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! 

 

American Flower Farmers Participate in Trade Mission to South Korea, Vietnam

A delegation of Certified American Grown flower farmers, accompanied by interim Certified American Grown Administrator Dave Pruitt, recently participated in a trade mission to South Korea and Vietnam. 

During the trip, the delegation hosted an industry seminar in Seoul to introduce U.S. cut flower and foliage varieties, and to provide handling, shipping and display techniques to preserve shelf life and maximize profitability. 

U.S. Delegation – Asia Trade Mission. From Left: Kristie Park, Jim Omoto, Rita Jo Shoultz, Misty Welborn, David Pruitt, Betty Joslyn, Ken Yang, and Min Lee. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services Inc.

Five U.S. cut flower and foliage farmers spoke and presented to the group of approximately 16 South Korean import companies and Pruitt gave a keynote address. 

The delegation then traveled to Vietnam, an emerging market for American Grown Flowers and Greens, where they met with cut flower and foliage import companies and toured the domestic growing region. They also met with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to discuss market opportunities and challenges.

U.S. Cut Flower and Foliage Seminar in Seoul, South Korea. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services.

The trade mission delegation included: 

  • Betty Joslyn of Joslyn Peonies
  • Jim Omoto of Kendall Farms
  • Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers
  • Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony
  • Misty Welborn of Mellano & Company 

Stops during the trip included the Yangjae Flower Market and a number of floral industry businesses, including Flower Box,  Hoa Yeu Thuong, Dung Khoa Flower, Hoa 38 do Company, CASALANA and The Flower Market VN Company. 

The delegation visited the Yangjae Flower Market in South Korea. Photo courtesy of Korea Business Services.

Certified American Grown has prioritized markets in North and Southeast Asia that represent the most promising emerging markets based on export volume and value over the past five years. Certified American Grown has used federal grant funds to establish in-country representation in each market to begin building relationships with local importers and retailers, lead outbound trade missions for industry delegations, and conduct promotions at retail to move more volume during peak supply periods.

Certified American Grown led trade missions to China in 2017 and 2018 for similar market development purposes. 

 

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! 

 

Where Should We Go In 2020?

Send Us Your Suggestions For American Grown Field To Vase Dinner Tour Stops!

In 2020, the award-winning American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour will begin its sixth season. That’s six years of hosting guests on some of America’s most beautiful flower farms where they meet the farmer, take in breathtaking designs from a renowned floral designer and dine on a multi-course artisan meal paired with local wine and craft beers.  

Guests of every Field to Vase Dinner experience an evening filled with beautiful American Grown Flowers along with a multi-course artisan meal.  Photo by Danielle Honea Photography.

The dinner tour has become a spectacular tradition that introduces guests to the homegrown flowers available 365 days a year from American flower farms. And like any tradition, each year there’s a lot to live up to! 

That’s why we’re asking flower farmers, florists, wholesalers, sponsors and flower-lovers where we should stop in 2020. 

Get the feel of an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner like this one in Nashville,  TN. Then send us your suggestions for 2020 to stops! 

 

We want to announce next year’s stops in January, so we’re already canvassing the country, checking out locations and looking to shine the spotlight on America’s best flower farms, floral designers and communities that exemplify the growing support and movement for American Grown Flowers.

Got a suggestion for the perfect location? Email Andrea@AmericanGrownFlowers.org or fill out the application below and tell us why the American Grown Dinner Tour should stop in.

Perdue Makes Stop at Michigan Flower Farm on Listening Tour

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue got a chance to stop and smell the flowers in Michigan last week as he toured the state to take the pulse of farmers and listen to their concerns.

Perdue’s tour included a stop at Summer Dreams Farms in Oxford, Michigan, where owner Michael Genovese showed him around and got a chance to offer a flower grower’s perspective on trade, the competition from imports and the importance of the American Grown Act and the Cut Flower Caucus. Summer Dreams Farms grows dahlias in Oxford, about an hour north of Detroit.

