Safeway Launches Certified American Grown Debi Lilly Bouquet

Bouquet Debuts in Stores During American Grown Flowers Month

They say timing is everything! That’s absolutely the case when it comes to the recently released Certified American Grown Debi Lilly bouquet, now available at Safeway’s Northern California stores.

After all, the bouquet began arriving in stores in July, which Congress has declared American Grown Flowers Month. Perfect timing.

The design features lilies, gerberas and lisianthus and is available in a range of hues – pinks, yellows and oranges. All flowers in the bouquet are grown by Pyramid Flowers in Oxnard, California, a Certified American Grown flower farm and marketed by B-Fresh Floral.

“I love these beautiful bouquets and soft summer color palettes to help celebrate American Grown Flowers Month,” shares Lilly. “This Certified American Grown bouquet is a Debi Lilly dream come true. I’m so proud to share this design and support our American flower-farming families.”

Lilly first announced plans for the Certified bouquet at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner held at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California, in April. From there, Crystal Hedgpeth, floral sales manager for Safeway’s Northern California Division, worked with Lilly and Albertson’s corporate team, to launch the program.

 

“This Certified American Grown Debi Lilly Bouquet is a wonderful addition to our flower program and quickly becoming a customer favorite,” explained Hedgpeth. “Since our pilot launch earlier this month, we’ve already sold over 5,000 bouquets which actually helped drive a positive sales lift in our bouquet category across all of our stores.”

To be labeled Certified American Grown, the bouquet is required to be 100 percent American Grown Flowers and assembled in the United States. The farm providing the flowers is also required to go through a third-party audit (administered by Where Food Comes From out of Castle Rock, Colorado) to ensure the flowers provided are American Grown.

“This is just the beginning,” said flower farmer Fred Van Wingerden of Pyramid Flowers. “We love working with Debi and Safeway and look forward to producing our farm-fresh flowers for customers everywhere.”

Declared in 2017 and again in 2018, July continues to be officially recognized by Congress as American Grown Flowers Month. The Debi Lilly bouquet will continue to be offered by Safeway throughout the year and going forward.

Certified American Grown Celebrating Its Fourth Anniversary

Coalition Represents Over Half of All Domestically Grown Flowers

Certified American Grown, a unified and diverse coalition of U.S. flower farms that includes small and large farms in multiple states nationwide, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month.

Click on the photo above to visit americangrownflowers.org and learn more about Certified American Grown and all 57 farms in the program.

Today, the coalition includes 57 farms that represent over half of all U.S. cut flower and foliage production.

Launched in July 2014, Certified American Grown is now the largest and most successful consumer-facing brand that promotes the origin of flowers. In just four years, the brand has become a widely sought-after guarantee, appreciated by retailers, designers and consumers alike.

More than just a logo, farms Certified American Grown farms participate in a third-party  certification process that guarantees the flowers and foliage adorned with the American Grown logo were grown locally and meet established quality, freshness and sustainability standards.

Certified American Grown takes its Field to Vase Dinner Tour to flower farms across the country where guests experience the beauty of the flower farm. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Certified American Grown is also the host of the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, now in its fourth year. The dinner tour is a series of intimate, must-attend gatherings that place seasonal, local and sustainable American Grown Flowers at the center of the table where locally grown food, beer and wine is served by a farm-to-table chef. Each artisan-style dinner is held at a breathtaking venue — an American flower farm that encourages guests to experience the age-old art and science of flower farming.

Certified American Grown was featured in the September issue of Floral Management as the 2017 Marketer of the Year for the success of the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour to promote American Grown Flowers.

 

In 2017, the dinner tour earned the 2017 Marketer of the Year Award from the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Floral Management magazine. The prestigious award recognizes original, highly successful marketing campaigns that increase awareness and the overall sales of cut flowers.

Today the Certified American Grown logo is the most widely used consumer facing brand promoting origin in the floral industry.

 

And just this June, the U.S. Senate declared July “American Grown Flowers Month.” The resolution supporting the designation notes that Senate recognizes: that purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy; that growing flowers and greens in the United States is a vital part of the U.S. ag industry; and urges “all people of the United States to proactively showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States in order to show support for our flower farmers, processors and distributors as well as agriculture in the United States overall.”

 

To help spread this important recognition and awareness, Certified American Grown is working with retailers across the country on in-store promotion programs to help consumers identify and celebrate our homegrown blooms all month long. Photo provided by Fry’s Food Stores.

More than 1,200 stores are promoting American Grown Flowers Month this July!

