by Debra Prinzing
Read on to WIN ONE DOZEN AMERICAN ROSES
Post a comment here about why American-grown flowers are important to you! You might just win one dozen gorgeous roses from Oregon or California! We have rose donations from Eufloria Flowers and Peterkort Roses. Two winners will be selected by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, February 11th. Both will win roses as well as a signed copy of Slow Flowers, my new book.
I created the bouquet you see here for my new book, Slow Flowers, a 52-week personal floral design project in which I used only what I could cut in my own yard or source from a local flower farmer. This Valentine’s Day arrangement features three types of gorgeous Oregon-grown roses, which I’ve paired with sprigs of rosemary from my garden and delicate hips. It may not be that 36-inch-long box of imported roses with over-large flower heads and thick, rigid stems, but my bouquet is sweeter, more feminine, lightly fragrant – and it has a home-grown story to tell.
I hope these roses help illustrate why you should care about supporting America’s small but awesome rose farms rather than caving into the marketing onslaught of cheap, imported roses.
The 50 Mile Bouquet features a third-generation rose farm called Peterkort Roses in a chapter entitled “The Last Rose Grower in Oregon.” How tragic that there is only one rose farm left in Portland, which is also known as “The City of Roses.” Peterkort supplies Northwest floral designers with a polychromatic spectrum of beautiful, sustainably-grown, hybrid tea roses and spray roses.
One state to the south, in California, there are several established rose farmers working hard to keep America’s cut roses alive and well. That should come as no surprise, since California, after all, gave us the Pasadena Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl. But I’ll save my commentary on those events for another post.
WAR OF THE ROSES
When it comes to battling for the heart and wallet of the American consumer, I would argue that the floral playing field is anything but level. Television commercials by Teleflora were surprisingly absent from last Sunday’s Super Bowl. Maybe they got priced out by the competition, but in past years, those floral wire service operations have spent millions to advertise during the annual football extravaganza.
I used to feel sorry for unlucky husbands and boyfriends who spent hours in their recliners trying to enjoy what is arguably the biggest professional sports event of the year, while also being assaulted by endless rose commercials.
Roses-for-Valentine’s-Day ads are evident in my local newspaper; they pop up every time I log onto the Web — and interrupt my cable viewing. We can’t seem to avoid from those dial-a-florist marketers who have one message: True love can only be attained if you order one (or more) dozen, perfectly red, long-stemmed roses to send your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.
But sadly, those roses are going to be imported (less than 3% of roses sold are grown domestically) . . . from a very long distance. They were most likely flown in by a dedicated cargo plane from South America. In fact, retailers like Whole Foods have the audacity to boast that they are importing “fair trade” roses from Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica.
For a company that spends so much time promoting the idea of locally-sourced food, this is truly upsetting.
On a positive note, I have met and interviewed numerous Whole Foods floral buyers who do source locally from growers in their area (and I have also visited those talented flower growers who produce and sell tens of thousands of stems to Whole Foods in their own communities each year).
But when it comes to roses, I believe Whole Foods is missing a huge opportunity to invest in American family rose farms and I know I’m not alone. Just look at all the consumers responding to this recent Valentine’s Day blog post promotion by Whole Foods for Whole Trade Roses. It may be too late for Whole Foods to make a change this Valentine’s Day, but there is still time for you to make your voice heard on this issue, just leave a comment!
ASK FOR AMERICAN
What if retailers instead put their dollars into developing ties (and buying relationships) with American rose farmers?
Why isn’t this happening? Why can’t we find domestic cut roses at the supermarket, at the big-boxes, and in our hometown flower shops? I’ll tell you what I think. Those sellers claim that there isn’t enough supply of American roses to satisfy demand. But actually I think there is too much cynicism and apathy surrounding the economics of flowers. We’ve been conditioned to want things “cheap” at all costs. In doing so, we have driven down the price of everything. We have practically driven farmers out of the U.S.
I was encouraged recently when Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission, and a fellow advocate for domestic flowers, shared results from a Boston Consulting Group report. According to the recent study, “over 80% of Americans are willing to pay more for Made-in-USA products, 93% of whom say it’s because they want to keep jobs in the USA.”
If this is true, I hope Whole Foods is listening. Heck, even Walmart recently announced plans to spend $50 billion on American-made products over the next decade. Will that commitment involve supporting our American flower farmers? It should, but we’ll see. When more and more consumers ask for American flowers, retailers have to take notice and respond.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Enlightened rose-givers, lend me your ears. We Americans associate February 14th and true love with roses, right? Make it real; make it authentic.
Can we show our love by giving our sweetheart a bouquet of American-grown roses? There are some wonderful domestic rose sources — greenhouses and growing fields — in Oregon and California. So yes, even in February, when our own gardens are unlikely to produce roses, we can ask our florist to order American-grown ones.
It is possible to send eco-conscious love (in the form of American roses).
Here are links to American-grown flowers you can order for Valentine’s Day gift-giving:
California Blooms is an online retailer that exclusively sells only Eufloria’s roses (no imports). California Organic Flowers is an online retailer that sells beautiful organic flowers. For Valentine’s Day, they are offering a mixed bouquet of anemones, a mixed bouquet of Tazetta narcissus and several other cool field-grown bouquets.
Eco-Conscious Floral Designers
In San Francisco, order from Farm Girl Flowers or Lila B. Floral & Events.
In New York, order from NYC Farm Chic Flowers.
In Seattle, order from TerraBella Flowers or Marigold and Mint.
Post other suggestions here! We need to share our best sources with other fans of locally-grown & designed flowers.
P.S.: If your local florist says, “I can’t find American-grown roses,” then give him/her this list of growers:
- Dramm & Echter – www.drammechter.com
- Rose Story Farm – www.rosestoryfarm.com
- California Pajarosa – www.pajarosa.com
- Green Valley Floral – www.greenvalleyfloral.com
- Koch California – www.kochcalifornia.com
- Eufloria Flowers – www.eufloriaflowers.com
- Neve Brothers – www.nevebros.net
- Myriad Flowers – www.myriadflowers.com
- Peterkort Roses – www.peterkortroses.com
- Sun Valley – www.thesunvalleygroup.com
- CamFlor – www.camflor.com
on February 7, 2013 at 5:34 am, in the category Books, Guest Rants, It’s the Plants, Darling, Taking Your Gardening Dollar, What’s Happening.