Certified American Grown Proudly Sponsors First Lady’s Luncheon

Thousands of American Grown Flowers Donated For Last First Lady's Luncheon for Michelle Obama

The Certified American Grown program was a proud sponsor of the 2016 First Lady’s Luncheon held May 12 in Washington, D.C. An annual tradition hosted by the Congressional Club since 1912 to honor the first lady of the United States, the luncheon is attended by over 1,500 people, including Congressional spouses, associates of members of Congress and cabinet members.

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First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to guests at the luncheon from a head table adorned by beautiful American Grown Flowers

The Certified American Grown program worked with the Congressional Club’s First Lady’s Luncheon Committee to help ensure that 100 percent of the flowers used during this year’s event were American Grown. With beautiful stems of flowers and greens from California, Oregon, Washington, Florida and Virginia, over 200 centerpieces and arrangements were created to fill the Washington Hilton Ballroom.

Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey, Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz

Representing American Grown from left to right are Daevid Reed, Tim Dewey,
Bill Frymoyer, Diana Roy, David Register, Lane DeVries, Kasey Cronquist, David Beahm
and seated are Andrea Gagnon, Debra Prinzing and Rita Jo Shoultz

“This was a tremendous honor and opportunity for America’s flower farmers,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of the Certified American Grown program. “We commend the Congressional Club’s decision to seek and source blooms grown here in the United States for such a wonderful tradition of honoring our first lady.”

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One of the elegant table centerpieces
designed by the Certified American Grown design team.

The bouquets featured beautiful American Grown roses, peonies, stock, tulips, lilies, protea, Bells of Ireland, alstromeria, bupleurum, dianthus, freesia, lisianthus, ranunculus, viburnum, waxflower, ferns, leatherleaf and curly willow.

Oh Sunsets!

You guessed it, Sunset shots are to die for when dining with #F2V

Sunset moments are the most magical times, especially when experienced during a Field to Vase dinner. It is the moment we all anxiously wait for, simply because it paints a beautiful picture and happens when everyone is settled into their seat, enjoying a wonderful meal and lovely conversations. Take a peek at some of our favorite sunsets during our nation wide tour. Enjoy!

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Top 8 Instagram Dinner Photos

From "Table to Social": Instagram lights up #F2V

We love social media. It is a tremendous way for us to show and tell the story of America’s flower farmers. If you follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we post a lot from the farms and of their flowers.

However, what we’ve loved about the Field to Vase Dinner tour is seeing what our guests find beautiful about the farm, the flowers, the food; their experience.

Whether we dine amongst the flora in a beautiful greenhouse or in the middle of a gorgeous American Grown Flower farm, it is our guests who capture some of the most amazing images of the evening and inspire us to continue this effort.

Behold, our Top 8 Instagram photos from our Field to Vase Dinner in The Flower Fields of Carlsbad! Enjoy!

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Re-living Carlsbad

Our guests enjoyed beautiful scenery, great food and wonderful people

Last week’s dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad did not disappoint. Our floral designers, Flower Duet created an ombre tablescape with color variations that complemented the amazing rows of colors that surrounded the table at The Flower Fields.

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The beautiful Carlsbad tablescape designed by Flower Duet.

Floral design team and sisters, Kit and Casey of Flower Duet not only provided our guests with gorgeous flowers for dinner, but our guests enjoyed a lively flower crown demonstration during the reception.

Flower farmer Mike Mellano gave tours to guests prior to the start of dinner.  Avid gardeners in attendance were thrilled to get advice from Mike Mellano and the gracious Flower Duet team.
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Wonderful #F2V dinner goers enjoying blooming table conversation in celebration of American Grown flowers.

The food was met with rave reviews from the diners who enjoyed multiple passed appetizers from Terra Catering, served with delicious Mattucci Wine and stunning Bagby Beer.  And dessert course was served with locally grown organic coffee from Good Land Organics, a first for the Field to Vase Dinner series as it is rare to find an American coffee farmer. Guests heard from Jay Ruskey, the coffee farmer, as he explained how the “berry” on the coffee bean effects the flavor of the coffee.
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Our favorite moment of the night; having dinner in the middle of a gorgeous American Grown flower farm with the sunset as the most perfect backdrop.

 

Click to watch the beautiful sunset over the Pacific from The Flower Fields.

Click to watch the beautiful sunset over the Pacific from The Flower Fields.

