Debra Prinzing

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Episode 651: Growing and Designing With Fragrant Flowers with Stefani Bittner of Homestead Design Collective

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

Today, you’re invited to inhale and enjoy the fragrance of flowers, herbs, and foliage. Stefani Bittner of Homestead Design Collective uses sensory plants as a way to immerse her clients in nature. She is the co-author of forthcoming book, “The Fragrant Flower Garden: Growing, Arranging, and Preserving Natural Scents,” and we’re delighted to learn from her.

Alethea Harampolis (L), Stefani Bittner (R) - photo by David Fenton
Alethea Harampolis (L), Stefani Bittner (R) – photo by David Fenton
The Fragrant Flower Garden
The Fragrant Flower Garden

Welcome to Stefani Bitter, returning for her second appearance on the Slow Flowers Podcast. A garden designer and Slow Flowers member, Stefani is the owner of Homestead Design Collective, based in Lafayette, California. Follow the link below to listen to my 2017 interview with Stephanie on the publication of Harvest – Unexpected projects using 47 extraordinary garden plants.

Modern potpourri
Modern potpourri

She appeared on the episode with co-author Alethea Harampolis, and they have collaborated on the new book, “The Fragrant Flower Garden: Growing, Arranging, and Preserving Natural Scents” (Ten Speed Press, 2024). The Fragrant Flower Garden invites gardeners and growers to design with fragrance in mind and encourages readers to choose plants that can be smelled, awakening the senses.

Garden by Homestead Design Collective
A garden for all the senses, including fragrance, designed by Homestead Design Collective

By connecting people with fragrance in the garden and vase – or by preserving fragrance for longer enjoyment — we have a richer, more visceral relationshp with nature, they authors say. This means making floral teas, natural perfumes, flower tinctures, modern potpourris, and more applications for scented plants. The idea of creating beauty products from the garden appeals to anyone who desires a non-synthetic alternative to the plethora of chemicals used in beauty and bath products. “Keep in mind that scent is subjective, emotive, and personal,” Stefani points out.

The Garden Eclectic
The Fragrant Flower Garden

I’m a huge fan of this book and its mission – to engage with plants through the senses – especially scent. When Robin Avni and I were collecting our top themes for the 2024 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, we wanted to include fragrant flowers and gardens. Stefani generously shared a preview of the new book, along with photography by David Fenton, which we highlighted in Insight #7 – the Garden Eclectic. In our insight, we encouraged flower farmers, gardeners, and florists – to lead with fragrance as a way to engage customers’ emotional memories with the scent of flowers.

the Fragrant Flower Garden
Soaking in the citrus orchard

“You can preserve the scent, perhaps making a flower tincture. You can make perfume, a hydrosol, or an updated potpourri,” Stefani suggests and several projects are included in the book to introduce the idea of “preserving fragrance.”

As Stefani and Alethea write, floral customers are not farmers, but they are inspired by the farm, and they want to translate what they see into their lifestyle. “Just like food, they want to enjoy garden scents, and that’s what really speaks to them about those sensory bouquets.”

Find and follow Homestead Design Collective on Instagram

Take a virtual tour of Trulli Trazzonara, Stefani’s vacation rental in Puglia, Italy. Talk about agrotourism! I am so enchanted by this destination and how she plans to integrate her design and teaching into an Italian lifestyle!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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 johnnyseeds.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Rue Severine
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 650: Cooperative Flower Network of Edmonton, Alberta – a new local flower hub with grower-members Moira MacKinnon and Sarah Laudin

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024
Sarah Laudin of Sunshine Blooms (left) and Moira MacKinnon of Love & Fantasy Flowers (right)
Sarah Laudin of Sunshine Blooms (left) and Moira MacKinnon of Love & Fantasy Flowers (right), members of Cooperative Flower Network of Edmonton, Alberta
Pickup day with members of the Cooperative Flower Network
Pickup day with members of the Cooperative Flower Network

Join me today to learn all about local flowers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where a group of 11 flower growers have formed the Cooperative Flower Network to bring Alberta-grown botanicals to the floral community. This vibrant flower market and distribution hub supports local cut flower growers and supplies buyers with locally grown, unique and high quality blooms.

