sustainable and seasonal banner that the Whole Foods brand is waving above its front doors has some serious flaws when it comes to the flowers they are selling.
Somehow, Whole Foods has decided to market its practice of importing South American roses as a kind of missionary endeavor. Personally, I find it so disingenuous. Last year, the company posted a pro-rose Valentine’s Day story on its blog, featuring a video of children at an afterschool program for the workers at a Colombian rose plantation. The post generated 100 responses, many from frustrated customers and American flower farmers who wondered why Whole Foods had skipped doing business with rose farms here and devoted 100% of their Valentine’s Day marketing budget to feature and promote imports from Colombia and Ecuador?
In response to the customer outcry, Whole Foods’ “Global Floral Buyer” Amanda Rainey made a statement and offered this explanation: “Americans bought more than $189 million stems last year! – domestic rose production is very limited and they’re frequently shipped from overseas.”
So does that makes it right Amanda?
Is it the $189 million you’re interested in or are you justifying importing your roses because everyone else is doing it? Is that right, Whole Foods?
I was one of those 100 people who left a comment last year, urging Whole Foods to reconsider their strategy with the flowers they are buying. I truly expected more from this market leader this year. I can tell you if a company like Whole Foods made a commitment to nurturing relationships with American rose farms, things would change. Sure, Whole Foods might have to take a little less profit, but if Whole Trade is designed to give 1% back from every purchase, apparently they have some margin to work with.
More importantly, so many good, healthy and sustainable benefits would come from that endeavor. In my opinion, there is no good reason more than 97% of the roses sold on Valentine’s Day should be flown in from Colombia and Ecuador. I also don’t believe a company like Whole Foods should be party to it.
So, I ask that if you’re a Whole Foods customer, please join me in letting Whole Foods know that we want a “Whole American” campaign that supports and cultivates relationships with our American flower farmers. With the millions they’ve spent developing the Whole Trade program, I don’t expect it to go away. But if Whole Foods can give 1% back to Colombia, they can also give 1% here at home. If they can give more money to Ecuadorian producers, they can certainly give more money to our American flower farmers. If they can work to ensure better wages and working conditions on Colombian plantations, then they can support flower farming communities’ schools and non-profits here at home. If Whole Food really cares about the environment, then they can limit their need to source flowers that have to be flown into the United States.
So, Please make a comment here on Whole Foods’ current blog post about their Whole Trade roses. Let’s encourage them to do the right thing here and support “Whole American” flowers!
I see quite a profound parallel between the Whole Trade campaign and a brand new Whole American campaign for flowers. I don’t believe that America’s flower farmers expect imports to go away. But they do want a level playing field. They do want a chance to sell more of their irises, sunflowers, lilies and roses to the largest “green” branded supermarket in the U.S.
So to help them get started, here is a list I’ve compiled of the top domestic U.S. rose farms that I’m aware of. It’s simply not fair to say the American flower supply is limited. The supply is only limited by our vision to see the opportunity. Whole Foods should launch a campaign that guarantees that they will source from American rose farms by next Valentine’s Day. That promise will give the flower farmers the ability to increase their production and invest in expanding their volume of beautiful, homegrown American roses.
“Whole American” is a beautiful concept that should be a reality. Wouldn’t be amazing if consumer demand could help Whole Foods do the right thing? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see Whole American roses offered when Valentine’s Day 2015 rolls around?
Hello again and thank you for listening to the newest episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing.
Breathtakingly beautiful roses from Rose Story Farm. American Grown and more fragrant and lovely than anything imported.
It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So I am devoting the next two weeks to talking about American-grown roses. Most people do not realize that of the 233 million rose stems sold during the Valentine’s season, only 3 to 6 percent are domestic. There is something truly wrong with this picture. American roses are being grown in Oregon and California! Next week I will introduce you to Peterkort Roses, located outside Portland . . . a fabulous source for domestic Valentine’s Day roses.
Great Rosarian of the World, and American cut rose grower, Danielle Hahn.
Today, though, we are celebrating Danielle Hahn, owner of Rose Story Farmin Carpinteria, California. Located just south of Santa Barbara, where truly magical growing conditions for all types of flowers seem to exist, Rose Story Farm is a family endeavor specializing in old English, heirloom and garden roses for the specialty cut flower trade.
