Rene van Rems Wows at First 2018 Tour Stop

Floral Designer Shares the Inside Story on Prepping for a Field to Vase Dinner

You might think the job of a floral designer is singular – to surprise and delight by creating beautiful flower arrangements.

When the designer is Rene van Rems, you’d be wrong.

Van Rems was the floral designer for the recent American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea in Fallbrook, California. But his efforts went far beyond arranging flowers. He started by visiting the site with flower farmer Mel Resendiz to help select the perfect location for the dinner.

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Since proteas are grown on steep hillsides, this was no small feat. But van Rems knew what he was looking for – a hilltop surrounded by other flower-adorned hills that would provide a sense of warmth and intimacy for dinner guests.

Beautiful farm fresh flowers adorned the tables, welcoming guests to a night of food, wine and flowers. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

Next up, van Rems determined a theme for the arrangements that would adorn the long banquet tables and selected containers from Field to Vase Dinner Tour sponsor Syndicate Sales.

He decided to create three variations of a floral design that featured pincushion proteas and he created them in reverse proportion. “We draped everything down while featuring the pincushions. This way, the flowers are looking at the diner and the diner is looking at the flowers. The flowers were the star and the materials we put with them were very botanical and were from the surrounding landscape. It was a real execution of ‘field to vase.’”

Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

For the containers, van Rems selected brushed glass vases with similar designs and textures in colors that provided contrast with the flowers and surrounding landscape.

The amazing part – the 180 arrangements needed for the dinner were created by 15 students who were part of a workshop van Rems led in advance of the dinner. Not only did they learn floral design skills, participants got a hands-on experience in event execution.

“The event became a lesson plan,” van Rems explains. “The students learned what you can’t learn in a book or on YouTube; it was truly experiential.”

Floral designer Rene van Rems was responsible for the beautiful tablescape and floral design installations. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Beyond special events, van Rems regularly holds workshops at his state-of-the-art training center in Carlsbad, California. His two-, three- and five-day programs cover floral trends, advanced floral design techniques and business basics.

As for the reviews of the first stop for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour – van Rems shares what guests told him: “Everyone loved the experience because it was beyond their expectations. People had no idea what to expect and they were blown away by a beautifully executed dinner. The No. 1 wow was the site and the flowers were a spoke in the wheel of an amazing experience.”

We couldn’t agree more.

 

 

Design with Renowned Event Planner, Floral Designer Debi Lilly

Workshop Added to April 26 Stop at The Flower Fields

You know her name, you’ll likely recognize her face, and now you can design alongside renowned event planner and floral designer Debi Lilly!

Debi Lily stands in a sea of orchids during our 2017 Field to Vase Dinner at Gallup & Stribling in Carpinteria, CA.

Lilly will host a hands-on workshop prior to the April 26 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. She’ll talk about spring design trends and containers, and share her design secrets during the workshop –  also on April 26, offered at two times, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Flower Fields.

Lilly hosted a sold-out workshop in Carpinteria, California, during the 2017 tour, and our guests couldn’t say enough about the tips she offered, her amazing design ideas and her down-to-earth nature. After all, Debi’s a big deal!

Debi Lilly held an oversold floral design class prior to the Field to Vase Dinner at Gallup & Stribling Orchids.

Known as Oprah’s “Favorite Pro,” Lilly was part of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 10 years and has made it her mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of party planning expertise, stylist tips and DIY designs with fans worldwide. Did we mention Lady Gaga’s a fan?

With her impressive client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Safeway and Lamborghini, Lilly is a highly sought-after designer.

But you can connect with her, design with her and be wowed by her ideas (just like Oprah) by registering for the two-hour workshop! Attending the dinner is not necessary or a prerequisite for the workshop.

Guests love the personal interaction and learning DIY designs from Debi herself.

Plus, you can invite friends to join you, even if they are missing out on the dinner, because the workshop is open to the public.

