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.

 

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Ag Funding Bill

Bill Language Supports Floriculture Report

The U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has approved a bill to fund the Agriculture Department and related agencies for fiscal year 2020. The bill provides discretionary funding of $23.1 billion, $58 million over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $4.1 billion over the budget request. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $128.6 billion.

The bill also includes language that supports funding for the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) annual Floriculture Crops Report, the only report providing national stats on the cut flower sector.

The bill’s report language states: “The Committee recognizes the importance of the Floriculture Crops Report and recommends an increase of $500,000 for NASS to complete the report. The Committee directs NASS to include data from Alaska in compiling the report.”

Sen. Dianne Feintstein has met with flower farmers each year at Certified American Grown’s annual DC Fly-In.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

 

Certified American Grown and the California Cut Flower Commission worked closely with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ensure that language supporting the annual Floriculture Report was included.

Senator Murkowski, shown here with flower farmers at the Homer, Alaska Field to Vase Dinner in July, has long been a friend and advocate of the American flower farmer. Photo by Rachel Tweggs Photography.

 

This year and in 2018, the California Cut Flower Commission submitted appropriations requests to both the House and Senate, and had numerous discussions with Members advocating about the importance of the report. The report was also a topic at the annual Washington, D.C. fly-in.

In 2018, during the Certified American Grown DC Fly-in, flower famers elevated the issue for reinstating the annual floriculture report directly to USDA NASS officials and worked with members of Congress to help secure the funding necessary for its reinstatement.  Photo by Nony Park of Ken Pak Photography.

As you may know, the report was quietly suspended in 2016, but as a result of Certified American Grown and CCFC’s advocacy for fiscal year 2019, the report was bought back and released in May 2019.  The Society of American Florists (SAF) also lobbied for the report.

The approval of the ag funding bill with language supporting the Floriculture Crops report is a huge win for America’s flower farmers!

Regarding the overall bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “This bill funds our nation’s agriculture and nutrition programs and directly influences the quality of life in rural America. It provides our farmers and ranchers the support they need. This is a good committee product, and I thank Senators Hoeven and Merkley for working together to craft this legislation. It deserves the backing of the full Senate.”

Next, the bill will be placed on the legislative calendar for a vote.

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.”

Culinary Artist is Chef for Field to Vase Dinner at Ocean View Flowers

He’s been called a culinary “artist” and his passion for sourcing fresh ingredients from small farms and ranches is widely known. Also well known is his popular restaurant, Full of Life Flatbread, in Los Alamos. 

Introducing Clark Staub, chef for the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour stop at Ocean View Flowers on September 7 in Lompoc, California.

Chef Clark Staub in front of his hearth at Full of Life Flatbread. Photo by Steve Collins.

Staub has distinguished himself as an expert at destination dinners, having been the chef for more than a dozen events by organizations like Outstanding in the Field. 

Under Staub’s leadership, Full of Life Flatbread has earned a reputation for its farm-to-table approach and outside kiln pizza oven. 

For over 16 years, the Staub and his team have handcrafted seasonal flatbreads, baked fast in a scorching hot oak-fired stone oven, and served to the throngs of locals and in-the-know out-of-town foodies who line up for supper at the restaurant. 

Staub also creates and sells thousands of certified organic frozen pizzas nationwide at grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods. 

Which is all to say that guests at the upcoming American Grown Field to Vase Dinner should prepare to be wowed – and arrive hungry!  

One look at the menu should seal the deal.

Staub plans to serve chilled melon soup, end-of-summer sweet corn ribs, nasturtium and marigold salad, grilled grass-fed strip steak braised in stonefruits, Moroccan vegetarian b’stilla, heirloom tomatoes with grilled summer squash and herbs, and a roasted strawberry tart – all created with ingredients from local growers including Rancho San Julian, Tutti Frutti Farms and Babe Farms.

Local wines and craft beer will complement the artisan menu, including selections from Foley Wines, Montemar Wines, Alma Rose Wines, Kessler Hawk Wines, Sweetzer Cellars and Solvang Brewery.

 

Guests at the Lompoc Field to Vase Dinner, will experience a culinary delight as they take in the beauty of American Grown Flowers and enjoy the company of those who love them.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.Want to enjoy this mouthwatering menu, dine in a field of blooming stock and sip wine, craft brews and floral-inspired cocktails?

Then save your seat for this upcoming dinner!

Every guest goes home with an armful of beautiful blooms and a Field to Vase swag bag.  Photo by Carrie McCluskey Photography.

You’ll leave with a swag bag chock-full of floral-themed goodies and armfuls of homegrown blooms from Ocean View Flowers!

This dinner is close to sold out, so reserve your seat soon. 

 

 

 

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!