I’m especially thrilled to welcome two of the growers, including Cooperative co-founder Moira MacKinnon, owner of Love & Fantasy Flowers, and Sarah Laudin, owner of Sunshine Blooms Farm – both are Slow Flowers members and we’re thrilled that the Cooperative Flower Network is also a new member.

Cooperative Flower Network

But the BIG news is that CFN will be a partner of the Slow Flowers Summit this coming June when we come to Alberta, with a generous donation of seasonal, Alberta-grown botanicals that will flower the event. Our attendees will get their hands on this beautiful product, and you’ll experience first-hand one of the best-selling point noted by CFN on its website: The question: What sets CFN apart from other floral wholesale services? The answer: Our product is FRESH and we have a guarantee on your orders! We work so closely with our farming community to get you the very best local product. No rehydrating required, no crushed Dahlias from dry packing, and no unwanted substitutions!

During our video interview and my conversation with Sarah and Moira, we preview a new video about the Cooperative Flower Network, produced by Cooperatives First, a nonprofit formed to assist cooperatives in Western Canada. Cooperatives First offers courses, workshops, and important assistance to emerging communities as they form cooperatives.

Follow Cooperative Flower Network on Instagram
Follow Love & Fantasy Flowers on Instagram and Facebook
Follow Sunshine Blooms Farm on Instagram and Facebook


News of the Week!

2024 Slow Flowers Summit Speakers

I hope today’s episode inspires you to join us in Banff at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, June 23rd-25th at the 7th Slow Flowers Summit. Please check out the link to register below, and learn more about our speakers, agenda, and programming that will inspire you over two days in the Canadian Rockies!


Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up for February

February 23, 2024 Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up with Lennie Larkin

Don’t miss this Friday’s Slow Flowers member virtual meet-up on February 23rd, with special guest Lennie Larkin of b-side farm, author of Flower Farming for Profit – we’ll hear her insights on pricing and profitability for flower growers – Preregistration is required and you can find the link in today’s show notes – bring your questions and I hope to see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com

Thank you to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, and a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Thank you to Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Less Jaunty; Great Great Lengths
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 649: Flowers as Art: Botanical Couture and Floral Installations with Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs

Wednesday, February 14th, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone – if you’re listening on February 14th, it’s the day we released Episode 649. I hope you’ve had a great one.

Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs
Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs

Today’s guest, Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs based in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, regularly conjures up amazing botanical displays at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest indoor garden show in the country. Today, she’s joining me to preview America in Bloom, her most ambitious exhibit ever.

America In Bloom

The Philly Show draws gardeners and flower lovers eager for an early dose of springtime. She’s calling the large floral display a botanical road trip of a lifetime, as it celebrates flowers blooming across the U.S. – and in the exhibit’s description, Jennifer writes: “There’s nothing better than hitting the open road and experiencing the beauty of our nation’s public gardens, arboreta, and natural landscapes along the way!”

Tammy Tulip by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2021
Tammy Tulip by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2021
The Romance of Peonies by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2023
The Romance of Peonies by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2023

Another reason I invited Jennifer to chat with me for this episode is to share her advice to aspiring botanical couture designers thinking about submitting a floral fashion to be part of Slow Flowers’ American Flowers Week campaign later this year. We will review the two floral fashions Jennifer designed for the 2021 and 2023 campaigns – including seeing photos of her work and hearing her secret tips for success.

Thanks so much for joining me today! Here are links to the feature stories we included in past issues of Slow Flowers Journal about Jennifer’s two Botanical Couture looks – including Summer 2021 with Tulip Time, and last summer’s cover look – Jennifer’s dreamy and romantic peony gown.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Slow Flowers on The Weather Channel – click to watch

Slow Flowers has enjoyed some fun news coverage, including with INC. Magazine and The Weather Channel. We’re thrilled that the press is paying attention to the importance of local and seasonal flowers for gifting bouquets and arrangements.


Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

It’s also the beginning of flower & garden show season, with today’s opening of the 2024 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. If you attend, please come and say hello at the Main Stage, where Slow Flowers is hosting Blooms & Bubbles, the daily DIY flower and plant workshops! We’re excited to meet and great our members, seven of whom are teaching and speaking at the show.


February 23, 2024 Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up with Lennie Larkin

One more item of note – if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ve already seen the announcement that the February Slow Flowers member virtual meet-up will take place on February 23rd, postponed due to Valentine’s Day. Save the date for next Friday’s session with Lennie Larkin of b-side farm and author of Flower Farming for Profit – we’ll hear her insights on pricing and profitability for flower growers – Preregistration is required – bring your questions and I hope to see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

And 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 johnnyseeds.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.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Less Jaunty; Great Great Lengths
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 648: Our pre-Valentine’s Day Virtual Tour of American-grown flowers with Joost Bongaerts and the Florabundance team

Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and if you’re panicking about your flower order, today’s episode is just for you. We’re taking a virtual tour of Florabundance in Carpinteria California, to learn from Joost Bongaerts about the domestic US-grown flower sourcing options for this important floral holiday.

If you’re a longtime listener of the Slow Flowers Podcast, you may recall today’s guest Joost Bongaerts, owner of Florabundance, based in Carpinteria, California. We featured a conversation with Joost back in April 2014, on Episode 139 during our very first year of the Slow Flowers Podcast. At the time, I was interested in sharing his story because Florabundance was one of the first if not the very first wholesalers who regularly offered US-grown flowers and foliage.

It’s been a decade – can you believe it? And we’re grateful for Florabundance’s decade-long membership in the Slow Flowers Movement, as well as the advice and insights Joost has personally shared with me over the years.

Now that the Slow Flowers Show has a video component, I thought of Florabundance when we were thinking of a good pre-Valentine’s Day episode – nothing like a beautiful floral show-and-tell to wow and inspire, right?

Florabundance Web Site
American Grown tab on Florabundance’s home page

I asked Joost if he would join me to walk through the many US-grown flower options that florists can order for Valentine’s Day. So many of our members, retail florists and studio florists, use Slow Flowers’ mission as part of their branding – to support local and domestic flower farms through their own sourcing practices. He was joined by sales manager Debbie Kline and Jenna Foster, the main buyer who works with boutique flower growers.

To be perfectly honest, in most parts of the U.S., getting local flowers in mid-February is next to impossible. This is slowly changing as flower farming innovations are leading to season extension methods (like winter tulips and early greenhouse crops like anemones and ranunculus), but if you’re not able to find those in your region, ordering from a place like Florabundance is a great option.

Here’s a bit more about Joost Bongaerts:
Born in 1959 in Den Haag, The Netherlands, Joost grew up in the Netherlands. His father managed agricultural land holdings all over the country. Joost spent summers working on his family’s farm in northern Holland and became interested in agriculture and horticulture as a result. He studied at Wellant College in Gouda, graduating with a degree in Plant Science. Joost also spent a semester at Michigan State University as part of an exchange student program, which led to his desire to work and live in The United States.

Joost began his professional career in 1981 marketing fresh cut flowers from Holland for The Dutch Flower Auctions & Exporters Organizations, first in Holland and then in Livonia, MI. From 1983 to 1991 Joost worked for several Dutch Flower Bulb Companies selling flower bulbs and perennial plants to specialty cut flower growers in The United States and Canada. In 1991 Joost and his wife Alexandra opened Bonfleur (Bongaerts Flowers), a European-style retail flower shop in New Canaan, CT, which they sold to their manager in 2002. During this time, Joost also imported flowers from Holland and was president of First American Florist, an online wholesale flower company shipping flowers from Holland. He started to do business with Florabundance, becoming a partner in 2002 and eventually full owner in 2008.

