It Was a Glorious Fall Evening at Red Twig Farms

Last Stop on 2019 Field To Vase Tour Doesn’t Disappoint!

The American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour made its final stop of the 2019 season at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, and all we can say is, “Wow, what a ride!”  

It was a perfect evening to be on a flower farm, enjoying the hospitality and beauty of Red Twig Farms.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

This spectacular evening was an amazing way to wrap up the tour, thanks to flower farmers Josh and Lindsey McCullough who shared the art and science of flower growing with guests and floral designer Mindy Staton of Two Little Buds.

Josh and Lindsey McCullough took great pleasure in hosting the first Ohio Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

On a perfect early-fall evening, 150 guests gathered on the flower farm to dine on a multi-course dinner created by chef Amanda Stuart of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events that featured an Arcadian greens salad, salmon with tomato and olive relish, flat iron steak with chimichurri, roasted seasonal vegetables and herb-roasted red potatoes. 

Cameron Mitchell Premier Events created a mouth-watering menu for guests of the New Albany dinner.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography.

The meal was accompanied by wines from Glass Mountain, thanks to Heidelberg Distributing Company; craft beer from North High Brewing Company; and a specialty cocktail from Watershed Distillery. Guests were serenaded throughout the evening by musicians Wild Ohio Duo. 

The wine flowed freely throughout the event thanks to sponsor Heidelberg Distributing Company.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

Flowers from American farms, many of them Certified American Grown, dazzled in mixed fall bouquets at the center of the community table. And winning the evening’s biggest oooh’s and ahhh’s was a vintage truck packed with F2V swag bags and overflowing with autumn blooms and foliage. 

American Grown Flowers spilled out of this vintage truck in a display that caught everyone’s attention.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

The evening simply could not have been a more perfect representation of all the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour has to offer – American flower farmers, local food and drink, renowned floral designers and flower lovers from near and far gathered to connect and share their love of homegrown blooms and greens. 

The Field to Vase Dinner Tour ended its 2019 season as it ends every dinner, with a bounty of American Grown Flowers and swag for every guest and lots of smiles.  Photo by Red Gallery Photography

As we wrap up, we offer our sincere thanks to the many flower farmers who donated flowers: 

Bluegreen Gardens Farm and Florals

California Pajarosa

Camflor

Continental Floral Greens

Cut Flowers by Clear Ridge

Eufloria

Fern Trust Inc.

Green Valley Floral

Kitayama Brothers

Maximum Flowers

Mellano & Co.

Myriad Flowers

North Pole Peonies

Ocean View Flowers

S & R Farms

Sun Valley Floral Farms 

Photo by Red Gallery Photography

If spending an evening on an American flower farm appeals to you, stay tuned for our 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates, coming in January! 

 

American Grown Flowers, Greens Take Center Stage at State Dinner

Roses, Jasmine Vines, Dahlias From U.S. Flower Farms Adorn Tables

American Grown Flowers and Greens adorned the tables at President Donald Trump’s second-ever state dinner with Australia on Sept. 20. 

The president and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife, Jenny, on the South Lawn of the White House. The dinner was held in the Rose Garden and featured floral arrangements in green and gold, the Australian national colors.  

American Grown Flowers were showcased in the centerpieces at the state dinner with Australia. Photo by Andrea Hanks.

Dinner centerpieces were created in gold woven baskets filled with yellow garden roses and golden wattle to signify the combined friendship and long-lasting relationship between the United States and Australia. More than 2,500 roses were used, along with jasmine vines and dahlias, all from domestic flower farms. 

Homegrown garden roses, jasmine vines and dahlias were showcased in the White House designs. Photo by Andrea Hanks.

“The unique designs paid homage to the national flower of Australia, the golden wattle, while celebrating the diverse floral bounty of this country with garden roses, jasmine vines and dahlias, all homegrown on U.S. farms and greenhouses,” shared Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown. “America’s flower farmers work hard every day in every state to provide beautiful flowers to consumers. These family farms are honored that their flowers were showcased at the White House in designs imagined by First Lady Melania Trump, showing the world the variety of flowers grown throughout all 50 states,” he added. 