These roses are field-grown and you’ll notice that many of the varieties listed on the farm’s web site are types of roses found in the home garden. Because of this, they do not bloom all that prolifically in February. That’s okay with Dani and her crew. Their core business serves wedding parties that take place between May and October.
Situated on a former avocado and lemon farm, this visually enticing venue offers many useful lessons in the viability of old-fashioned farming practices in today’s modern agri-business world (the kind of practices that were natural to our great-grandparents, for example.). Yes, this is an organic flower farm where hundreds of varieties of old garden and English roses thrive. It’s also a beautiful agritourism destination that attracts rose lovers from around the world as it educates and inspires everyone who visits to grow and enjoy roses in their own environment.
The setting in this little valley near the Pacific Ocean is quite benign – and so perfect for roses.
There are no fussy hybrid teas here, although there are varieties bred with ancient parentage for cherished traits like their long-lasting perfume. You will find row upon beautiful row of floribundas and climbers, chosen for bloom color, petal arrangement, and most of all – FRAGRANCE (scents like anise, clove, spice, honey, baby powder, a juicy peach, citrus…fill one’s nostrils).
The rose shrubs are planted on gently sloping hills, arranged like a technicolor vineyard. Organic mulch from a nearby mushroom farm cushions and nourishes the soil over their roots.
Tens of thousands of luscious roses are lovingly cared for by a small crew of farmers who know exactly when to harvest them. Can you imagine an east coast bride who simply MUST have a romantic, voluptuous rose bouquet of say ‘Fair Bianca’? It’s possible for her floral designer to order armloads of this vintage rose from Rose Story Farm.
Stunning. Nothing more to say. Drink it in and imagine the awesome fragrance! Rosa ‘Singin’ in the Rain’
Say her wedding is on a Saturday. On Thursday, the roses are picked, hydrated and conditioned, de-thorned and carefully gathered into bundles of 10 stems. The cut ends are packed in wet moss to keep the roses hydrated; the flower heads are gently nestled in tissue paper; each bunch is packed in an ice-filled box and shipped overnight (Fed-Ex; next morning delivery) to wedding and event florists coast to coast. Around the country, on Friday mornings, the boxes of these Carpinteria-grown roses show up at floral studios and flower shops, serving as an enduring gift of romance, nostalgia and sensory delight.
This is the famed ‘Julia Child’ rose, which Dani’s family friend Julia Child selected from plant trials at Rose Story Farm.
This award recognizes major figures in the world of roses and honors their work in creating and promoting the flower. In the past 11 years, the Great Rosarians program has become a famous event in the world of rose growing, breeding, education and beyond. Dani is in excellent company, with past recipients including David Austin himself, Stephen Scanniello, Wilhelm Kordes III, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, and many others. The GROW award will also bring Dani to New York City in June, where she will be hosted by the Manhattan Rose Society for a series of events and lectures.
Click here to learn more about the American Garden Rose Selections, the organization of trial gardens and experts who evaluate new plant introductions for their superior qualities.
Here is Dani’s full bio as it appeared in the Great Rosarians of the World’s press material:
The old horse stables at Rose Story Farm are now the headquarters for this thriving specialty cut flower business.
Danielle Hahn is the owner of Rose Story Farms in Carpinteria, California, a boutique rose farm for cut roses. Because of her skills and dedication to the rose, she has been able to develop a business model that combines growing roses and education.
Danielle has maintained a hands-on approach to satisfy her market and has given this segment of the rose industry a successful working model, which encompasses the small boutique rose nursery and small organic farmer, for others to follow. Her farm is a prime model for the future of small family farms to specialize into niche areas and succeed. She has expanded her business to include the valuable component of educational tours which help inform and inspire her audience with the knowledge to grow healthy roses successfully.
Growing from a lifelong love of flowers and gardening, Rose Story Farm has become the focal point of a wonderful mixture of business and life. From the first day the mission was to produce beautiful, fragrant, romantic garden roses in exquisite shapes and colors. Now more than 120 varieties are scattered over the 15-acre farm.
A gathering of blooms during one of the personalized rose farm tours.
Tours are led by Danielle twice weekly, and a variety of seminars focused on garden design, rose cultivation and flower arranging are given throughout the year. A major theme of the educational effort is to demystify the process of growing and caring for roses. “Roses are magical and forgiving–they repay any effort on their behalf ten-fold,” says Dani. “We named the farm ‘Rose Story Farm’ because the roses are central to some of our most enchanting and memorable experiences. We encourage clients, visitors, and friends to exchange their rose stories with us, and in this way to share what we find romantic, passionate, joyful and sustaining.”