Save your seat today – choose the Debi Lilly workshop at checkout!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renowned Designers To Wow Guests at First Two Dinner Tour Stops

Rene Van Rems, Debi Lilly to Design Tablescapes at California Dinners

We’re always excited when things really start coming together for each of the American Grown Field to Vase dinners, but this year, the excitement is through the roof as we announce that two renowned floral designers have joined the tour.

Meet Rene Van Rems and Debi Lilly!

Rene Van Rems

Designing tablescapes at the April 7 Field to Vase Dinner at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, California, is Rene Van Rems, a renowned ambassador to the floral industry. Van Rems is a leading speaker, educator and demonstrator who has led workshops and design shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He’s also frequently featured at art museum events, including “Art Alive” in San Diego.

Van Rems is recognized for bringing the European influence to American floral designs. His work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset Magazine and on HGTV. He was formally educated at the prestigious Rijksmiddelbare Tuinbouwschool Floral Institute at Aalsmeer in Holland.

Our heads are spinning as we ponder how he’ll delight guests with hundreds of fresh protea!

 

Debi Lilly

Next up, celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will bring her amazing design skills to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields on April 26 in Carlsbad.

You’ve seen Lilly on TV, in magazines, in stores nationwide, and maybe you’ve even seen photos of her floral and event creations for designer brands.

Known as Oprah’s “Favorite Pro,” Lilly was part of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 10 years and has made it her mission to inspire, educate and share her 20 years of party planning expertise, stylist tips and DIY designs with fans worldwide.

With her impressive client list that includes brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Safeway and Lamborghini, Lilly is a highly sought-after designer.

Last year, Lilly was the floral designer for our Carpinteria dinner where she delighted guests with her creations and easy-to-follow design tips.

With names like Van Rems and Lilly creating the floral décor at Field to Vase Dinners, guests will be wowed by breathtaking designs and will leave with a new appreciation for American Grown Flowers.

Tickets are going fast for these two dinners.

 

Meet Mel Resendiz…

He’s the Host For Our First 2018 Dinner

Flower farmer Mel Resendiz might not seem like the sentimental type, but when you get him talking about proteas, you can feel his passion.

Whether he’s describing the spring growing season, the many varieties he grows or the one-of-a-kind bouquets he creates, you can feel Mel’s devotion to proteas and to American Grown Flowers.

In this short video, he shares a bit about his farm and his growing practices. But just wait until you get to the part about what it’s like to give the gift of flowers. You’ll understand – and you’ll swoon.

Video by California State Floral Association

 

You can meet Mel in person, dine on his farm and learn more about his glorious proteas at the first stop for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour on April 7.

Save your seat!

And be sure to add the VIP tour and reception with Resendiz at checkout!

Check out the other stops on this year’s tour! Ticket prices to Resendiz Brothers Protea will increase to $200 on March 8th! So don’t wait! Buy your tickets today!

 

Epiphany Plus Gut Check Has Renowned Florist Pondering Going All American Grown

Kelly Shore’s Doing Her Homework

A week spent in Alaska with flower farmers was the tipping point for Kelly Shore, owner and lead designer at Petals by the Shore in Maryland.

Kelly Shore was the featured designer at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Scenic Place Peonies in July last year. She taught a class prior to the event, encouraging the use and support for Certified Ameican Grown Flowers.

Shore was in Alaska to design the tablescapes for an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner being held at Scenic Peonies last summer. She went there with a job to do, but when she left Alaska 10 days later, her gut told her that her next job would be to consider an awesome possibility: Sourcing 100 percent of the flowers and foliage she uses in her designs from American flower farms.

“When I went to Alaska and I saw what the farmers there face, it sparked something in me. I had some really good conversations with the flower farmers on the host farm and with other farmers in attendance, and I thought, ‘this is something I want to support,’” Shore explains.

Kelly Shore, recently featured in an ad in Florists Review, highlighting her commitment to Certified American Grown Flowers as a promise she can build her business on.

After all, Shore had long been working with flower farmers in her area and was committed to the concept of designing with local, sustainably grown flowers as much as possible. At the height of wedding season last year, Shore was using about 75 percent American Grown Flowers by spending several hours each week checking with local farms and various wholesalers to see what domestic flowers they had available.

“I’ve become close with the local farmers, and I see how hard they work and that their lives are committed to growing beautiful flowers. There’s a sense of security and familiarity in knowing that these farms care about their customers, care about the product they are selling and care how their brand is represented,” Shore describes.

And that’s when that logical next step crept in. What if she committed to using only American Grown flowers in her designs?

This epiphany led Shore decide to spend 2018 educating herself on what it would mean to be a florist that uses ONLY American Grown Flowers and foliage – all the time, for every one of her weddings and events.

After all, there are lots of considerations. Price. Availability. Variety. Color palette.

In 2017, Kelly Shore helped lead a team of designers who were committed to executing an all-American Grown Flower event for the First Lady’s Luncheon in Washington, D.C. Pictured here with her fellow team leaders, Christy Hulsey (center) of Colonial House of Flowers and Margaret Lloyd (right) of Margaret Joan Florals.

Brides can be persnickety. They want what they see on Pinterest. They have a vision. Can those visions be met year round with all American Grown Flowers? And what about her bottom line?

Shore’s research so far bodes well for a commitment to going all American Grown. She’s found a wholesaler that clearly labels the origins of the flowers it sells. Utilizing the Certified American Grown website, the Certified American Grown Farm & Flower Guide and her own research, she’s familiarizing herself with a host of American flower farmers to be sure she can source her clients’ top picks. Of course, she’s also doing price comparisons to be sure that the cost estimates she’s already provided to brides can be met with American Grown Flowers.

Variety and color. Kelly enjoyed working with a tremendous pallet of variety and colors of American Grown Flowers for the First Lady’s Luncheon. All of the flowers were donated by American flower farmers.

And she’s started to tell clients about her big idea. She’s educating them and, so far, they appreciate her thinking. “They love it and they think it’s an awesome idea,” Shore says.

Helping her clients understand the value of sourcing American Grown Flowers is a part of every client conversation today.

But the research will continue – as it should. And Shore will keep pondering and asking, all in an effort to remain authentic to her reputation as a designer committed to American Grown.

“My gut is saying if you’re scared, it’s probably something you should do. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be different, and I could stick with whatever is easy and not grow or evolve, but I want to evolve, I want to stand out and I want to make a difference. Because it matters to me and to my customers where the flowers are coming from,” Shore says. “I know that when I receive flowers from the farms I’ve made connections with, the quality will be superior and my designs will be the highest quality for my clients.

The results of working with American Grown Flowers can always be stunning. Check out this beautiful design from last year’s First Lady’s Luncheon.

“I feel like my designs and my aesthetic have become stronger and gained in character with each step I take to educate myself and seek out American Grown Flowers and foliage.”

Kelly’s passion for American Grown Flowers is expressed whenever she speaks to clients, her design students and any audience she speaks to.

You Ask Them…

Why Should You Go To Washington, D.C. This Year?

You probably have questions.

You might wonder why going to Washington, D.C. is important.

You might wonder if it is time well spent.

You might want to talk to someone who has gone before.

And you should!

Feel free to reach out to any one of our fly-in alums who have experienced our annual effort to raise the profile of America’s flower farmers. Ask them why they went, what they learned and if they felt like it made a difference. If there isn’t anyone you know, let us know, and we’ll put you in touch with them.

Any of our past attendees would be happy to answer your questions and share just how valuable this effort and experience is, as we advocate for the collective future of America’s flower farming families.

Misty Welborn of Mellano & Co. was a first time attendee last year. She’d love to share her experience with you.

 

Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony in Homer, AK is a fly-in alum with a lot of experience working on Capitol Hill.