Joost’s background and experience in selling flower bulbs to growers, importing cut flowers and running a successful retail flower shop provides a unique perspective from which he has developed the Florabundance brand into one of the premier wholesalers in the United States. Joost and Alexandra moved from Connecticut to California in 2008 and have two grown children.

Fabulous Florals: Check out Florabundance’s consumer site for US-grown flowers

Find and follow Florabundance on Instagram and Facebook


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches and a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Thank-you to Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

Thank you to Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; He Has a Way
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 645: The Mum Project Update with Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024
Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and The Mum Project
Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and The Mum Project

PROMO CODE: Harmony Harvest has provided a promo code for our listeners and viewers. You can apply this to any retail or wholesale order SLOWMUMS

I’m welcoming Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm back to the Slow Flowers Podcast today with an update on her Weyers Cave, Virginia-based farm’s expanding collection of specialty, old-fashioned, heirloom, and hard-to-find chrysanthemums for growers and gardeners. The Mum Project, as it is called by Jessica and her partners, mom Chris Auville, and sister Stephanie Duncan, reflects the ambitious journey on which these women have embarked to educate themselves and the entire floral community about the exquisite qualities of chrysanthemums.

Harvesting mums at Harmony Harvest Farm
Harvesting mums at Harmony Harvest Farm

They have networked extensively with other chrysanthemum aficionados, from members of the national chrysanthemum society to growers of public garden collections. Their goal is to expand the Harmony Harvest list of “mother” plants from which they can take cuttings, propagate more plants, and offer high quality plug to growers. In the process, they also are advocating for other flower farmers to get in on the mum game, offering educational resources and events to elevate understanding about growing mums.

apricot chrysanthemum petals
Beautiful apricot chrysanthemum petals

To peruse the collection of mums – ranging from ‘Apricot Alexis’, with a blushy-salmon color and a cascade of curving petals, to ‘Vesuvio’, an ultra-weird creamy-ivory chrysanthemum that begs the question – “are you sure that’s a mum?”, there are more than 50 selections in the current inventory of plugs, or plant starts, offered at both retail and wholesale programs.

Inside the high tunnel at Harmony Harvest Farm
Inside the high tunnel at Harmony Harvest Farm

Let’s jump right in and join my conversation with Jessica. Because of the time of year, there isn’t much to see in terms of rows of colorful chrysanthemum plants, but Jessica did send us a small video she filmed inside one of the three chrysanthemum growing houses at Harmony Harvest. We’ll see that first and then move right into our conversation, recently recorded on January 11th.

More amazing mums
The Mum Project has a scope of more than 50 specialty chrysanthemum varieties

Thanks so much for joining me today! As you heard us discuss, in collaboration with the USDA and other agriculture authorities in states across the US, Harmony Harvest Farm is compliant with all required regulations, training, and inspections. I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired and because I don’t have a lot of cutting garden space, I’m looking at my front garden border with a new point of view, thinking about where I can perennialize some of the juicy chrysanthemums among my grasses, shrubs, roses and other permanent plantings!

PROMO CODE: Harmony Harvest has provided a promo code for our listeners and viewers. You can apply this to any retail or wholesale order SLOWMUMS


News of the Week

The New Year is off to a great start, and I love hearing from our listeners and viewers about how inspired they feel after learning from our guests. If I haven’t said it often enough, our programming is the “voice” of the Slow Flowers Movement and we love showcasing our members and their stories. As we think about the shifts, opportunities and changes in the floral landscape for 2024, I hope you took a moment to read the just-released Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, our 10th annual report. I’ll share the link in our show notes for you to check it out. And, we’re honored that the UK-based lifestyle publication House & Garden has picked up on the forecast, reporting on three of our seven insights and those influences on the gardening world for 2024.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

Thank you to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, and a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Thank you to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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.


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!

Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Bridgewalker; Turning on the Lights
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 644: Roadside Blooms’ Toni Reale – on taking risk to buy land and build a new flower shop in North Charleston, South Carolina

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

Today’s guest is longtime Slow Flowers member Toni Reale, owner and creator of Roadside Blooms in North Charleston, South Carolina. Let’s learn about how she takes risks to grow her diversified floral and plant enterprise – I’m certain that you’ll gain some tips for your business!The shop specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using near 100 percent American- and locally-grown blooms.

Toni Reale, Roadside Blooms
Toni Reale, Roadside Blooms

Toni founded Roadside Blooms with a story to tell and a mission to share, believing that beauty and sustainability don’t just co-exist, they work in concert. With over 10 years of experience in the event-planning and floral-design industries, Toni’s many adventures led her to successful entrepreneurship of a values-based enterprise. She has a Master’s degree in geology and taught geology at the College of Charleston; she converted a 1971 British ice cream truck into a mobile flower shop (the original Roadside Blooms) and is a leader of Charleston’s “green and local” movement, Toni has served on various nonprofit boards, including the Charleston Green Fair, and she was recognized as one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive” in Charleston in 2014.

Toni Reale (right) and Laura Mewborn (left)
Production day at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767; Toni Reale (right) attaches a vibrant palette of Lowcountry S.C.-grown blooms, including those from Laura Mewborn of Feast & Flora Farm (left).

Toni partnered with Laura Mewborn of Feast & Flora to create a beautiful botanical couture design for American Flowers Week 2019, collaborating with her friend Giovanni Richardson, a Sea Island Gullah Chieftess, who modeled the historically significant floral garment. I’ll share a link to their story in today’s show notes.  

The Roadside Blooms team (Toni Reale is second from right)
The Roadside Blooms team (Toni Reale is second from right)

Let me tell you why I asked Toni to be my guest today. We have been tracking the innovation in the floral retail space over the past years, and when I learned that Toni expanded Roadside Blooms to a larger store this past summer, I wanted to learn more. As you may have heard in our 2024 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, which I shared in last week’s episode, one of our key insights is called “Floral Literacy.” I shared about the exciting retail news that Slow Flowers members represent a countertrend in brick-and-mortar retail, including Roadside Blooms’ new retail floral spaces, and others’ new ventures, which are closely associated with values, community, and an unique approach to locally-sourced flowers.

So let’s jump in and meet Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms. Toni filmed a few short video clips to share the interior and exterior of her new shop and I’ve edited those into my recent interview with her. Thanks so much for joining us today – I am so inspired by the story that Toni Shared and she gave me a jolt of encouragement that I hope you felt, too. Her approach to a collaborative entrepreneurship is her “secret sauce” for success. We wish her continued success in the coming year!

Find and follow Roadside Blooms design studio on Instagram
Follow Roadside Blooms retail shop on Instagram
Follow Roadside Blooms retail shop on Facebook
Follow Roadside Blooms on TikTok


News of the Week!

Slow Flowers Summit 2024
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

The Slow Flowers Summit Early Bird Registration campaign has come to a close and we congratulate the folks who took advantage of the money-savings opportunity to grab early registration! Ticket sales continue through June – and if you’re already a Slow Flowers member, you’ll receive $100 off your registration, which is the equivalent of the Standard annual membership, so it basically pays for itself! In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting more of our speakers and more about some of the special experiences associated with joining our community in Banff, Alberta, Canada – June 23-25th!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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 Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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 johnnyseeds.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. It was nice to hear that Toni works with her local Charleston branch of Mayesh to source American grown flowers – that’s good news!


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!

Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Waterbourne; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 642: Debra Prinzing Reflects on Slow Flowers Society’s 2023 Year in Review

Wednesday, December 27th, 2023

Slow Flowers Society 2023 Year in Review with Debra Prinzing

News of the Week

Slow Flowers Summit 2024

Our commitment to featuring a diversity of subject matter experts and experienced voices, not to mention bringing the Slow Flowers Summit to an unforgettable location, will continue for 2024. And for the first time, we’re hosting an international Summit at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Please join us, June 23-25, 2024. Save $100 off your registration if you grab your seat by December 31, 2023. Slow Flowers Members always receive $100 off their registration, so you’ll save double if you are a member!