Born in Santa Barbara, California, Dani attended local schools until she entered Stanford University. She graduated three years later with honors with a BA in psychology and a minor in Italian. Having played on the Stanford Tennis Team for three years, and being a ranked national junior tennis player, her first job out of college was managing an exclusive tennis club in Manhattan. Returning to Santa Barbara in 1978, she opened a series of retail stores over the next 10 years in Southern California. At the same time she was the founder and managing partner of an innovative gift business that designed, manufactured, packaged and ultimately delivered gifts for entertainment corporations. With the birth of Geoffrey, her second son, in 1993, she backed away from the majority of her business responsibilities to focus on her family.
Here’s a glimpse of the larger setting at Rose Story Farm. I took this photo last July when attending an industry luncheon in the garden.
Her extensive experiences proved invaluable in 1998 when Danielle and her husband, Bill decided to expand the family avocado farm into a boutique rose business with the addition of 1,000 bushes, all of them garden roses.
The farm now has over 25,000 bushes and since that time Danielle has overseen the steady growth and development to the point where thousands of roses are cut each day and shipped throughout the United States.
Currently she manages all employees and makes the day-to-day decisions for the business, markets the products, selects the roses for production, designs rose gardens for clients worldwide, designs and maintains the farm’s gardens used for weddings and special events, oversees the rose boutique and leads the way on product development–a rose based perfume and body care line are currently in the works.
The display in front of the rose boutique. . . what can I say? It’s so enticing!
Dani is an active member of the Santa Barbara Rose Society, the American Rose Society, and the Garden Club of America in Santa Barbara. She is the founder and sustaining patron of the Carpinteria Community Service Toy Fund, a non-profit organization that raises money each year for the families of disadvantaged field workers in the Carpinteria Valley.
The excitement and beauty of this enterprise and of Danielle herself has been featured in Santa Barbara Magazine, Wine Country Living, Sunset, Victoria Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Veranda, and the Wall Street Journal.
She has had articles published in the 2012 American Rose Society Annual on both flower arranging and garden design. Television coverage of Rose Story Farm has been presented on “California Heartland,” a PBS special, and on NBC’s Today show. Most recently, Martha Stewart Living media filmed a segment on the farm for their online American Made series (see above). In addition to her weekly tours at the farm, Danielle is a frequent featured speaker at events that are focused on the beauty of the garden, and the special role of roses in our daily lives.
The lemon rose cake. It is quite delicious!
Rose lovers are invited to visit to Rose Story Farm on a Wednesday or Saturday and spend $38-$45 for a small group tour, which is followed by a delicious garden luncheon.
A gift shop filled with rose-themed and garden-inspired ware from Europe and beyond (including a few antiques) is worth a visit.
To satisfy my current made-in-the-USA obsession, I picked up a cast-aluminum, rose-bloom-shaped bundt pan so I could bake the Rose Story Farm lemon cake.
A small vignette of just-picked roses, spotted on my tour of the flower fields.
This rose caught my eye, dazzling against the blue Carpinteria sky.
Another beautiful floral arrangement at our summer luncheon.
It has been my pleasure to share my podcast conversation with Dani Hahn with you. All photos are (c) Debra Prinzing, except for the portrait of Dani Hahn, courtesy of Rose Story Farm.
Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 6,000 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.
I took this photo of Steve and Gretel Adams in August 2012. They’re amazing – and I’m so happy to share their conversation with you today! (c) Debra Prinzing
In the workshop . . . (c) Debra Prinzing
Gretel and Steve Adams of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio, are young flower farmers whose creativity and determination to earn a living from their land is truly inspiring.
This young couple didn’t grow up in the agricultural world; so naturally, they consider themselves serendipitous farmers. A food-farming apprenticeship sparked Steve’s passion for farming. And Gretel was blessed to inherit a 10-acre lot outside Columbus that her father bought in the 1980s.
As children, they both loved to be outside playing in the dirt and connecting with nature. As young adults, Steve and Gretel’s farming skills continue to flourish with their involvement in the U.S. cut flower industry. They are trying to live life as sustainably as possible using organic practices, composting to make soil amendments, and heating their house with wood, growing their own food and making natural soaps, among other things.
Gretel, touring me through the growing fields. (c) Debra Prinzing
Sunny Meadow Flower Farm is filled with fields of beautiful flowers and four greenhouse structures help Steve and Gretel extend the growing season in Ohio.
This farm-based business is established on a 10-acre parcel just inside the Columbus city limits.
They recently told me about the way their acreage is used:
“This coming season, our field space will include about 4 acres in production — plus 1 acre for our perennial and greenhouse space, making for a total of 5 acres. The remainder of the tillable land will be rotated with cover crop to maintain soil health.”
Sunny Meadows’ flowers are sold at three seasonal farmers’ markets in Columbus and through Whole Foods stores in the region. Gretel is also a talented floral designer and the farm has added wedding floral design services, which is one of the most successful sources of income for the farm.
Please enjoy our conversation – I know you will be impressed with Gretel and Steve, and you’ll find their passion contagious.
Steve and Gretel will be teaching a workshop called: “What to Grow and Why,” addressing how to choose which perennials to grow & which annual varieties are the best producers?
And thanks to Sunny Meadows Flower Farm for providing these wonderful images that you can enjoy here:
A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm wedding, with bride Pilar and groom Matt – and their beautiful seasonal & local Ohio-grown flowers
A gorgeous boutonniere using Sunny Meadows’ awesome lisianthus — for another local wedding – with bride Genevieve & groom Todd.
On the farm . . .
Gretel (right) and friend – showing off their floral crowns.
A sense of the beauty of this farm – as seen in one section planted with salvia.
What an organized place – rows of field-grown flowers and well-appointed greenhouses.
A Sunny Meadows Flower Farm bouquet
Be still, my heart~ A beautiful bouquet by Gretel, using flowers she and Steve grew.
Grown & designed by Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.
Another lovely bridal bouquet from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.
A sublime color palette for a gorgeous bouquet last July.
I’m so pleased to have been able to introduce you to Gretel and Steve. On their web site, they write:
“Our mission is to educate the public about the quality and vase life of local flowers. Although you can get flowers for dirt cheap flown in from the Equator, the workers there do not have the same rights and protections and there are fewer restrictions on chemical use. So who knows what you are really buying? As a farm specializing in all naturally-grown fresh cut flowers, we are trying to show people just how important supporting your local flower farm really is.”
Because of your support as a listener, listeners have downloaded this podcast nearly 6,000 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.
Something really exciting happened last week – my friends at the San Francisco Flower Mart, the premiere flower market in the U.S., came onboard as presenting sponsors of the Slowflowers.com directory. This is my other passionate project, and it dovetails nicely with the Slowflowers Podcast.
In the works right now, Slowflowers.com is a free online directory to help you find florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers who are committed to American grown flowers.
Inside the San Francisco Flower Mart: Connecting Bay Area florists and flower lovers with fresh, seasonal and local blooms.
I happened to be working in SF this past Monday, so I stopped by the management office and grabbed General Manager Bob Otsuka and Jeanne Bose, the SFFM’s marketing/promotions director and social media strategist, for a quick conversation, recorded as a Bonus to the Slow Flowers Podcast. Listen to what Bob and Jeanne say about the Market’s decision to bring their support to the Slowflowers.com launch.
It’s fascinating to learn about the history of this amazing center for locally grown flowers – and inspiring to know that we’re on the same path to promote more American Grown Flowers to the floral industry and consumers alike.
Seasonal blooms, six days a week.
There’s a huge selection of local California-grown roses . . . in awesome colors~
Here is a little slice of history, as told on the Market’s web site:
With beginnings paralleling the growth and development of the San Francisco Bay Area, the origins of the San Francisco Flower Mart go back to the late 1800’s when land was plentiful. Local flower growers could bring their product to Lotta’s fountain in downtown San Francisco three days a week, selling their product to local flower shops. [Note:Lotta's fountain is located at the intersection of Market, Geary and Kearny streets in downtown San Francisco.]
A need for a centrally located market bringing together the three ethnically diverse groups of flower growers was fulfilled with the opening of a market located at 5th and Howard Streets in 1924. As flower growers expanded production areas outside of the Bay Area and as product from other parts of United States came in, the need for a larger more modern permanent facility led to the design and construction of our current market at Sixth and Brannan Streets in the South of Market area of San Francisco.