This is the second time American Grown blooms were used at a state dinner. In 2014, President Barack Obama welcomed France’s president at a state dinner that featured American Grown flowering quince branches, weeping willow, Scotch broom, iris, nandina, alocasia, equisetum and green liriope. 

State dinners are a way to celebrate U.S. relations with international friends and allies while demonstrating and celebrating America’s cultural, culinary – and now floral –  heritage. 

 

 

Donald Yim Wins 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Competition

Certified American Grown is a Proud Sponsor

Donald Yim, AIFD,PFCI, was named the winner of the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition held during the Society of American Florists 135th Annual Convention on Amelia Island, Florida, last week. 

Donald Yim, AIFD, PFCI, winner of the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition, accepts his award from Dave Pruitt, interim administrator of Certified American Grown, as Jacque Sir Louis of Smithers-Oasis looks on.

The win earned Yim the coveted Sylvia Cup trophy and a $3,000 prize.

Bob Tucker, AIFD, FSMD, received first runner-up honors and $500. The second runner-up was Alejandro Figeuira Fernandes, AIFD, who received $250. 

Donald Yim, first runner-up Bob Tucker and second runner-up Alejandro Figeuira Fernandes are applauded by the audience and Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown.

The Sylvia Cup is the country’s longest running live floral design competition. It began in 1967 and is named for Sylvia Valencia, a prominent designer and long-time SAF supporter.

Donald Yim poses with his award-winning designs.

This year’s competition had a pirate theme in a nod to Amelia Island and its maritime history. 

The event was sponsored by Certified American Grown and Oasis Floral Products, and coordinated by Professional Floral Communicators International.  

Participants and supporters from the 51st Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition that featured a pirate theme and maritime-based design challenges.

The 13 competing floral designers were challenged to create a floral crown for Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II and the island’s namesake; an American floral art piece inspired by nature; and an easel piece for a funeral using green and white flowers inspired by the sails of a ship. 

Sylvia Cup competitors work on their designs, all created with Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens, while SAF attendees look on.

Contestants designed all of their arrangements with Certified American Grown Flowers and Greens donated by the following generous farms: 

Bloomia USA 

California Pajarosa Floral 

CamFlor Inc.  

Continental Floral Greens 

Dramm Echter Farms

Eufloria Flowers

Fern Trust, Inc.

Glad-A-Way Gardens 

Holland America Flowers 

Kitayama Brothers

Kendall Farms 

Mellano & Company 

Mobi’s 

Ocean View Flowers 

Pyramid Flowers 

Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers 

Star Valley Flowers 

Sun Valley Flower Farms

Sutton Ferneries

Westland Orchids

Certified American Grown Goes To SAF!

Representatives from Certified American Grown participated in the expo held at the Society of American Florists (SAF) 135th Annual Convention on Amelia Island, Florida, last week. 

Certified American Grown hosted a table at the Society of American Florists (SAF) 135th Annual Convention held on Amelia Island, Florida, last week.

Interim CEO Dave Pruitt, along with Certified American Grown staff members Andrea Philpot and Anna Kalins manned a table at the expo and talked with wholesalers, farms and florists in attendance about all things Certified American Grown.

There’s a lot to share! 

Certified American Grown Interim CEO Dave Pruitt along with Andrea Philpot and Anna Kalins answered questions and provided a wide range of information to expo attendees.

Think general information about the program and our certified farms, details of the annual American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour, the launch of Certified American Grown-branded floral food packets from Floralife and the American Grown Act. 

The SAF expo provided a great opportunity to discuss all that’s important to Certified American Grown with fellow flower lovers, industry leaders and designers.

The event also provided the opportunity for some selfies with friends and supporters of Certified American Grown! 

Bottom line: In just a few hours at the expo, we made a lot of connections, shared many exciting events and programs, and explained how Certified American Grown is advocating for America’s flower farmers.

It was a great day at an important industry event! 

The Certified American Grown information table at the SAF convention expo.

 

 

Guests Dine In Fields Of Waving Stock

Ocean View Flowers Attracts One Of Tour’s Largest Audiences

Five hundred acres of blooming flowers. Two hundred guests. One 200-foot dining table. Thousands of stems of stock, dahlias, delphinium, larkspur, Bells of Ireland and Queen Anne’s Lace. 

That’s just a hint of what guests at the Sept. 7 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc enjoyed. Perhaps celebrity florist Debi Lilly said it best as she stood in acres of blooming stock: “Our heart explodes technicolor rainbow confetti!” 

Exactly!

It was a joyous evening where guests dined in fields bursting with floral color at a table of 200 like-minded flower lovers.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

Guests arrived to an expansive floral arch overflowing with pink, purple and white stock, and a view of an enormous community dining table. 

As guests walked past a wall of Queen Anne’s Lace, they came upon this hidden and stunning site.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

They met flower farmer Frank Costa and dined on delicious creations by culinary artist Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread. And they sipped wine, beer and spirits from Calwise Spirits Co., Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards, Sweetzer Cellars, Montemar Wines, Foley Wines, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines and Solvang Brewing Company.  

Guests were utterly in awe of the menu created by Chef Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread. Photo by Danielle Honea Photography

Chef Staub’s menu featured farm-fresh ingredients thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board, Las Flores Apiaries honey, Hibbits Ranch walnuts, Tutti Frutti and Babé Farms. And what a menu it was: chilled melon soup, nasturtium and marigold salad, end-of-summer sweet corn ribs, grilled grass-fed strip steak braised in stone fruits, Moroccan vegetarian b’stilla, heirloom tomatoes with grilled summer squash and herbs, and a roasted strawberry tart.

The entire evening came together thanks to the heroic efforts of event planner Cynthia Signorelli of Cynthia Signorelli Special Events who ensured guests had the experience of a lifetime on an American flower farm! 

 

 

Lilly, the floral designer for the event, nailed it again when she shared how the event made her (and guests) feel. “So much magic and love and passion for flowers and farmers it brings tears to our eyes.” 

Debi Lilly brought her passion for American Grown Flowers and those who farm them to the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography

 

Sincere thanks to our additional sponsors and supporters: 

  • Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance 
  • The SOi Company 
  • River Bottom Boys 
  • Safeway
  • Vons
  • Albertsons
  • Local FFA students 

The evening was full of flowers, fun and smiles! Photos by Danielle Honea Photography.

To see more photos from this amazing event, you can go to our Flickr Album!

If an evening like this one appeals to you, stay tuned for our 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour dates, coming in January!   Sign up here to be one of the first to know where the Dinner Tour will stop next year!

 

Floral Designer for Last 2019 F2V Dinner Announced

Mindy Staton To Bring Her Sumptuous Designs To Red Twig Farms

Farmer florist Mindy Staton exudes passion. And when she pairs that passion with big ideas, watch out!

In other words, guests at the sold out Oct. 5 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, are in for a treat.

After all, Staton is an owner of Two Little Buds Florist in Hamilton, Ohio, and a second location in Cincinnati. And she’s a co-owner with husband, Josh, of Morning Sun Flower Farm, a venture they started in 2016 based on Staton’s vision.

Mindy Staton, owner of Two Little Buds Florist will be the featured designer of the much-anticipated Field to Vase Dinner at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio.  Photo courtesy of Two Little Buds.

A wedding and events florist, Staton is known for her flower-heavy designs that are packed with color and texture.

It’s a look she’s excited to bring to the Field to Vase Dinner where she’s planning designs showcasing Red Twigs’ gorgeous dahlias and, of course, red twig branches.

Think flowers spilling out of vintage trucks, in compotes along the community dinner table and overhead in the form of arches.

Flower heavy designs are Staton’s signature as a wedding and event florist.  Photo provided by Two Little Buds.

Her Instagram account gives you a glimpse into her lush aesthetic, and if you’re one of the lucky ones with a seat at the table, you’re going to be amazed by her inspiring designs.

This dinner tour stop is sold out, but don’t despair! We’ll announce tour stops for 2020 in January! When that happens, be sure to save your seat since nearly every dinner sells out early!

Sign up here for our newsletter to be the first to know next year’s dinner locations!

 

 

Carbajal Staffers Visit Ocean Breeze Farms

Tour, Discussions Put Focus on Key Issues, Industry Innovations

While flower farmers make a visit to Washington, D.C., each year to connect with policymakers, a recent meeting with staff from Congressman Salud Carbajal’s office brought policymakers to the flower farm.

Last week, Jeremy Tittle, chief of staff, and Erin Sandlin, agriculture legislative assistant, visited Ocean Breeze Farms in Carpinteria on behalf of Salud, a co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.

While there, Tittle and Sandlin toured the farm and met with Rene and June Van Wingerden, owners of a Certified American Grown flower farm. They were joined by Dave Pruitt, interim administrator for Certified American Grown, and Jumana Misleh, federal affairs representative for the program.

Jeremy Tittle and Erin Sandlin of Congressman Carbajal’s office, discuss cut flower policy concerns with Ocean Breeze farmers Rene and June Van Wingerden.

During the meeting, the Van Wingerdens summarized the top three cut flower issues they believe Congressman Carbajal should focus on: enforcement of labeling laws on imported flowers, passing the American Grown Act and immigration reform.

Tittle and Sandlin responded by agreeing to follow up on the labeling issue and promising to review alternative ways to move the American Grown Act, including looking at modifying appropriations language. They also indicated that while discussions on immigration reform continue, the chances of action on the issue this year are slim.

Farmer Rene Van Wingerden discussing the growth process and innovative care practices of Gerbera daisies with Tittle and Sandlin.

The group then toured an Ocean Breeze Farms greenhouse, learning about the growing process of Gerbera daisies and hearing about the innovations implemented on the farm, including hydroponic growing and integrated pest management, which has made the operation chemical-free.

Also discussed during the tour were the slim margins flower farmers face, how farms are cutting costs with efforts like using plants for longer periods, and the importance of a consistent, skilled labor force.

Tittle and Sandlin left Ocean Breeze with a deeper understanding of flower farming and a pledge to continue to provide support for America’s flower farmers in Washington, D.C.

“Meetings like these continue to stress the importance of having a strong relationship with our state and federal representatives to educate and convey the issues that all flower farmers face,” notes CAG’s Pruitt. “We hope that through meetings like this, we continue to ensure a bright future for American flower farmers.”

Flower-Lovers’ Dreams Come True at Alaskan Field to Vase Dinner

Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe it!

They’re flowers with a cult following thanks to their limited growing season, enormous ruffled blooms and amazing scent. 

 

They’re peonies! 

A gorgeous setting awaited guests of the Homer Field to Vase Dinner complete with a table overflowing with peonies and a view of Kachemuk Bay.  Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

And 175 guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Joslyn Peony & Wedding Farm in Homer, Alaska, on Aug. 3 dined at tables overflowing (literally) with these incredible peonies as they gazed at the Kachemuk Bay.

 

Featured designer Christ Lopez created a stunning cascade of peonies and foraged fern.  Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

The tablescape, created by Christi Lopez, AIFD EMC of Bergerons Flowers and Events, featured a garland of over 2,000 peonies in shades of pink and white (Duchess, Sarah Bernhardt, Mon Jules and Festiva Maxima varieties) paired with foraged fern from farmer Betty Joslyn’s farm. The petal-heavy design cascaded off the end of the table in a sweeping floral waterfall! 

 

The floral wall was a beautiful backdrop for guest photos. Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

Throughout the evening, guests gathered at a circular floral wall “selfie station” featuring red Felix Supreme peonies to capture their experience and the beauty of homegrown peonies. 

 

Farmer Betty Joslyn and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.  Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

 

Those attending the pre-dinner reception, sponsored by Ball Horticultural Company, enjoyed a full oyster bar hosted by Jakolof Bay Oysters, and heard from longtime Alaska flower supporter Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

 

 

 

The artisan meal prepared by Chef Susie Von Willer Linford of Alaska Coastal Catering featured wild-caught Alaskan crab claws, organic greens with feta and local berries, Alaskan Copper River salmon, couscous with gorgonzola, carrots roasted in thyme and butter, and a dessert featuring two kinds of truffles and organic berries. 

 

 

 

The band Burnt Down House played for guests throughout the evening, and craft beer was provided by Homer Brewing Company and Broken Tooth Brewing.  

 

We love to see our guests smiling as they leave with armfuls of American Grown goodies.  Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

Guests left with amazing memories, a new appreciation for homegrown blooms, armfuls of American Grown Flowers and a swag bag packed with floral goodies. 

To see more beautiful photos from the dinner at Joslyn Peonies, visit our Flickr page.

If an evening like this sounds like something you’d enjoy, join us Sept. 7 at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, California, for the next American Grown Field to Vase Dinner! 

 

 

Solving the Summer Slump Is Focus of Fun ‘N Sun Session

Experts Shared How Origin-Based Campaigns Can Drive Consumer Demand

It’s an industry-wide problem. Flower sales drop in the summer just as flower production is at its peak. 

What to do?

A panel of floral industry experts shared tips and resources to address the slump as part of a panel session at Fun ‘N Sun, held July 26 in Santa Barbara, California.

The session, “Solving the Summer Slump – A Plan to Drive Sales Beyond Mother’s Day,” featured Crystal Hedgpeth, floral sales manager for Safeway’s Northern California division, John Burk, digital marketing manager for Certified American Grown wholesaler DVFlora and Kelly Shore, owner and lead designer of Petals by the Shore in Maryland. The session was guided by the California Cut Flower Commission’s (CCFC) Anna Kalins. 

Left to right: Fun ‘N Sun panelist John Burk, CCFC’s Anna Kalins and Interim CEO Dave Pruitt, along with panelists Crystal Hedgpeth and Kelly Shore.

During the session, the panelists explained how they were growing sales and consumer awareness for homegrown flowers by featuring American Grown Flowers and Greens throughout July (declared American Grown Flowers Month by Congress). They also discussed the incredible success they’ve witnessed with marketing campaigns focused on American Grown flowers and from the American Grown Flowers Month Merchandising Contest – think sales increases as large as 17.5%!  

Hedgpeth, Burk and Shore also shared the tactics they and their companies are leveraging to gain customers when “America is in season” and all year long. 

CCFC’s Anna Kalins moderated the panel discussion about how to drive sales beyond Mother’s Day.

Hedgpeth described Nor Cal Safeway’s wildly successful blue bucket campaign that promotes American Grown Flowers in dozens of stores. Burk shared DVFlora’s multi-pronged efforts, including free marketing materials for its customers, special pricing on American Grown Flowers, DV Crush boxes sent to high-profile florists and special website pages featuring American Grown product. Shore shared her story of committing to sourcing American Grown Flowers for her floral business all year long. She also talked about the many ways she’s spreading the word that origin matters, like farm tours, a 12-month project featuring American Grown bridal bouquets and volunteering to lead design efforts for Certified American Grown events.  

Attendees left with the knowledge of how to plug into future American Grown Flowers Month campaigns and contests, and a better understanding of why the origin matters message is resonating with consumers.

The big news – tips from the session will help everyone say “so long” to the summer slump! 

 

Celebrity Designer Debi Lilly Will Delight Lompoc Dinner Guests

You Can Design Alongside a Floral Luminary

Celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will bring her amazing design skills to the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, California, on September 7. 

Celebrity florist and party planner Debi Lilly will be our featured designer for the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner. Photo courtesy of A Perfect Event.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve seen Lilly on TV, in magazines, in stores nationwide, and you’ve likely even seen photos of her floral and event creations for designer brands.

Photo courtesy of A Perfect Event.

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 and Lamborghini, Lilly is a highly sought-after designer. Oh, and she’s also the creator of a unique American Grown bouquet available at Safeway stores, along with her Debi Lilly branded floral containers! 

 

Lilly has twice been a featured designer for stops on the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour. Each time, she delighted guests with her creations and the easy-to-follow design tips she provides during her F2V-related workshops.

Lilly brought her design expertise to the Carlsbad Field to Vase Dinner in 2018. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

That’s right, you can design alongside Lilly at a floral workshop, also on Sept. 7, at 8:30 a.m. Just add the $40 workshop when you save your seat for the dinner. 

Join Debi Lilly at her Sept. 7 workshop where she will share her tips for fall and holiday floral design and party planning. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

 

During the workshop, Lilly will cover fall design trends, creative vessels for unique arrangements and perfect floral designs for the holidays.  

Debi Lilly loves to inspire and connect with her workshop guests and they in turn, love the personal interaction with her. Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

 

Don’t miss you chance to see Lilly’s breathtaking tablescapes at the dinner and design alongside her at the workshop. After all, she’s floral royalty!