Meet Our Carlsbad Chef: Jeff Rossman of Terra Catering

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Let us introduce to you our chef for the night! We are so honored to have one of San Diego’s best, Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra Catering to fancy our taste buds in Carlsbad, CA.

Jeff Rossman, a skilled, self-taught Chef of nearly 30 years, helped pioneer San Diego’s thriving farm-to-table movement by purchasing fresh, organic produce from local growers before it was en vogue. Rossman traveled to farmer’s markets before farmer’s markets were cool.

Rossman is a strong advocate for his city and his passion for culinary. He constantly donates time, energy and product to help the local farm to school movement assisting the Oceanside, Lemon grove and most currently the San Ysidro School Food Services Directors teaching skills to workers and developing recipes.

He serves on the board of directors for the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association as well as vice president of the board for Chef Celebration Foundation of San Diego, a nonprofit which raises scholarship money for aspiring chefs.

In 2011, Rossman published his first cookbook showcasing local farms and school gardens. His award-winning book, “From Terra’s Table”, focuses on the love story of the hardworking local growers and artisans he supports. He has released his second book “BYOB (Build Your Own Burger)” which features thousands of burger combinations as well as condiments, sides, and farm to bar beverage creations.

He has been selected by the California Avocado Commission to represent them in cooking demonstrations with recipe creations for their website.

Rocking the taste buds of our guest, Chef Rossman will prepare a regionally inspired menu, which will include the best of springs harvest and the freshest culinary ingredients California has to offer!

Join us for dinner, we promise your taste buds will thank you! #F2V #AmericanGrown #OriginMatters

The Intersection of Food, Flowers and Wine

Guest post by: Bill Prescott, Sun Valley Floral Farms

“You know that bees they go for honey. And the grapes they go for wine.” – John Gorka

A Field to Vase Dinner has a sensory appeal, which is easy to appreciate, yet very hard to describe.  These unique events create a space both physically and mentally that highlights the intersection of our food, our flora and our drinks. It amazes me that nearly the same plot of soil can produce grapes for wine, stargazer lilies, and vegetation from which both humans and animals can receive their necessary sustenance.

The Dinner Tour wordlessly lets your explore the origin of all the delights you will experience, and if you are moved to words, then the person who farmed your flowers or perhaps vinted your wine is within earshot.

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What separates a Field to Vase Dinner from say a fancy gala with amazing food and wine,  or a wonderful county wedding with a locavore chef and a talented floral designer, is that at these events the ”who “ “what” and “where” are highlighted. The cause, the couple or the business takes center stage.

A Field to Vase Dinner pulls back the curtain to see the mechanics of the “how” and the “why” and the celebration is in its very existence.

Why would a person dedicate their time to growing flowers for their community?

Why would someone quit their job as a professor at a prestigious college to make small batch artisanal wine?

How did the chef come to the realization that sourcing local ingredients was better for her customers and for her community?

How was this tulip bulb rooted, then grown?

Wendell Berry famously wrote, “Eating is an agricultural act.” And this prophetic statement could not be realized more clearly than this dinner, held in a greenhouse brimming with tulips.

The kinetic energy of row upon row of growing tulips, will affect you on a physiological level; “Physis” from the ancient Greek “nature, origin” and “logia” meaning “to study.”

The experience is at once ethereal and visceral.

The sparkling company of like-minded souls who attend these dinners, is what makes the gathering complete. Since crafts people, makers, growers, and designers must have an audience. A group of devotees who appreciate the artist’s aspiration to work with the purest ingredients and tap into nature itself, to create a meal, a drink or even a flower so inspired in its simplicity and that it achieves the divine.

Be a part of this sensory delight and let nature take a dance with your senses.

Advocating for America's Flower Farmers

Flower Farmers Rally In Washington DC

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Last week a delegation of America’s flower farmers, advocates and designers joined together in Washington DC to help raise the profile and the awareness for local American Grown Flowers. It was a tremendously successful effort with flower farmers from Washington, Virginia, California, Texas, Alaska and Pennsylvania all meeting with their members of Congress to discuss the issues and opportunities facing America’s flower farmers.

Flower farmers proudly wore beautifully designed American Grown boutonnieres while walking the halls in Washington DC.

Flower farmers proudly wore beautifully designed American Grown boutonnieres while walking the halls in Washington DC.

One of the main goals of this year’s trip was to help increase the membership and awareness of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus. A briefing was held for the staff of members of Congress to learn about the Cut Flower Caucus, meet flower farmers and understand the rural development opportunities involved with flower farming and how the Certified American Grown program is helping connect consumers to local American Grown flowers.

Tim Carlton of Congressman Duncan Hunter's office facilitates the panel discussion during the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus briefing in Washington DC.

Tim Carlton of Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office facilitates the panel discussion during the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus briefing in Washington DC.

A complete recording of that hearing can be found on Debra Prinzing’s Slow Flowers Podcast.

This annual effort continues to help highlight the value of growing jobs, farms and local economies here in the United States.

Frank Arnosky of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers heads to one of many meetings on Capitol Hill.

Frank Arnosky of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers heads to one of many meetings on Capitol Hill.

Join Us For Dinner On The Flower Farm!

The 2016 American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour

We are super excited to be announcing the 2016 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour!

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We kick off this year’s tour in Arcata, CA at Sun Valley Floral Farms, the largest flower farm in the country! The dinner tour continues on through Washington, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and New York.  We have a couple of other dinner locations to be adding, with the expectation of holding a total of 10 dinners this year.

You will leave with new friends, one of our now famous “swag bags” of floral treasures and most importantly, a greater understanding of why the flowers at the center of the table should be as fresh, local and sustainable as the food that’s served on the plate.

These dinners sold out last year, so don’t wait to save your seat for this one of a kind experience of having dinner on a beautiful flower farm. It is an experience and a joy that you will never forget.

A Salute to 10 American Grown Florists

Meet our Field to Vase designers & their beautiful American-grown style

Over the course of this past year, as guests took their seats at Field to Vase Dinners across the U.S., one powerful message was communicated:

That the flowers at the center of your table should be as LOCAL, FRESH and SUSTAINABLE as the food on your plate.
We salute the 10 featured floral designers who created the all-American floral tablescapes at each very special dinner.
Their artistry enriched and beautified the intimate, farm-to-table dining experiences for all who attended:
Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals, our Carpinteria F2V Dinner Designer

Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals, our Carpinteria F2V Dinner Designer

Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, our Carlsbad F2V Dinner Designer

Bess Wyrick of Celadon & Celery, our Carlsbad F2V Dinner Designer

Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., our Monterey Bay F2V Dinner Designer

Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., our Monterey Bay F2V Dinner Designer

Lisa Weddel of L. Weddel Design, our Boulder F2V Dinner Designer

Lisa Weddel of L. Weddel Design, our Boulder F2V Dinner Designer

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, our Brooklyn F2V Dinner Designer

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, our Brooklyn F2V Dinner Designer

Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, our Washington, D.C. F2V Dinner Designer

Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, our Washington, D.C. F2V Dinner Designer

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers, our Seattle F2V Dinner Designer

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers, our Seattle F2V Dinner Designer

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Flowers + Foliage, our Portland F2V Dinner Designer

Elizabeth Artis of Espe Flowers + Foliage, our Portland F2V Dinner Designer

Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, our Fallbrook F2V Dinner Designer

Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, our Fallbrook F2V Dinner Designer

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Design, our Detroit F2V Dinner Designer

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Design, our Detroit F2V Dinner Designer

Want to join the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour Excitement?
 
The effort is underway to develop our 2016 Field to Vase Dinner Tour schedule. If you would like to be a part of the F2V Dinner tour next year, we’d love to hear from you. We are currently looking at farms and locations from throughout the country and our Farmer, Florist and Chef Applications have just been posted.

An Oversold Dinner in Detroit

The final Field to Vase Dinner of 2015 is served at The Flower House

Hints of fall (or maybe even winter) were in the air as the doors to The Flower House opened on October 16th in Hamtramck, Michigan, just outside downtown Detroit. There was plenty of warmth inside the giant white tent, where 180 guests joined the festivities and gathered for an important cause: Promoting American Grown Flowers.

The glow of the tent shows where the Detroit Field to Vase Dinner was held next to The Flower House.

The glow of the tent shows where the Detroit Field to Vase Dinner was held next to The Flower House. Photo by Heather Saunders

Our host, Lisa Waud, a floral designer and producer of The Flower House, is a soon-to-be flower farmer.

At the start of last Friday's dinner, master of ceremonies Kasey Cronquist, Administrator of the Certified American Grown program, introduced Lisa and asked her to