Thank you to our Sponsors

Slow Flowers Society 2023 Sponsors
Slow Flowers Society 2023 Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2023, 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, 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 johnnyseeds.com.

Thank you, 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.

Thank you, The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.


Coming Up in January

Cover Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2024

Next week, for our first episode of 2024 on Wednesday, January 3rd, I will be joined by BLOOM Imprint’s Robin Avni to co-present our 2024 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

Join us for the first look at seven emerging themes in the floral design, flower farming, gardening, and sustainability lifestyle market. We will also release our 38-page report to share with you.

Coming up in 2024, you’re invited to join our Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on Friday, January 12, 2024 — when we welcome Slow Flowers member Jessica Stewart of Pittsburgh-based Bramble & Blossom — We’re calling this session our “secrets of a sustainable wedding florist.” Jessica will share her approach to communication during the sales process about how you design for seasonality sourcing from local flower farms; how to make this clear in contracts + proposals; and how she sources and plans for weddings and installations. Her expertise is priceless and you’ll want to join us and bring your sustainable wedding questions!


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

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.


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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.


Music credits:

Drone Pine; Long and Low Cloud; Long Await; Perspiration; Shift of Currents; Silver Lanyard; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 641: “Women Leading Change,” a new video featuring Toronto-based The Local Flower Collective, with cofounder Jaimie Reeves, filmmaker Craig Conoley, and David Thomas of Open Food Network Canada

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

If you’re a regular listener, you’ve heard the announcement about our first ever international Slow Flowers Summit heading to Banff, Alberta, Canada in June 2024.

Not only are we super excited about bringing our seventh annual Slow Flowers Summit to Canada, we’re also proud to announce that all of our speakers are Canadian-based Slow Flowers members, designers and flower farmers, and Canadian sustainability experts.

Women Leading Change documentary film series
The new film series includes a short feature about the important Toronto-based flower hub, The Local Flower Collective

One of our speakers is longtime Slow Flowers member Jaime Reeves, a Toronto-based floral designer who five years ago co-founded The Local Flower Collective. A wedding and event florist, Jaime owns Leaf & Bloom, a design studio that specializes in weddings and events. At the time of the founding of The Local Flower Collective, she partnered with her studio-mate Carrie Fisher of Roadside Florist.

2024 Slow Flowers Summit Speakers
Proud to feature all Canadian Speakers

Top row: Heather Henson, Lourdes Still, and Hitomi Gilliam
Middle row: Melanie Harrington, Janis Harris, Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, and Cynthia Zamaria
Bottom row: Lorna Jackson, Jaimie Reeves, Cara Scott and Becky Feasby

Carrie is no longer involved with the project, but so many others are! Today, you’ll meet Jaimie and enjoy a preview of a panel presentation at the Slow Flowers Summit. The panel will cover collective and cooperative flower selling and features Jaimie along with Lorna Jackson and Carrie Scott of Island Flower Growers in Victoria, B.C.

A few weeks ago, I accelerated plans to bring on Jaimie as a Slow Flowers Podcast guest when Open Food Network Canada reached out to share news of their documentary series featuring a film about The Local Flower Collective. I wanted to learn more about OFN’s new series, “Women Leading Change,” and its first film in the series, about The Local Flower Collective.

Women Leading Change includes video profiles celebrating the role that women entrepreneurs and grassroots organizers are playing in building sustainable food and farming systems in communities across Canada. From rural farmers’ markets, to urban buying clubs and coops, the series explores how digital technologies are supporting the formation of regional distribution hubs that help farmers and consumers connect in new ways. Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the AgriCommunication Program.

The first episode of Women Leading Change focuses on The Local Flower Collective, a specialty cut flower hub that supports ecological flower growers and high-end floral designers into a thriving short-chain distribution network. The film introduces The Collective and six of its flower farms. OFN will release four additional videos in this series and you can find out more details about that in our show notes as well.

