Episode 612: Buying an established flower farm, expanding a market for luxury flowers, and scaling up for future growth with Lorin Harrison of Florage
May 31st, 2023
My conversation with today’s guest, Lorin Harrison, knits together the threads of several past Podcast episodes, so before I bring him on, I’ll try and put things into context for you.
In the past, the Slow Flowers Podcast has featured interviews with longtime expert flower growers Ralph Thurston and Jeriann Sabin of Bindweed Farm. Check out links to those previous episodes below:
It was during that 2nd episode that we learned about Ralph and Jeriann’s plans to sell Bindweed Farm, after starting Bindweed in 1991. That same year in the fall of 2019, I met Lorin Harrison at a Slow Flowers meet-up in Salt Lake City, generously hosted by Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms. I learned of Florage Fresh Cut Flowers, the business he and his former partner Ali owned, a flower farm based in Paradise Valley, Utah, that had expanded to manage marketing and sales for a number of Utah flower farms — a mini-collective.
Fast-forward just months later, and Florage had purchased Bindweed, taking over the Blackfoot, Idaho, flower farm, the sales channels, and more. It’s an impressive and longish story, so I’ll let Lorin tell the rest of it.
Suffice it to say, most flower farmers are coming out of COVID hoping that 2023 will be a year of stability. After enduring so much change and turmoil, floral agriculture deserves it. But so much is uncertain, and my discussion about these issues began when Lorin and I reconnected at the ASCFG conference last August. I’ve been hoping to get him on the Slow Flowers Show and Podcast as a guest, and well, here we are — nine months later and we’re finally doing it!
Let’s jump right in and meet Lorin Harrison and learn about what I’m calling Florage 2.0. I hope you learn as much as I did!
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Slow Flowers Summit — last chance for LOCAL75 coupon code (expires 5/31/2023)
If you’re hearing this episode on its original air date, Wednesday, May 31st, today is the last day of our Slow Flowers Summit Memorial Day Flash Sale which gets you $75 off of your Summit Ticket. This is the best pricing since we ran our early bird ticket sale last December, so don’t waste a minute. Log onto slowflowerssummit.com to register for this fantastic gathering of Slow Flowers Practitioners — taking place in just four weeks, on June 26-27, 2023 at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. And Slow Flowers Members, don’t forget: you already enjoy a $100-off discount for your registration, so here’s a great way to save $175. We can’t wait to see you in just four weeks at the 6th Slow Flowers Summit!
Thank you to our Sponsors!
This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms. It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.
Thank you to our lead sponsor, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $10 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.
Thank you to Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.
Thank you to Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.
Thank you to Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.
Thanks so much for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than one million times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at SlowFlowersSociety.com
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!
Drone Pine; Capering; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
In The Field