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue talks with flower farmer Michael Genovese at Summer Dreams Farm.  Photos by Heather Saunders.

Perdue was in Michigan to hear from farmers at a time when tariffs and trade agreements are major concerns. Perdue also visited a sugar beet farm, a town hall meeting with farmers in Frankenmuth and Better Made Potato Chips.

At the town hall meeting, Perdue fielded questions about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North America Free Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is still being debated in Congress. Opponents are concerned about enforcement and the prospect of losing American jobs.

“The world is watching,” Perdue told farmers. “If we cannot get an agreement with people on the north and south of us, how can we have an agreement with the world on trade?”

Perdue said he intended to take what he heard back to Washington and President Trump.

“Farmers are interesting, they like to look you in the eye,” said Perdue, according to a report on WWMT-TV. “They can send an email or write an email, but they respect when you come and respect them by looking at the ground, feel challenges they have here, feel the heartbeat of what they’re struggling with. That’s my job. That can make me a more effective advocate to the president and to the administration.

“He asks me when I get back, ‘how’s it going out there, Sonny?’ I have the opportunity to tell him. I told him a few weeks ago, ‘Mr. President, it’s tough and it’s getting tougher.’ He says well that’s negative and I say well you pay me to tell you the truth and that’s what we do.”

Amid all the serious concerns, Perdue’s visit to Summer Dreams Farms left an impression on him.

“Several of his staff came up to me and said they had not ever seen him so excited on a farm tour in a long time,” Genovese said. “I was also told he was talking about the flower farm the entire drive to and during the next stop on his tour.”

 

Award-Winning Cameron Mitchell Premier Events To Shine Last Dinner Tour Stop

If you’ve heard of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events before, it’s likely because this award-winning business has earned an amazing reputation in Columbus and Central Ohio.  

Think honors from ISES WOW! Awards and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, not to mention recognition for its various venues that include The Ivory Room at Miranova, a chic, modern event space located in the heart of Downtown Columbus; The Exchange, a contemporary open event space located in Dublin’s Bridge Park neighborhood; and The Terrace in the heart of The Short North Arts District.

New Albany Field to Vase Dinner guests are in for a real treat!  Not only will they experience the much-loved beauty of the Red Twig Farm, but also the delightful culinary creations of chef Amanda Stuart of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.  Photo by Daniel Kelleghan.

Guests at the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner on Oct. 5 at Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, will get to experience all Cameron Mitchell Premier Events has to offer when the firm takes on the both the culinary efforts and the event coordination. 

The menu points to an amazing evening on the flower farm, thanks to the culinary expertise of chef Amanda Stuart. For as long as she can remember, Stuart has always had a passion for the creativity and artistic aspects of cooking. At age 17, she began independently executing small catered parties and creating custom cakes for family and friends. It wasn’t until she began working at The Hills Market as the director of food services that she decided she wanted to pursue cooking professionally. 

Chef Amanda Stuart will be leading the catering team at the New Albany Field to Vase Dinner on October 5.  Photo courtesy of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.

In 2012, Amanda joined Cameron Mitchell Premier Events as a catering supervisor and rose through the ranks, developing as a bakery supervisor and later a sous chef. 

Here’s what Stuart has planned for Field to Vase Dinner guests: an Arcadian greens salad and cracked wheat sourdough bread followed by salmon with tomato and olive relish, flat iron steak with chimichurri, roasted seasonal vegetables and herb-roasted red potatoes. Dessert will feature mini chocolate chip cookies, lemon-berry shooters and pistachio macarons. 

 

Steak House Pizza is just one of the delicious hors d’oeuvers served at our Ohio Field to Vase Dinner.  Photo courtesy of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events.

 


With a culinary experience like this, a tour of Red Twig Farms and floral designs by Mindy Staton of
Two Little Buds Florist, it’s no wonder this dinner is already sold out! 

If you missed out, stay tuned for our announcement of 2020 American Grown Field to Vase Tour locations! 

 

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.