Let’s jump right in and hear all about it. We’ll first meet David Thomas, executive director of Open Food Network Canada, a non-profit and social purpose organization dedicated to food and farming system change. We’ll also hear from filmmaker Craig Conoley of CELLebrate, who produced the video series before we watch the five-minute film (if you’re a podcast listener, you will hear the film audio).

The second half of this show is devoted to my conversation with Jaimie Reeves as we discuss The Local Flower Collective. I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do!

A bit more about Jaimie Reeves:

Jaimie Reeves of The Local Flower Collective
Jaimie Reeves of The Local Flower Collective

Leaf & Bloom is based in Toronto and specializes in natural floral design for weddings and events. Jaimie Reeves’ deep appreciation for nature and its seasons are prevalent in all her designs. Carefully choosing colours and hand-picking textures and foliage to compliment and reflect nature’s inherent beauty. With a focus on using locally grown blooms paired with untamed foraged elements, her compositions have a natural and effortless-looking style.

Jaimie grew up working in a family-owned garden centre where she began her career as a florist. With over 14 years of experience as a floral designer, she continues to learn and grow her craft. She strives to make every design unique while maintaining an uncomplicated aesthetic.

Follow Leaf & Bloom on Instagram and Pinterest

Follow The Local Flower Collective on Instagram and Pinterest


News of the Week:

Slow Flowers Summit 2024

Are you coming to Banff for the 2024 Slow Flowers Summit?! You’ll enjoy meeting Jaimie Reeves in person and hear her panel presentation with Lorna and Carrie, as they discuss their journeys, the decisions that led to their format, and the benefits that collective flower hubs bring to the floral communities they serve. There’s still time to reserve your discounted ticket and take advantage of Early Bird Registration rate! You’ll save $100 off your Slow Flowers Summit registration, now through December 31st. I can’t wait to see you in Banff, Alberta, Canada – June 23-25, 2024.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

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 the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at Swgmc.coop.

Thank you to Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music credits:

Cabsha; Drone Pine; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 640: New Flower Introductions for 2024 with Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

Today’s episode is like a floral runway show for growers and designers alike and you’ll be wowed by the new flower seed introductions for 2024, revealed by Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow of Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Joy Longfellow and Hilary Alger of Johnny's Seeds
Flower experts Joy Longfellow and Hilary Alger of Johnny’s Seeds

We are so happy to have had such a long relationship with Johnny’s Seeds as a content partner and sponsor of the Slow Flowers movement. And at this time of year, gardeners and flower farmers alike anticipate the arrival of Johnny’s new catalog of seeds – seeds for backyard cutting gardens like mine and for larger acreage of our flower farmers who grow in rows, high tunnels, and greenhouses.

We invited Joy and Hillary, Johnny’s Seeds’ floral experts, to introduce new flower seed varieties for 2024! Hillary and Joy recently shared new blooms for farms and gardens in a Johnny’s webinar. During last week’s Slow Flowers Meet-Up for members, they took us behind the scenes to hear more about the dazzling, colorful selection of floral varieties and mixes available for 2024.

We recorded the session to share with you on video and audio, so you’ll want to get out your pens and paper to take notes. Learn why their favorite standouts are worth considering as we discuss growing cut flowers from seeds.

Hillary Alger has over 12 years of experience on Johnny’s Seeds’ research team. She is currently the Product Manager for flowers and herbs. Joy Longfellow is the Flower Team Technician at Johnny’s, managing every aspect of Johnny’s flower trialing program.

Links and more resources:
Johnny’s November New Flower Seeds webinar/A PDF of the slide presentation are here.

Tech Sheet for Snapdragon Production
https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/flowers/snapdragon/snapdragon-production.html

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/johnnys_seeds/

Hillary Alger
https://www.instagram.com/hillaryalger/

Joy Longfellow
https://www.instagram.com/joyatjohnnys/


Meet You in Banff!