It’s Here! Our Most Important Publication of the Year!

Welcome To the 2018 American Grown Farm & Flower Guide

It feels like Christmas morning here at Certified American Grown!

Why? We just received the 2018 American Grown Farm & Flower Guide, perhaps our most important publication of the year.

Our largest and most beautiful edition yet! You’ll want to make sure to get a copy for yourself.

The guide features profiles of America’s flower farms, a floral arrangement gallery, an illustrated glossary of ALL American Grown Flowers and a national directory of hundreds of flower farms from throughout the United States. It’s chock-full of flower photos, examples, descriptions and stories from America’s flower-farming families.

This resource is a must-have for wholesalers, florists and flower-lovers everywhere – and it’s never been more vibrant and informative.

Subscribers to Florists Review and SuperFloral magazines will receive the guide with their September issue, but if you just can’t wait or would like one now, just let us know! (Special thanks to our friends at Florists Review for helping us produce this beautiful guide!)

Email our very own Andrea Philpot at andrea@americangrownflowers.org to get one headed your way!

Breathtaking doesn’t begin to describe it …

Flower Farmer Beth Van Sandt Discusses the Doors That Opened Post-Dinner Tour

 

Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska, was in on the ground floor of the Certified American Grown Flowers movement. As Van Sandt puts it, she saw the value of the certification early on and knew there would be benefits from American flower farmers coming together under a single brand.

Beth Van Sandt and her husband, Kurt Weichhand on their peony farm in Homer, Alaska.  Photo by Joshua Veldstra Photography.

In fact, Scenic Place was the first farm in Alaska to become Certified American Grown.

Left to Right; Jerry Hagstrom of the Hagstrom Report, Tim Dewey of Delaware Valley Wholesale, first lady Melania Trump, Kasey Cronquist, administrator for Certified American Grown, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies and Kurt Weichhand of Scenic Place Peonies.

But that was just the starting point for Van Sandt who has since leveraged nearly every aspect of the brand, including attending the First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C., that features all American Grown Flowers and hosting an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on her farm in 2017.

The tables were filled with flower-loving guests at the Scenic Place Peonies Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Joshua Veldstra Photography.

And oh the connections and opportunities that came from that dinner!

“The exposure the Field to Vase Dinner gave our farm made us recognizable and gave us a seat at the table industrywide. People know who we are now,” Van Sandt explains. “Wholesalers who may not have looked at us in the past see us as a reputable farm today.”

 

While volunteering for the the First Lady’s Luncheon in 2017, VanSandt met floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore. The two hit it off, and later Shore agreed to be the designer for Field to Vase Dinner at Scenic Place Peonies. “Sitting at the table and meeting the designers, that was a great opportunity and it helped us promote the dinner tour at the farm,” Van Sandt recalls.

(Photo: Beth Van Sandt and Kelly Shore, of Petals by the Shore, designing arrangements for the First Lady’s Luncheon)

 

And when the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour came to Homer, the real fun (and exposure) began!

Florists Review did a feature on the dinner and included lots of images from the farm.

While in Alaska, Shore did a photo shoot featuring Van Sandt’s peonies for the Slow Flowers section of Florists Review, helping to further the exposure of Alaskan peonies for the industry to see.

And, last but not least, thanks to an introduction to Cal Poly Pomona Plant Sciences Department Chair Valerie Mellano, wife of Mellano & Company’s Mike Mellano (both who attended the dinner at Scenic Place Peonies), Van Sandt was able to start an internship program with four Cal Poly students.

Cal Poly students are spending their summer interning at Scenic Place Peonies learning about flower farming as a result of the connections made during the Field to Vase Dinner at Beth’s farm.

But how does Van Sandt know hosting the dinner tour stop was worth it?

“My phone blows up continuously with requests and my email inbox is always full. That’s proof that it worked. And it correlates with more cuts and more shipments out the door,” Van Sandt says.

Since hosting the dinner last summer, Van Sandt has continued her efforts to raise the profile of her Certified American Grown peonies, including having her Certified American Grown-branded truck in the Homer Fourth of July parade, along with Cal Poly interns wearing flower crowns!

And she shares the unique benefits and opportunities that come from connection to the brand with all who will listen.

During American Grown Flowers Month, You Can’t Miss Alaskan Peonies

There’s nothing like a field of peonies to positively impact your mood.  Even their names can brighten your day: Sequestered Sunshine, Blaze, Festiva Maxima.

Photo: Alaska Peony Cooperative

The peony’s beauty is certainly at the root of its popularity status with flower fans and brides. Available in every color but blue, the flower is popular in bridal bouquets (they are seen as a symbol of good luck) and are the superstars in summer arrangements and in bunches to bring home.

Photo: Jacqueline Patton Photo

Alaskan peonies just happen to be in all their glory in July – which is also American Grown Flowers Month! So we’re celebrating these gems, along with the thousands of other varieties grown right here in the U.S.

Photo: Arctic Alaska Peony

Here’s what you need to know about American-Grown peonies:

Alaska’s warm summers and perpetual daylight are the fuel peonies need to grow larger, bloom more vibrantly and enjoy a growing season that’s three weeks longer than in other locations. But it’s the state’s famous cold winters that are the secret ingredient: herbaceous peonies need a minimum of 400 hours of temperatures below 40 degrees and tree peonies need between 100 and 300 hours in that colder ground in order to flower.

Photo: Alaska Perfect Peony

The Alaska Peony Cooperative, formed in 2015 to help support the state’s burgeoning flower industry, has grown from a handful of farms with fewer than 1,000 stems to nearly a dozen growers expecting to sell a total of 40,000 stems this year.

“The secret is out: Our peonies are fantastic,” explains farmer Martha Lojewski.

Scenic Place Peonies’ delivery truck sports a new truck wrap showcasing the beauty of these stunning blooms, while proudly waving the flag for Certified American Grown.

Certified American Grown peony farms include Alaska Peony Cooperative, Alaska Perfect Peony, Arctic Alaska Peonies Co-op, Boreal Peonies, Cool Cache Farms, Giggly Roots Gardens, Joslyn Peonies, Scenic Place Peonies and Slimtree Farm.

Look for Certified American Grown peonies throughout American Grown Flowers Month in July and into August. You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

The East Coast’s Largest Flower Farm Becomes Certified American Grown

Bloomia, the largest cut flower farm on the East Coast, has become the latest Certified American Grown Farm.

With a mission of spreading happiness via sustainably grown flowers, Bloomia is committed to providing consumers with top-quality flowers at affordable prices that are grown in conscious ways. Bloomia even has a Sustainably Manifesto to back its commitment.

Bloomia grows nearly 100 million flowers a year, including tulips (year-round), hyacinths, muscari and peonies (seasonally) in 46 acres of temperature-controlled greenhouses. Most of the flowers are grown hydroponically in greenhouses equipped with biological control systems and incorporating precise techniques to avoid chemical use.

In addition to sustainability and energy-efficiency efforts, Bloomia believes in giving back. With initiatives like Blooms for Hope, the Field of Tulips and The Bloomia Market, Bloomia and its customers have donated thousands of dollars to help communities in need through amazing partners charities like DC Central Kitchen that aims to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.

If the Bloomia brand sounds familiar, that’s because the farm’s flowers can be found at Wegmans, Whole Foods, Kroger, Woolworths, Kroger, Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s.

“Bloomia is a global company with operations in four continents, with each having the same commitment and focus at the local level. Our passion drives us to deliver the best possible floral experience to the end consumer,” says Evan Kerkhoven, sales and purchase manager at Bloomia. “Becoming Certified American Grown is an honor. American Grown embodies the same goal and passion for flowers we thrive on every day.”

Bloomia joins 56 other farms that have become Certified American Grown, giving consumers confidence in the source of their flowers and assuring them that the flowers they purchase come from a domestic American flower farm.

“This is very exciting,” shared Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist, “Certified American Grown has become the most prolific origin-based brand in the floral industry. With Bloomia’s certification, the program now represents over half of all domestic production of cut flowers and greens.”

If you want to learn more about Bloomia, you can visit their website, blog or follow them on Instagram!

Why not join the #originmatters movement by becoming the next Certified American Grown farm? There’s no better time to get on board than during July – American Grown Flowers Month!

 

Dinner Guests Get a Hands-On Flower Experience

F2V Boutonnière Bar is a Guest Favorite!

At every American Grown Field to Vase Dinner, guests are invited to visit a boutonnière bar where they can design a custom floral “wearable” with flowers from the farm they’re visiting.

Beautiful blooms at the boutonnière bar await guests of the Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner. Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography.

This hands-on experience is one of the most popular aspects of the event!

Making their own boutonnière gives guests a chance to be creative and they absolutely love it.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography.

Guests love learning how to create a boutonnière (or corsage), adding in their own personal style and then getting to wear the floral swag they create for the rest of the event.

Smithers Oasis/Floralife is the celebrated sponsor of this guest favorite.  Photo by Eye Connoisseur Photography.

At each stop, the available flowers and foliage at the bout bar, kindly sponsored by Smithers-Oasis/Floralife, change, reflecting the blossoms and greens grown at the farm we’re visiting.

Guests have designed with Florida ferns, California protea and Alaskan peonies, to name a few. And when they don they’re creations, we’ve noticed they have a bit more spring in their step or swag in their swagger.

Plus they’ve learned a new skill they can use again and again for other special events – always using Certified American Grown Flowers, of course.

Just one more way guests, and our amazing sponsors like Smithers-Oasis, are getting involved in this amazing dinner tour that’s crisscrossing the country!

 

We’re headed to Star Valley Flowers in Soldier’s Grove, Wisconsin, on Sept. 8.

You don’t want to miss this next stop!

 

Senate Declares July ‘American Grown Flowers Month’

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution on June 12 designating July as “American Grown Flower Month.”

The resolution notes that the U.S. Senate recognizes: that purchasing flowers grown in the United States supports the farmers, small businesses, jobs and the U.S. economy; that growing flowers and greens in the United States is a vital part of the U.S. ag industry;  and urges “all people of the United States to proactively showcase flowers and greens grown in the United States in order to show support for our flower farmers, processors, and distributors as well as agriculture in the United States overall.”

American consumers spend almost $27 billion per year on floral products each year. While the majority of consumers would prefer to buy homegrown flowers, only 20 percent of the flowers sold here were grown in the United States.

Flower farmers met with Senator Diane Feinstein in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“California grows nearly 75 percent of American-grown cut flowers – including tulips, gerbera daisies, lilies, irises and gladiolas,” said Senator Feinstein. “Americans want to support local businesses and growers, but often are unaware the flowers they’re purchasing were grown outside of the United States. Our resolution will help raise awareness and encourage consumers to look for the ‘Certified American Grown’ label before buying flowers.”

Flower farmers met with Senator Dan Sullivan in February in Washington, D.C. The Senator recently sponsored Senate Resolution 540 declaring July American Grown Flowers Month.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

“Alaska’s moderate weather and cool soil conditions allows for a growing season that brings beautiful American grown flowers to market throughout the summer,” said Senator Sullivan. “In Alaska, our local peony growers – family owned farms across our state – provide some of the most beautiful and saturated blooms to weddings and events around the country; well after the traditional growing season has passed in other states. American Grown Flower Month is only one small acknowledgment of the value and support we share for these local small business owners, but an important one.”

Certified American Grown Administrator Kasey Cronquist noted the importance of the national designation recognizing America’s hardworking flower-farming families. “We’re honored to have earned this important recognition and we join flower farmers nationwide in celebrating this wonderful recognition,” said Cronquist. “Naming July American Grown Flowers Month also opens the door for florists and wholesalers to continue to discuss the virtues of homegrown flowers – a point that’s resonating with consumers who want the flowers in their homes to be as fresh and sustainable as the food on their plates.”

To learn more about American Grown Flowers Month, visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org/AGFM

 

Meet the American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest Judges

Distinguished Panel to Review Competitors Store Displays

April showers will bring July’s joy as America celebrates American Grown Flowers Month to recognize the economic and cultural impact of cut flower and greens farmers.

That’s why Certified American Grown is working with farmers and retailers nationwide to create colorful in-store promotion programs that help consumers identify and appreciate homegrown blooms throughout July.

More than 1,200 stores have signed up to participate in the campaign so far.

And that’s just the start of who is onboard with our national contest built around this month-long recognition. Meet our distinguished judges who will rate the in-store displays that promote American Grown Flowers Month:

 

Travis Rigby is publisher of Super Floral magazine, Florists’ Review and president of FlowerBox and PosterGarden.com, creative presentation sites he founded earlier this decade. A resident of Portland, Oregon, Rigby has a degree in communications from the University of Utah.

 

 

 

J Keith White, AIFD, is the creative director for American Floral Trends Forecast and AANDK Productions. A floral designer himself, he’s known in the industry for combining modern and traditional floristry into a diverse art form. Most Americans would recognize his work with extravagant floral designs for the official cars of the Rose Parade each New Year’s Day.

 

 

 

 

Tom Bowling, AIFD, PFCI, is another Rose Parade veteran, serving since 1996 as both a designer and eventually a judge for the spectacular floats. Today, the education director for Syndicate Sales (a sponsor of the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour) in Fairfield, Ohio, Bowling has a 37-year history with the floral industry, including owning his own shop for 20 years and serving as a past president of AIFD.

 

Contest participants will be featured in Super Floral and Florists’ Review, with winners of the cash prizes enjoying the publications’ spotlights. Additionally, Certified American Grown will feature and promote all participants on social media, in a press release and on its blog and website.

Stores will be judged on the quality and beauty of their displays, their ability to increase flower sales in July and their efforts to promote the celebration overall, as well as the Certified American Grown brand.

It’s not too late to be involved with American Grown Flowers Month. Visit AmericanGrownFlowers.org/julycontest/ to learn more and register!

A Mountain of Flowers And Fun

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers Field to Vase Dinner

 

The reveal of the dinner’s location was worth the drive up the mountain.

If the majority of Americans are unaware of where their flowers come from, it’s probably safe to say they can’t imagine what our farmers are willing to do to grow them. On April 7, the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour kicked off at Resendiz Brother’s Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, where 154 guests were invited to experience an evening on Mel Resendiz’s flower farm.

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This isn’t your grandma’s flower garden.

In fact, flower farming in this region is really an extreme version of flower farming, harvesting high in the hills, in extremely steep terrain, always mindful of the many rattlesnakes that inhabit the hillsides. So, our guests (many traveling in from throughout the country) were in for a special treat, but they would all have to go the extra mile (or five) in order to experience this extraordinary dinner spot.

And it didn’t disappoint.

High atop the hills of Fallbrook, guests enjoyed expansive views from the flower fields at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers.

After a 25-minute drive up the side of a mountain, guests were greeted with a glass of champagne as they took in the incredible views from atop the hills of Fallbrook and learned that they were standing in the middle of one of Mel’s flower fields. Bales of hay were used to help prevent guests from falling down the hill where Mel’s pincushions were growing. The concern wasn’t for the flowers, but the safety of the guests. Yet, these steep hillsides are the same fields that Resendiz Brothers produces its beautiful protea on.

Guests were invited to find their seat, make their own boutonnière and pet the baby goats.

Guests were in awe.

Beautiful farm fresh flowers adorned the tables, welcoming guests to a night of food, wine and flowers.

Floral designer Rene van Rems worked for two days with a team of people to prepare the arrangements and design installations for the event, pulling flowers right from the fields as needed. Rene’s vision went well beyond the tablescape, designing beautiful floral installations throughout the dinner site, including the decorating of “The Limo” that became a social media hit with guests who joyfully posed in front of  the old abandon Dodge truck that had been converted to an RV decades ago.

Floral designer Rene van Rems was responsible for the beautiful tablescape and floral design installations.

Flower farmer Mel welcomed guests, sharing that he was very moved by the experience of having so many people for dinner on his farm.

“I could not imagine this,” he said. “It is wonderful for me to have all of you here.”

Mel Resendiz welcomed guests to his farm.

A flower-focused event, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinners are helping translate people’s passion for sustainable, quality, homegrown food to the flowers we place at the center of the table. Connecting people with the flowers we grow, the farmers who grow them and the opportunity to see just what it takes to be an American flower farmer is what makes these events so unique and memorable for those who attend.

And everyone leaves with flowers.

Flowers, succulents and swag bags full of floral goodies were waiting for guests as they departed the dinner.

Winning!

Guests were invited to take the centerpieces designed by Rene and a special hand-tied bouquet from Resendiz Brothers. Walking away with armfuls of flowers, there was no doubt that our guests had enjoyed a Field to Vase experience they would never forget.

Testimonials from our guests…

It was a once in a lifetime enjoyable event. It was my first and I’m afraid nothing can top this one.” ~ Robyn D.

I was shocked to receive the wonderful swag bag, one bunch of proteas, a succulent, the table decorations, and all the fresh flowers and fillers that I could carry!~ Madeline C.

The entire afternoon and early evening event was a truly wonderful experience – lovely people, an incredibly unique setting, an abundance of beautiful Protea flowers, and sumptious food and drink. After traveling up a narrow, winding road to a remote area at the top of a hill, imagine our surprise at finding two huge tables surrounded by chaparral and Protea plants – each elegantly set with China and crystal, each with seating for at least 75 people and each crammed with bright vases full of brilliantly-colored Protea. Buckets of Protea, Protea bouquets and wreaths decorated the perimeter of the area. It was magical! The food was a delicious, multi-course treat – made even more amazing by the fact that appetizers and a wonderful meal could be provided seemingly effortlessly in such a remote setting!~ Kathleen P.

The attention to detail, impressed everyone. Rene van Rems made sure that even this old farm cart was decorated with flowers from the farm.