Tony Ortiz of Joseph & Sons in Santa Paula, CA cut his teeth in Washington, D.C. politics at the annual flower farmer fly-in. He’s become a veteran to the advocacy effort.

 

Pamela Arnosky of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, TX attended for the first time last year and would be happy to share her experience meeting with members of Congress and their staff..

Benno Dobbe of Holland America Flowers in Woodland, WA serves as the chair of the California Cut Flower Commission Governmental Affairs Committee and returns year after year to advocate for America’s flower farmers.

 

David Van Wingerden of Westland Orchid in Carpinteria, CA is a repeat attendee and believes in the advocacy effort as necessary for his future success.

David Russell of Boreal Peonies in Fairbanks, AK has returned year after year to help wave the flag for America’s flower farmers.

David Beahm of Thistle Dew Farms in Quakertown, PA.

Frank Arnosky of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, TX attended for the first time in 2017 to help advocate for flower farmer friendly policies.

 

Ko Klaver of the Botanical Trading Company in Washington, D.C. is a firm believer that advocating makes a difference.

Tom Vollering of Sunshine Floral in Oxnard, CA has continued to help represent the American flower farmer during our fly-in efforts.

 

Rene Van Wingerden of Ocean Breeze Farms in Carpinteria, CA has a lot to say when he is meeting with members of Congress.

Michael Genovese of Summer Dreams Farms in Oxford, MI is a huge proponent for lobbying in Washington, D.C. He would welcome your phone call.

 

Dan Vordale of Ocean View Flowers of Lompoc, CA is a past chair of the CCFC and a long time believer in working together to make a difference. As a Commission leader, he’s had a long tenure of experience with how Washington works.

Betty Josyln of Josyln Peonies in Homer, AK was a first time attendee in 2017 and the first to sign up in 2018. What does that tell you?

 

Timothy Du Four of Petal Patch Flower Farm in Walkersville, Maryland joined us last year for the first time and is already set to go again!

 

You’ll enjoy being a part of a team that is working together to raise the profile of the American flower farmers within Congress and beyond.

 

You won’t go it alone. We will ensure that you’ll have plenty of support as we advocate together.

Win A Pair of Tickets To A Field To Vase Dinner Near You!

We’re excited to officially kick off the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Tour!

Win two tickets to one of our floral filled dinners and take a friend!

If you missed our announcement, including all the event pages and other details, check out our previous blog post, “Here We Go!

Plus, we have another exciting announcement … we’re giving away two tickets to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour stop of your choice!

Just follow the instructions on this page to enter—good luck!

 

And here’s all the fine print:
Entering is free! Winner can use the tickets at any of the launch locations on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. If something comes up after you select your location and you can’t attend, our team will help you transfer the tickets to another location.

Get Gorgeous Help With Remaining On Trend

Check out the 2018-19 American Floral Trends Forecast

Click on the image above to see a pdf version of the forecast.

Wrapped inside the pages of the January 2018 issue of Florist’s Review is the 2018-19 American Floral Trends Forecast.

 

And it’s glorious!

This year, the annual report includes more flowers from Certified American Grown farms, more designers, more voices, more photos and, of course, an in-depth look into the designs, flowers and colors that will influence floral design over the next two years.

Think terms like Hanami, Crescendo, Kaleidoscope, Wildroot – movements floral designers and flower aficionados can learn about, and then work to create.

The trend selections were influenced by some exciting and important players in the industry, including eight trend consultants and 10 floral designers. We’re talking names like Holly Heider Chapple, Hitomi Gilliam, Laura Daluga, Laura Dowling, Kristine Kratt and Bill Schaffer, Mandy Majerik, Michael McCarthy, Ania Norwood, John Regan, Rodrigo Varito Vasquez and Keith White, who also was the creative director for the publication.