Slow Flowers Summit 2024
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Are you coming to Banff for the 2024 Slow Flowers Summit?! There’s not much time left to reserve your discounted ticket and take advantage of Early Bird Registration rate! You’ll save $100 off your Slow Flowers Summit registration, now through December 31st.  I can’t wait to see you in Banff, Alberta, Canada – June 23-25, 2024.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

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 CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at cafgs.org.

Thank you goes to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner. Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.com.   

Thank you goes to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music credits:

Vienna Beat; Drone Pine; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 639: Kristen Rubin of Sweetwater Stem Co. and the new Gig Harbor Flower Farmers Guild

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
Kristen Rubin, Sweetwater Stem Co.
Kristen Rubin, Sweetwater Stem Co.

This week we’re learning about how one grower has managed her first five flower farming years. Kristen Rubin of Sweetwater Stem Co., in Gig Harbor, Washington, will share how she found sales channels for her blooms at a time when local farmers’ markets were closed due to the Pandemic. Kristen and her husband Allan bought what she describes as a vintage, 8-acre farm in 2019, previously home to highland cattle, when she relocated to her home state of Washington after living in Anchorage, Alaska for a brief period. They chose the name Sweetwater Stem Co. to honor Kristen’s family legacy. Her great grandfather arrived in Idaho at the turn of the century as a pioneer and founded the town of Sweetwater. ​

Sweetwater Stem Co. Gig Harbor, Washington
Sweetwater Stem Co. Gig Harbor, Washington
Sweetwater Stem Co. field crops
Sweetwater Stem Co. field crops

The new farm’s location in Gig Harbor’s Ray Nash Valley became the idyllic spot to put into practice their philosophy of sustainable organic farming.  ​They use minimal till practices and broad-fork their beds to maintain healthy soil biome. Beneficial insects are released during the growing season to guard against pests and non-chemical methods are used to sustain plant health. They use fish fertilizer and brew compost tea to foliar feed by spraying plants weekly to help create an ideal environment for healthy plants and to attract pollinators to their safe haven.

Market Bouquets
Sweetwater Stem Co.’s market bouquets

​Sweetwater Stem Co. grows a variety of flowers and foliage throughout the year, including old-fashioned favorites like zinnias, lisianthus, snapdragons and dahlias, as well as early spring bulb crops like tulips and ranunculus. 

Gig Harbor Flower Farmers' Guild
Gig Harbor Flower Farmers’ Guild

In the second half of our conversation, Kristen will share the news of the Gig Harbor Flower Farmers Guild, a cohort of several are growers formed about one year ago to operate a weekly direct-to-consumer flower market and a specialty wholesale-to-florists hub. Still in the development stage, the guild has talent, creativity, and a vision to bring more local flowers to their community – and you’ll be inspired by their plans.

Follow Sweetwater Stem Co. on Instagram and Facebook
Follow Gig Harbor Flower Farmers Guild on Instagram


News of the Week

Our Slow Flowers December newsletter dropped last week and you can find the link in today’s show notes. It’s packed with great content, resources, stories, and flowers.


2024 Slow Flowers Summit graphic

Remember to grab your ticket to the 2024 Slow Flowers Summit – there’s just three weeks left to take advantage of Early Bird Registration rate! You’ll save $100 Off your Slow Flowers Summit registration, now through December 31st.  We can’t wait to see you in Banff, Alberta, Canada – June 23-25, 2024.


Joy Longfellow and Hilary Alger of Johnny's Seeds
Flower experts Joy Longfellow and Hilary Alger of Johnny’s Seeds

And this Friday is the final Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up for the year – Friday, December 8th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Our meet-up guests – Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow of Johnny’s Seeds – will share a preview of the dazzling new flower seed introductions for 2024 – and we might even have some seed giveaways! Preregistration is Required. Click the link below to sign up!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

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 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.

Thank you to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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


Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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!


Music credits:

These Times (alternate take); Drone Pine; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely
by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts