Pyramid Flowers and B-Fresh Floral give a boost to Certified American Grown

For Fred Van Wingerden, the Certified American Grown organization has provided the strong voice that flower growers need in order to address the barrage of challenges they face.

From competition from foreign growers to government regulation, American flower growers need the organization to represent them, said Van Wingerden, president of Pyramid Flowers in Oxnard, California.

When California Growers voted out the California Cut Flower Commission this spring, we were very concerned about who would represent the domestic growers and thus started the process for an independent Certified American Grown organization.

“Unless we had another organization representing the cause of American growers, it would be, like they say, united we stand and divided we fall,” he said. “We needed to step up to the plate and make sure that the new organization received strong support. I’m a true believer in Certified American Grown because we need it to represent us as growers.”

Pyramid Flowers and its affiliated company, B-Fresh Floral (owned and operated by Fred, Rene, and Winfred Van Wingerden), all became supporters when Certified American Grown was reborn as an independent trade association representing flower and greens farmers nationwide. The companies made donations to the association’s Formation Fund to support its programs and help with operating expenses.

“It’s very important that the organization gets proper funding at the start so it’s strong right from the get-go,” he said.

In addition to representing growers, Van Wingerden said, it’s important that the association’s grown-in-America message continues to be conveyed to consumers. Imported flowers dominate the American marketplace, accounting for 80 percent of sales.

“That in itself is critical,” he said.  “We need to push that message into the marketplace even stronger. Studies have shown that when consumers are given a choice, they want to buy American. And unless we stand together and fund efforts like this, we cannot get that message out there.”

Van Wingerden has been in the flower business since 1979, and he comes from a long, long line of flower growers. Flower growing in his family extends back 15 generations to the 1600s in the Netherlands. In 1967, four Van Wingerden brothers, including Fred’s father, emigrated from the Netherlands to California to take advantage of the optimum flower growing environment along the coast between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Pyramid Flowers was founded in 1991 grows eight types of flowers on 80 acres along the coast in Oxnard. It employs over 120 people.

Fred’s son, Marcos, now works alongside him and is part of the next generation of family flower growers. Having his son in the business has been invigorating, he said. “He brings new ideas and energy,” he said. “For me as a father, having a son in the business gives me more to work for as well. It’s like a shot of adrenaline.”

Van Wingerden is steadfast in his support of Certified American Grown, and while not on the association’s board, he intends to be involved.

Flower growers face many challenges and the association plays a vital role, he said.

“It unifies growers,” he said. “We learn from each other, we share with each other, and whatever problems come along, we can address them together. Each company by themselves would be very challenged to address all the things that an organization like Certified American Grown can.”

America’s Flower and Greens Farmers Have Just What You Need to Deck the Halls!

In a year (and holiday season) like no other, we’re all feeling a need to add a little extra holiday cheer to our homes. There’s simply no better way to make that happen than decking the halls with flowers and greens from America’s flower-farming families!

They’re making it easy with a host of specials and programs designed to help you affordably bring fresh fir and floral joy to your home. And florists, they’ve got offers for you, too!

You can use American Grown flowers and greens to create multiple small arrangements placed throughout the house, adorn your mantle, create textural garlands, or design swags and wreaths, notes Kelly Shore, owner and lead designer of Petals by the Shore and founder of The Floral Source.

Here’s a look at the special offers from a host of American flower farms:

Albin Hagstrom & Son is offering 24” wreaths in a number of designs for $30. Choose one for your home or to send as a gift at albin-hagstrom.com/shop.

Harmony Harvest is shipping holiday swags and holiday DIY boxes, and they go out via FedEx within two business days of ordering. Choose your favorites at hhfshop.com/collections/holiday-greens/products/the-swag-box and hhfshop.com/collections/holiday-greens/products/the-holiday-diy-box.

The Flower Peddler in New Jersey is taking online orders for fresh fir, berries, and seasonal flowers at the-flowerpeddler.square.site.

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers is selling a variety of protea wreaths that arrive fresh and can last for years in dried form. See all the designs at their Protea Store.

Florabundance, a floral wholesaler, has taken the extra step of helping florists and retailers find the best selection of seasonal blooms and greens from American farms by creating a Certified American Grown section on its website (bulkwholesaleflowers.com/flower-varieties/certified-american-grown/). Gift cards are also available at bulkwholesaleflowers.com/flowers/give-the-gift-of-flowers/.

Kelly Shore’s The Floral Source is offering an incredible curated winter greenery box from Fern Trust. The greenery essentials box includes: antler arbor vitae, gold tip cedar, princess pine, carolina sapphire, and pine cones on picks. Plus Shore will be live on Instagram throughout December providing tips on how to create with these long-lasting greens.

Place your orders today to bring winter abundance to your home, or send some of the American Grown blooms and foliage as gifts!

No Shortage of American Grown Roses 

Get Connected to the Domestic Farmers Who Can Fulfill Your Rose Dreams 

It’s a topic that comes up almost every year: a shortage of roses. Natural disasters, labor issues and, this year, COVID-19 and the related supply chain challenges, can disrupt the availability of roses in the U.S. 

Menagerie Farm & Flower

While there are fewer weddings happening this summer due to the pandemic, there’s still a lot of demand for roses from wholesalers, florists and consumers who appreciate the variety, fragrance and beauty of the rose. 

Not only are American flower farmers growing gorgeous, fragrant roses, there’s been a renaissance of craft rose growers in the U.S. who are providing specialty roses in a range of varieties and colors – particularly the popular garden rose. 

Getting your hands on them is a matter of relationship-building, and knowing the rose farms by name or the wholesalers that buy from those farms.  

Kelly Shore, a renowned wedding florist that serves Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, encourages florists and rose aficionados to establish relationships with American rose growers right away. 

About 34 U.S. rose farms grow 28 million stems a year, with several new craft rose farms emerging. 

“As wedding, event and retail designers, we must educate ourselves on where our flowers come from. We can’t wait until the last minute when supply chain disruptions happen and go into a tailspin about where to confidently source roses,” Shore notes. “We have an abundance of flowers that grow 365 days a year in the U.S., roses being one of them. Garden roses, spray roses and hybrid tea roses are grown domestically in a variety of popular and in vogue color palettes.”  

You can use our list of Certified American Grown rose growers to connect with farms that can deliver exactly what you have in mind year-round, something that will be particularly important when weddings and other in-person celebrations return. 

Shore’s advice: Don’t wait. Get connected to U.S. rose growers. Be an advocate for American Grown roses and look for distributors that support domestic producers. 

Menagerie Farm & Flower

Celebrate ‘Mother’s May,’ purchase flowers during U.S. peak production

Help keep the momentum going!

Thanks to wholesalers, florists and consumers who supported America’s flower farmers, Mother’s Day overall was a floral success! 

In fact, in some areas of the country, the response was better than expected, with many retailers selling out of flowers and florists having to ramp up significantly to keep pace with orders.

In other words, a good problem to have – and one that domestic flower farmers greatly appreciate!

As Patrick Busch of Len Busch Roses shared,

“Sales were very good, exceeding last year and very close to budget. Overall, demand was greater than we were prepared for.”  

The Flower Peddler in New Jersey also saw success:

“We sold directly to retail customers for Mother’s Day and it was beyond anything we could have expected. We actually had to stop taking orders as we were running out of product,” shared Bethany Bernard. 

Other flower farmers found success with gift card programs or on-farm sales. 

But even with the recent increase in demand, not all farms are where they need to be to keep going. Thankfully, there’s a solution! 

Consumers, wholesalers and florists can keep the momentum going and keep supporting cut flower farmers by backing what we’re calling “Mother’s May.” After all, for all they do, mom’s deserve more than one day of celebration. And since many are working from home, assisting with distance learning and still handling their usual mama duties, they’ve earned more flowers than ever this May!

We’re urging everyone to continue to honor their hardworking mom’s with American Grown Flowers. 

And, as July approaches, we have another reason to celebrate: July is American Grown Flowers Month. 

Perfectly timed for the peak production of amazing American Grown blooms and foliage, July is a great time to keep supporting America’s flower farmers and purchase flowers for life’s celebrations and to brighten your home. 

Remember to look for the American Grown logo to ensure your getting top-notch, fresh domestic flowers.  

With your help, we can help all American flower farmers continue to grow amazing blooms and greens, employ more workers and contribute to the economy.

Celebrate Mother’s May

Why not Mother’s May instead of just a Day!

Moms deserve more than just a day – give her a Mother’s May!

Celebrate Mother’s May – yes you read that correctly – we are suggesting that you celebrate the moms in your life for more than just a day. Instead make sure she has American Grown flowers and greens throughout the month of May.

Now more than ever mothers and caretakers need flowers! They are not only taking care of our little ones but now they are also teachers, employees, housekeepers, chefs and more – all at once.

It’s not easy being mom so let’s give her a boost! Several recent research studies have uncovered that flowers not only look pretty but they have a positive impact on our mood and provide connection between the giver and the receiver.

Not only will flowers bring mom joy, they will also support our American Grown flower and greens farmers and their families.

Just a few more reasons to give flowers to mom!

This year Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 10th – but with the current pandemic situation, make sure you order early. Some of the usual supply chains and transportation channels are slowed down by the current situation.

The best way to ensure mom gets the freshest, highest quality flowers is to ask your florist or designer to use American Grown flowers and greens, look for our label in your grocery stores or order direct from one of our farms. For a full guide on where and how to buy American Grown Flowers, click the link below.

 

 

Space savers: The flower power advantage for isolation

How many times have you said to yourself, “I could really use a break!” 

Although the timing and circumstances are not most Americans’ choice, this pause is here, courtesy of COVID-19. But unlike a staycation, we aren’t sure just how much time we have to launch DIY remodeling projects or dive into long-term changes in our life. 

Immediate impacts that refresh our space are the goal now, along with keeping our spirits sweet.

Floral arrangements accomplish both. According to a 10-month behavioral study at Rutgers University, flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on moods. Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and agitated when presented with flowers. Color plays a strong role in this reaction:

Red has a positive effect on the immune system and an energizing influence on fatigue and exhaustion. 

• When you see pink, you often feel joy. Bright hues of this color increase blood pressure, heartbeat and respiration, as well, which leads to energy. 

Violet calms the body and mind and nourishes creativity. 

Yellow, the happy color, encourages communication while it stimulates memory and the nervous system. 

Orange’s psychological profile includes promoting optimism, determination, and success. On the other hand, it also urges viewers to socialization, so be sparing with this color. 

Blue, as you could no doubt guess, promotes a calm, cool, and sedate aura. No wonder it’s America’s favorite color even in normal times. 

Green brings about tranquility.

Photo: The Floral Source Instagram / thefloralsource.com

But the effects don’t end there. If you find working from home is adding undue stress to your daily life, take heart from this study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology: fresh-cut roses in a Tokyo office environment produced measurable degrees of relaxation. “In our stressful, modern societies, the relaxing effect of natural stimuli is considered advantageous compared with other stimuli,” the researchers shared. 

And, finally, don’t overlook the power of scent. Lavender has long been known as a way to relieve anxiety and depression. (It’s also been used as antiseptic) The small, white jasmine flowers enhance mental alertness. Lilac triggers serenity. 

Mother Nature loves you. Be sure to let her into your life in the coming days!

 

Create Alongside America’s Most Talented Floral Designers

Volunteer for 2020 First Lady’s Luncheon Design Team

Certified American Grown Flowers is seeking volunteer floral designers and support team members for the 2020 First Lady’s Luncheon.

As a volunteer, you’ll work side by side with some of America’s most talented floral designers to create hundreds of arrangements and a floral selfie wall – all from American Grown Flowers and Greens – to wow guests at this historic bipartisan luncheon that’s been an annual tradition since 1912.

This is your chance to give back and make a difference, all while honing your floral design chops for a prestigious audience!

First Lady’s Luncheon 2020 designer Christi Lopez of Bergeron’s Flowers.


This year, the Certified American Grown First Lady’s Luncheon Design Team is being co-led by Christi Lopez AIFD EMC of
Bergerons Flowers and Carrie Wilcox of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design

With over 30 years of experience in the floral industry, Lopez’s Bergerons Flowers specializes in weddings and event design for clients in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area.

Big on giving back, Lopez also helps florists who are just starting out confidently unleash their design creativity and run a profitable business through professional coaching, floral design intensives and her Business of Flowers Facebook Group.

Carrie Wilcox of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design will serve as co-designer for the 2020 First Lady’s Luncheon.

Carrie Wilcox Floral Design is a full-service floral event studio that works with East Coast clients in Fairfield County, the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, Coastal Connecticut, Massachusetts and beyond. Weddings and special celebrations are Wilcox’s only focus, so she’ll perfectly on task at the luncheon. 

Check out these photos from last year’s effort on our Flickr page. Then let us know that you’d like to volunteer!

It’s the floral design opportunity of a lifetime! 

 

Join Us In Washington, D.C., For Annual Fly-In

Mark Your Calendar for Feb. 25-27

Year after year, we encourage flower farmers to join us in Washington, D.C., for our annual fly-in. 

Why?

Because meeting face to face with policymakers, telling flower farmers’ stories and sharing pain points works. It impacts policy. It leads to change. It creates understanding. 

American Grown flower farmers in Washington D.C., February 2019. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

That’s why we’re encouraging you to mark your calendar for this year’s fly-in, set for Feb. 25-27. 

This is your opportunity to advocate for the work you do and its impact on the economy. It’s your chance to explain how policies from D.C. affect real farmers and their families. And it’s your opening to help make something big happen for flower farmers. 

Delegate Benno Dobbe pleased to share his passion for American Grown Flowers and Greens. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

Perhaps it will be something related to trade policies, labor requirements, or sustainability or a host of other potential bills on critical topics that require the voices of real flower farmers who are affected. 

Great things happen when farmers are able to share their challenges and concerns with policymakers. Photo by Ken Pak Photography.

You don’t have to be an expert. We’ll provide the background you need and tips for speaking to policymakers. But we do need your voice. Your experience. Your time. 

Let us know you’d like to join the delegation signing up today!  Together, we can advocate for the industry we love.

 

Cal Poly, Farms, Wholesalers Share the Floral Love

Petal It Forward Garners Nationwide Attention


Petal It Forward, an annual event from the Society of American Florists, encourages florists, flower farmers and flower lovers to surprise people with a double floral treat – two fresh flower bouquets, one to keep and one to share. 

For the second year in a row, the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) partnered with the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Rose Parade float team to bring Petal It Forward to the campus on Oct. 23. 

The Cal Poly Rose Parade Float Team handed out hundreds of bouquets on campus in San Luis Obispo, California.

The Rose Parade Float team, which is also working with Cal Poly Pomona on its certified California Grown Rose Parade float, handed out about 160 bouquets across the campus and in campus offices. The flowers were donated by Mellano & Company, Kitayama Brothers, Ocean Breeze Farms and Glad-A-Way Gardens. 

Representatives from Ocean View Flowers, a Certified American Grown Farm, also participated in the event, taking to the streets of Lompoc to hand out over 400 bouquets and 1,000 bunches of stock. “Spreading smiles in petal form around the Valley of the Flowers turned out even better than we hoped,” Ocean View noted on social media. 

Bouquets waiting to surprise and delight recipients who were given on bouquet to keep, one bouquet to give away.

And Certified American Grown wholesaler DV Flora got in on the fun, spreading smiles in Media, Pennsylvania. “We had the chance to meet, interact and put a smile on so many faces around town by offering two free bouquets … one for them to keep and another to pass along to a neighbor or stranger. It truly was an incredible day and you could feel a positive vibe in the air,” DV Flora shared on Facebook. 

The Ocean View Flowers team also handed out bouquets for Petal it Forward in downtown Lompoc, California.

Other flower farms that took part in Petal It Forward include Kitayama Brothers, MOBIS and Maximum Flowers.  

All in all, an amazing day full of surprise and delight for folks nationwide! 

 

Certified American Grown, 6 Certified Farms Shine at Fresh Summit Booth

Certified American Grown staff members were joined by six certified farms in a large booth at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, last week. 

Within the 20×50 booth space, each farm had dedicated space to put their American Grown Flowers and Greens front and center. A sign over the booth ensured that no one on the show floor could miss us! And a huge Certified American Grown logo heart created with Certified American Grown Flowers attracted lots of attention. 

B Fresh Floral, Bloomia USA, FernTrust, Inc., Kitayama Brothers, Mellano & Company and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers joined the Certified American Grown booth space at the 2019 PMA Fresh Summit.

We’re so grateful to B Fresh Floral, Bloomia USA, FernTrust, Inc., Kitayama Brothers, Mellano & Company and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers for participating! We appreciate the grant funding that covered the booth space (this year and next) that came through an Agricultural Trade Promotion grant. And we’re beyond excited that Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and Josh Eddy, executive director of CDFA, stopped by the booth. 

Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) visited with Dave Pruitt, Interim Administrator of Certified American Grown showing her support once again for flower farmers.

Finally, we’re grateful for the opportunity to talk to those who stopped by the booth (which may have been the most beautiful at the entire event) about American Grown Flowers Month in July and California Grown Flowers Month in June; becoming BloomCheck certified; becoming a Certified American Grown Farm; and the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. 

The large, circular Certified American Grown signage, was a clear beacon to those on the trade show floor, drawing attention to the beautiful flowers and greens that American Grown farmers provide.

Sure, it was a whirlwind. But being at Fresh Summit was also an amazing opportunity to showcase the flowers and greens American farmers are producing 365 days a year and share all of Certified American Grown’s efforts to support them. 

A win-win in every way!