First-Ever Book Signing at our Soldiers Grove Dinner!

Get Your Signed Edition of Florists to the Field

Guests at the Sept. 8 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, will be part of a first-ever book signing on our dinner tour. They’ll be able to purchase a signed edition of the spectacular new book Florists to the Field from floral designers Greg Campbell and Erick New, also our designers for the dinner.

The book takes readers on a floral excursion from the Deep South to the West Coast, through the Midwest and across the ocean to Holland, sharing the flower fields where Campbell and New find inspiration.

Plus you’ll get a glimpse into what drives these designers’ avant-garde aesthetic and their knack for large-scale installations.

You can see that aesthetic in person when Campbell and New, also owners of Garden District in Memphis, Tennessee, bring their over-the-top design skills to this stop on the dinner tour.

At Garden District, Campbell and New have created a business based on floral abundance and artistry. The shop provides seasonal flowers, unique gifts and home accents, and their floral installations weave flowers and greenery into breathtaking textural structures.

Their showroom in the heart of Memphis is a soaring showcase of the latest in flowers, containers and antiques.

To meet Campbell and New, and purchase a signed copy of the book, save your seat at the Sept. 8 dinner and add the book purchase at checkout.

Chef for Dinner Tour Stop in Sacramento Named

Meet Executive Chef Dan Watterson

With the third stop on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour fast approaching, we’re excited to announce the chef for our June 13 stop in Sacramento!

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Meet Dan Watterson, executive chef for Statehouse at the Capitol.

Chef Dan Watterson is creating a delicious menu that will delight the guests of our Sacramento Field to Vase Dinner.

Watterson leads a top-notch culinary team at Statehouse, a brand that includes Statehouse Eatery, Statehouse Café, Statehouse Coffee and Statehouse Catering.

 

 

 

 

He has over 15 years of culinary experience and recently relocated from Washington, D.C., where he was the chef de cuisine for Stephen Starr’s famed French bistro Le Diplomate. Prior to joining Le Diplomate, he was an executive chef for Matchbox Food Group. His resume also includes positions at Hamptons Restaurant in South Carolina and The Ashby Inn in Virginia.

Watterson is planning a multi-course farm-to-table meal that will be paired with Geyser Peak’s amazing wines.

Join the table! You will delight in a delectable meal prepared by Chef Dan Watterson while surrounded by the beauty of American Grown Flowers. Photo by Taken by Sarah Photography

With the announcement of the chef and floral designer Liezet Arnold of Bloem Décor in place, tickets for the Sacramento dinner are going fast!

 

Add a Capitol Tour to Your F2V Experience

At each American Grown Field to Vase Dinner, we love to offer guests the chance to tour a flower farm and chat with a real farmer about the blooms and greenery grown on the farm, sustainability efforts and overall operation.

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When the dinner tour comes to the gardens of California’s Capitol on June 13, we’ll offer a similar – but oh so unique – experience!

A view of the Capitol from the surrounding gardens.
Photo courtesy of The Sacramento Bee.

Guests can sign up for a special tour of the Capitol grounds and building with George Soares, an ag expert and partner in Kahn, Soares and Conway. Soares is a tour guide extraordinaire and plans to show guests all sorts of special locations and artwork as he shares about the Capitol’s history and the ag issues won and lost there.

California’s State Capitol Park, featuring the World Peace Rose Garden. Photo courtesy of worldpeacerosegardens.com.

Join Soares to learn about some of the statues on the grounds, see the site where Queen Elizabeth arrived, where President Gerald Ford was nearly assassinated and where a semi-truck drove into the Capitol building a few years back.

Inside the Capitol, you’ll get a glimpse of a statue of President Ronald Reagan that now resides in the basement, the entrance to the governor’s office – complete with a giant bear Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found while on a ski trip – and portraits of the last seven California governors.

Guests will also see the beautiful Capitol Rotunda from inside.
Photo courtesy of CapitolWeekly.net.

Along the way, Soares will get you caught up on quite a bit of history, share insider stories and fill you in on ag decisions made in these hallowed halls.

And if the stars align, guests will also get a glimpse of the Assembly and Senate floors or galleries.

State legislators were greeted by bouquets of fresh California Grown Flowers in the Senate Chamber on the day they voted to declare June is CA Grown Flowers Month.

This tour is unprecedented in scope and uniqueness.  Sign up for the tour when you purchase your ticket to dine on the Capitol lawn.

Designers Announced for Sacramento, Soldiers Grove Dinners

Meet Liezet Arnold, Greg Campbell and Erick New!

Liezet Arnold will be the featured designer at our next American Grown Field to Vase Dinner in Sacramento on June 13.

With the first two stops on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour under our belt and another dinner just weeks away, we’re excited to announce more floral designers for our upcoming dinners!

Liezet Arnold of Bloem Decor will be designing breathtaking tablescapes at our Sacramento dinner on June 13 in the gardens of the state Capitol.

Next, Greg Campbell and Erick New of Garden District will bring their skills to our Sept. 8 dinner in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.

Arnold, the daughter of a tomato farmer who grew up in a small village in Holland, began working in flower shops at age 16. After years in the industry, she earned the title Master Dutch Florist.

In 1985, she moved to Beverly Hills to work in a flower shop that catered to celebrity clients and allowed her to expand her floral creativity. Along the way, she met her husband and moved to Sacramento where she started a creative flower shop featuring designs that “maintain European traditions with our unique flair.”

Today, 33 years later, Arnold is still celebrating the beauty and delight of flowers from her Sacramento flower shop. We can’t wait to see how she brings her unique style to the Field to Vase Dinner tablescapes in Sacramento!

Greg Campbell and Erick New of Garden District

At Gardent District, co-owners Campbell and New have created a business based on floral abundance and artistry. The shop provides seasonal flowers, unique gifts and home accents, and their floral installations weave flowers and greenery into breathtaking textural structures.

Their showroom in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee is a soaring showcase of the latest in flowers, containers and antiques.

You can get a sense of their design aesthetic and their commitment to the field to vase approach in their upcoming book, Florists To The Field.  The images in the book hint at the incredible design style diners at the Field to Vase Dinner in Wisconsin will experience.

Thanks to designers like these, an amazing artisanal meal and the opportunity to meet an American flower farmer and dine in fields of flowers, American Grown Field to Vase Dinner destinations continue to sell out.

Don’t miss out on our Sacramento, CA or Soldiers Grove, WI dinners!

 

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.