The grand opening of the San Francisco Flower Terminal in September 1956 marked the establishment of an industry icon. Today, officially known as the San Francisco Flower Mart, we now have over 60 vendors, purveyors of cut flowers, potted plants, blooming plants and floral supplies. We have evolved from being a “growers” market to being a marketplace for floral wholesalers. Product, which at one time was only from the immediate Bay Area, now comes from the far reaches of the world.
As you will hear in this podcast interview, more than a century after it was established, the San Francisco Flower Mart continues to reflects the character of locally-grown flowers and the farmers who grow those blooms.
In addition to family flower farms selling direct to the floral industry and consumers, you will also find wholesalers who stock flowers from growers in other parts of California, as well as Oregon and Washington. And while people in “the flower biz” are served here as wholesale customers six days a week, some days as early as 2:00 a.m., the DIY flower lover/designer is also welcome to shop – after 10 a.m.
A bustling center for flowers – with more than 60 vendors.
Racks of California-grown hyacinths recently offered by Torchio Nursery, a vendor at the San Francisco Flower Mart.
This is truly a flower mecca and you must add it to your flower bucket list if you haven’t been to visit. I’m thrilled to feature the San Francisco Flower Mart and doubly thrilled that this important center for local flowers will be a Presenting Sponsor on the Slowflowers.com site for the year to come, connecting More American Flowers with Customers, One Vase at a Time.
All photographs used here, courtesy (c) Jeanne Boes, SF Flower Mart
Above is just one of the many supportive messages I’ve received in the past three weeks since launching the Indiegogo campaign to help me complete the launch of the Slowflowers.com site.
So fun to see this project on the big screen at last night’s Indiegogo Seattle Event!
It has been so gratifying to run my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the amazing resource that has such an inspiring tagline: “Fund what Matters to You.” Truly, if you are planning on taking this path to help raise funds for your own passion and dreams, this is the company to work with. They’re amazing!
SO many people – friends, family, fellow advocates in the Renaissance of the American Grown Flower Farm – and more, have contributed funds large and small.
Even more people loyally promote this project on their own social networks, like my Facebook friend Annie Haven of Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew who constantly gives me a thumb’s up or an encouraging comment or re-post. It means so much.
Or my number-one supporter Kasey Cronquist, CEO of the California Cut Flower Commission, who has been picking up the telephone to call and encourage someone else to get involved.
Or, like my friend Susan Appleget Hurst, some are sending an email to an entire networks of people, encouraging them to view flowers as part of agriculture. Thanks so much to you all!
Here are some stats:
Funding goal: $12,000 (by February 19th)
Funds contributed to date: $10,050 – that’s 84% of the goal!
Number of people who’ve contributed: 145
Number of states represented: 29
Number of countries represented: 3 (U.S., Russia and the Netherlands)
There is one opinion that occasionally bubbles up in our industry that the idea of supporting local and seasonal flowers is “something that happens on both coasts” and that it is nonexistant in the central part of our country.
Let’s debunk that misperception right now. The Slowflowers.com supporters in Texas, Iowa, Montana, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, Tennessee and New Mexico believe in the importance of American Grown flowers. They’ve joined supporters from East Coast and West Coast states — Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington, D.C., Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and Massachusetts! That’s seriously impressive and such a wonderful representation of flower farming, floral design and demand for local flowers.
Thanks to Rochelle Greayer of the Studio G Blog for this wonderful post. I love that she describes Slowflowers.com as “an online farmers’ market for flowers.”
Thanks to Indiegogo’s Bret Harris and Amanda Hat for inviting me to be part of their Seattle Event last night. It was pretty fun to be with other fans of Indiegogo, including Joya Iverson who successfully raised $29,525 for her new venture Tin Umbrella Coffee Roasters - a whopping 160% of her original goal of $18,500.
Here are some more fun photos from last night’s event:
I brought a bouquet of local flowers – from farms in Washington, Oregon & California – to illustrate my passion for American Grown. . . it was a perfect “show-and-tell” and this guy won the bouuqet as a giveaway (his birthday is this weekend). Real men love local flowers!
From left: Amanda Hat from Indiegogo, me, Joya Iverson of Tin Umbrella Coffee, and Bret Harris from Indiegogo.
That’s it for now~ I’ve got lots more to do before this campaign ends . . . AND before we launch Slowflowers.com. Hoping to have a *beta* (soft launch) to share in the coming weeks. That’s the plan and my design and programming team is working tirelessly to finish. Stay tuned!