And a host of Certified American Grown farms contributed the flowers for the spectacular on-trend designs showcased in the publication, including Camflor, Dramm & Echter, Eufloria Flowers, Green Valley Floral, Ocean View Flowers, Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Scenic Place Peonies and Sun Valley Floral Farms. These farms assured that the beauty among the pages featured Certified American Grown Flowers flowers!

The pages of the 2018-19 Floral Trends Report are filled with gorgeous photography capturing the beauty of American Grown trend-setting Flowers.

The trends touted emerged from a variety of forces such as interior design, the fashion and textile industries, global cultures, and social and cultural issues and movements. There are also nods to pop culture, media and social and sporting events.

The forecast, sponsored in part by Certified American Grown Flowers, is must-read, thanks to the contributions of the influencers, the amazing photography and the inspirational guidance!

For an unpacking of the 2018-19 Floral Trends Forecast, join the Florists’ Review American Floral Trends Webinar presented by Keith White and hosted by FTD on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 4:00 p.m. EST. Simply log into the webinar using the access code: 18-0123ZZ.

Here We Go!

5 Breathtaking Stops Announced for the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour

The fourth season of the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour is underway, and we want you to grab all of your flower-loving friends and join us on the flower farm for an award-winning experience you’ll never forget.

Click the video above and imagine yourself at one of this year’s American Grown Field to Vase Dinners.

 

We couldn’t be more excited about the lineup of farms involved with this year’s floral-infused dinner tour. Known for stopping at America’s most beautiful flower farms, this year’s tour includes amazing destinations, and we’ve also made some notable tweaks to the program.

But first, the farms!

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers

Saturday, April 7th

 

Mel Resendiz looks over his valley of beautiful flowers at Resendiz Brothers Protea Brothers. You can join him on April 7!
Photo by Sunset Magazine Staff Photographer Tom Story

We’re thrilled to be starting at Resendiz Brothers Protea in Fallbrook, California. This beautiful flower farm produces unique and award-winning protea. Guests will meet flower farmer Mel Resendiz and business manager Diana Roy who will provide personal tours of the farm. Participants will enjoy incredible views of Rainbow Valley atop the mountainous ridgelines where these incredible flowers and plants grow.

The Flower Fields with Mellano & Co.

Thursday, April 26th

 

Guests are already flocking back to our Carlsbad Dinner at The Flower Fields. Reserve your tickets now! Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

Next, we’ll head back to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. The American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour returns to this postcard of an experience each year. Guests at this dinner get exclusive access and enjoy dining among acres and acres of colorful ranunculus while looking out over the Pacific Ocean. This is a very popular tour stop that sells out faster and faster each year.

California State Capitol – Sacramento

Wednesday, June 13th

 

Dine in the shadow of Capitol building during California Grown Flowers Month.

In June, the tour takes a turn and heads into the city. This pop-up dinner tour will not only “pop up” a meal experience on the lawn of California’s State Capitol, we’ll be popping up a flower farm experience in the shadow of the Capitol building! On June 13, we’ll be working with our farms to bring our American Grown Flowers story to the steps of California’s Capitol building, sharing our collective stories, the flowers we grow and the value our American flower farms bring to their communities and the economy. This dinner will bring flower farmers together with lawmakers  to highlight just how important the consumer movement toward American Grown Flowers really is.

Star Valley Flowers

Saturday, September 8th

 

Star Valley Flowers in Soldier Grove, WI is 300 acres of amazing. You won’t want to miss this one!

In September, we head to Wisconsin! We’ve never been to Wisconsin and we couldn’t be more excited to be teaming up with Star Valley Flowers in Soldier Grove. This farm is beautiful and John Zehrer and and his team grow some amazing varieties of specialty cut flowers, woody ornamentals and special perennials. The team at Star Valley is excited to be a part of this year’s tour and is already planning big things for our guests who attend.

Green Door Gourmet

Friday, October 5th

 

Experience the hospitality of Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee and meet Laura (on right), resident flower farmer and greenhouse manager and her assistant manager Ally!

In October, we head to Nashville! That’s right! Look out country music lovers, the flower tour is coming to town. We’re super excited to be partnering with local favorite Green Door Gourmet in Nashville. Well-known and well-established as an agritourism destination, this 350-acre farm grows a wide variety of flowers, food and herbs, helping us connect all of the dots that our flower-filled dinner tour was created to represent.

There’s so much more we could share and explain, but for now, please visit the landing pages we’ve created for each one of these locations; find the complete list here. You’ll find even more information and details about each stop, but make sure you book your tickets right away. Last year, we had dinners selling out months in advance, so this year we’re encouraging you to book early.

Plus, early birds benefit from special “Tour Launch” pricing. For the next 30 days, we’ll be selling tickets to each of our dinners for $175, however the price for each ticket will go up on Feb.17.

Last year, friends came to the table to celebrate American Grown Flowers and Greens surrounded by their beauty. Come enjoy a magical evening with us in 2018!

Please consider helping us share this year’s locations and special launch pricing with your flower-loving friends. If you’re planning to attend a dinner, invite them to join you. If you’ve gone before, help us share this magical experience with others on social networks like Facebook and Instagram.

 

We look forward to seeing you at one of these wonder-filled locations in 2018!

 

 

 

2017 Field To Vase Dinner Tour Ends With a Beautiful Sunset in Florida

The last stop on the 2017 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour was not only the perfect finale, it was among the tour’s most unique destinations.

Over 150 people attended the last American Grown Field to Vase Dinner of 2017 at FernTrust, Inc. in Seville, Florida. Photo by Wings of Glory Photography.

After all, how many people can say they’ve dined on a fern and foliage farm in the middle of the “Fern Capital of the World?” A sold-out crowd did just that Nov. 18 when the Field to Vase Dinner Tour came to FernTrust Inc. in Seville, Florida.

FernTrust, a farm cooperative, is one of the most trusted foliage producers in the country. Guests learned all about the 126 varieties of best-in-class foliage and ferns grown by FernTrust during a tour with farmer David Register. Jana Register provided a tour of FernTrust’s packing house where she shared FernTrust’s many product lines including their patented ColorFresh program that extends vase life of foliage and greens through a unique color sealing process.

Fern Farmer David Register gave guests a guided tour of FernTrust, sharing information about the wide variety of foliage grown on the property. Photo by Wings of Glory Photography.

Following the farm tour, guests then dined at tables adorned with hundreds of feet of lush fern garland and topiaries created by floral designer J Schwanke. Tour sponsor Syndicate Sales provided all of the hard goods and vases that were incorporated into J’s beautiful tablescape design. Nearby, an all-foliage American Flag added to the evening’s wow factor, as did old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and vistas that provided views of the beautiful ferns and an incredible sunset over the lake.

Field to Vase Dinner guests enjoying a beautiful November evening on the fern farm in Florida. Photo by Wings of Glory Photography.

Chef Justin Timineri of Fresh From Florida created a wonderful Floridian themed menu and Joe Hearn and his team from Joe Hearn Events did an outstanding job managing all of the event’s special touches for this floral filled event.

“This Field to Vase dinner was such a fun event. Getting to meet the farmers and families that have worked the land and listen to the stories was a great experience,” shared former chef Dennis Littley of AskChefDennis.com. “The setting at the farm was picture perfect and the tables were magazine worthy, looking like something out of Martha Stewart.”

Guests enjoyed the bountiful wines of national sponsor, Geyser Peak Winery. Photo by Wings of Glory Photography.

Microbrewery Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. shared its craft beers, Geyser Peak Winery served up wine varietals and Copper Bottom Craft Distillery provided signature citrus cocktails featuring names with a nod to local ferns.

Find out where the tour is going in 2018, and then plan to attend one of these one-in-a-lifetime dinners at americangrownflowers.com/fieldtovase