Debra Prinzing

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Episode 368: Urban Flower Farming in Denver with Kim Burton of CityGal Farms

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Kim Burton, owner of CityGal Farms.

A few weeks ago, I spent three wonderful days in Denver, where I reconnected with my Slow Flowers friends and met many new ones.

I was there as a guest of the Denver Botanic Gardens, returning for a second time as a featured presenter in the 2018 Bonfils-Stanton Lecture Series, “The Edge of Art and Gardens.”

Hats off to the educational staff, including director Matthew Cole and associate director Sarah Olson and the other amazing staffers for making me feel welcome and for running such an excellent program.

Slow Flowers was the program in September and it involved a lecture that I presented titled “American Beauty.”

As part of DBG’s commitment to bring its members into the larger community of horticulture and nature, the educational team asked me to help develop a series of field trips and workshops on flower farms during my time there.

I was so pleased to showcase three farms that mean a lot to me, including Slow Flowers members Red Daisy Farm and CityGal Farms, and The Fresh Herb Company, which is featured in the pages of The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Chet (center) led a fabulous farm tour at The Fresh Herb Company in Longmont, Colorado.

We spent one day at The Fresh Herb Company in Longmont, Colorado, home of Chet and Kristy Anderson, for an extensive farm tour and catered lunch from a local farm-to-table purveyor.

The Fresh Herb Company hosted our flower farm tour, followed by a farm-to-table luncheon.

Lunch under the cottonwood trees — what could be a better way to cap off Chet’s personalized flower tour of the fields, greenhouses and pack house?! As you may know, in addition to appearing in articles and books I’ve written, Chet and Kristy are past guests of this podcast.

Our Slow Flowers Workshop and Tour at Red Daisy Farm capped of two wonderful days in Denver earlier this month. From left, Sarah Olson, Meg McGuire and Debra Prinzing

The following day, we had two tours on the schedule. I’ll tell you about our visit to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado, first. Meg McGuire and Terry Bauman own Red Daisy Farm, where they grow cut beautiful flowers to sell to florists and DIY brides, operate an equally beautiful Air BnB on the farm, and open up the barn for regular sales of antiques, collectibles and Meg and her sister’s regular vintage finds.

The DBG group gathered for a farm tour with Meg, followed by a delicious lunch and a hands-on floral design workshop that I taught, using gorgeous flowers, herbs and foliage from the farm. Meg is a past guest of this podcast.

We had sold-out attendances at The Fresh Herb Co. and at Red Daisy Farm and I’m so pleased that more people in that community connected with locally-grown flowers in a significant way by meeting the people behind the flowers. That’s authentic and beats any expensive marketing campaign, folks.

Slow Flowers Podcast visits CityGal Farms in Denver

Our final tour was set for CityGal Farms, owned by Kim Burton and her husband Ken in Lakewood, Colorado, just outside Denver’s city limits. I was so excited to see Kim’s operation, because she had invited us to visit during harvest and production for CityGal’s regular bouquet-making session.

Denver Botanic Garden has been promoting this Slow Flowers programming for months, which is why we were so devastated for Kim when one week prior to the tour a summer hail storm hammered CityGal Farms.

Summer hail on September 6th at CityGal Farms.

She posted photos of the hail damage on her Facebook page and wrote this:

Late Wednesday, our farm got hit with hail, rain and wind. Most of our orders had thankfully been harvested, and while not everything was destroyed, our plants took a pretty heavy beating. Thankfully we have a good team that jumped into action, and we are babying them back to health. Getting hit with hail is never good for farmers, and we join the roster of many Colorado farmers who have been affected by hail this year; getting hit in the biggest wedding month of the year and our opportunity to turn a profit is painful. Still, we love what we do, and the little bit of beauty we bring. Thanks to our amazing crew and customers who continue to support our farm. We are humbled by your dedication. 

Kim Burton with her Colorado-grown dahlias.

The tour was regrettably cancelled, but the good news is that CityGal Farms is bouncing back, like so many others have done. In fact, similar wind and hailstorms have hit Red Daisy Farm twice this year — last spring and early summer, damaging their hoop houses and destroying huge swaths of flowers. And at The Fresh Herb Company a few years back, flooding and the residual mud flow from that disaster wiped out nearly a full season’s production.

Kim and Ken Burton of CityGal Farms

There is passion and true grit behind what flower farmers do — day in and day out. And I’m so proud to be in this community where we can support one another, share ideas, dreams, resources, experiences. I am also committed to helping those in the Slow Flowers Community tell their stories.

Urban farm meets local demand at CityGal Farms.

Today, that story comes from Kim Burton of CityGal Farms. She has taken a path that will resonate with many of you. One that is a deeply personal narrative that led her from a corporate background to a life connected with the land.

I love how Gina Hemmings of Mossflower, a CityGal floral design customer and Slow Flowers member, describes the farm on her web site’s “meet the grower” page. Gina writes:

Hidden in plain sight, CityGal Farms is an urban farm and farmhouse retreat (available via Airbnb) located just 5 miles west of downtown Denver. Kim grows classic and beautiful focal flowers such as dahlias, lisianthus and garden roses utilizing organic methods. She’s also growing interesting foliage and accent flowers including bells of Ireland, raspberry and blackberry vines, scented geranium, herbs and delphinium. On summer weekends, you can find Kim at the Union Station and Pearl Street Farmers Markets in Denver.

Please enjoy my conversation with Kim Burton. Here’s how you can find and follow CityGal Farms:

CityGal Farms on Facebook

CityGal Farms on Instagram

This week, I’ll be in Raleigh, N.C., with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, annual symposium — where I will be presenting a preview of the 2019 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast. I’m eager to connect with so many of you! And you can be sure that I’ll have my audio recorded and microphone with me to capture more interviews to bring to listeners. Stay tuned!

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 363,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens 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. Visit them at longfield-gardens.com.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

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. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

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.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions
Clap Along
by Dave Depper
Music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 264: Red Daisy Flower Farm in Denver with Megan McGuire, grower, designer and antiques dealer

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Welcome to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado

Welcome to Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, Colorado (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Before I introduce you to today’s inspiring guest, Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm outside Denver, I want to share more details about the upcoming Slow Flowers Creative Workshop that I’ll be co-teaching with Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School in Sonoma’s wine country — Monday, October 17th and Tuesday, October 18th.

00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-02This valuable workshop experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal aesthetic message as a floral professional – in both written and visual formats suitable for your web site, social media and mobile platforms.

In a safe, supportive and intimate setting, our small group will focus on YOU! We’ll go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” as each participant finds his or her own voice as a floral storyteller. If you’ve been thinking about investing in your businesses’ future, now is the time to sign up.

Meg (center) led a tour of her fields and high tunnels for our Slow Flowers Colorado Meet-Up guests.

Meg (center) led a tour of her fields and high tunnels for our Slow Flowers Colorado Meet-Up guests. (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Flowers grown and designed by Meg McGuire of Red Daisy Farm

Flowers grown and designed by Meg McGuire of Red Daisy Farm

Now, I’m so pleased to return, at least in my memory, to Colorado. I spent several days in the Rocky Mountain State during the month of August, visiting flower farms, meeting talented designers and seeing their work, and recording several interviews.

Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber

Our fabulous group of flower friends gathered at the Rocky Mountain Field to Vase Dinner. From left: Andrea K. Grist, me, Alicia Schwede, Robyn Rissman, Meg McGuire, and Robin Taber (c) Certified American Grown/Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

Today’s conversation is the third in my Colorado series, so if you missed the interview with Denver floral designer Robyn Rissman and her collaborator Alicia Schwede — the design team that created the Field to Vase Dinner flowers at The Fresh Herb Co., or if you missed the recent interview with Don Lareau and Daphne Yannakakis of Zephyros Farm and Garden, here are the links to those episodes:

Episode 260: Blooming in Colorado with Robyn Rissman of BareRoot Flora and Alicia Schwede of Bella Fiori Floral Design and Flirty Fleurs

Episode 262: Luxury flowers on Colorado’s Western Slope with Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau of Zephyros Farm & Garden

Meg McGuire and I enjoyed a relaxing morning recording this episode on the porch of her beautiful historic farmhouse (c) Andrea K. Grist

Meg McGuire and I enjoyed a relaxing morning recording this episode on the porch of her beautiful historic farmhouse (c) Andrea K. Grist photography

Another gorgeous arrangement designed by Meg McGuire, using flowers from her Colorado fields and high tunnels.

Another gorgeous arrangement designed by Meg McGuire, using flowers from her Colorado fields and high tunnels.

For years, Megan McGuire and her husband Terry Baumann had their eyes on a charming early 20th century farmhouse in Brighton, Colorado, just outside Denver. By the time that they finally became the owners, it seems as if the Red Daisy Farmhouse possesses them – but in a good way, a very good way.

Meg is a Slowflowers.com member and we’ve corresponded for nearly a year about my wanting to visit her if I returned to Colorado.

READ MORE…

Episode 262: Luxury flowers on Colorado’s Western Slope with Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau of Zephyros Farm & Garden

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
ZF_IMG_6051

Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau (left) with three of their friends and design team members on an August bouquet-production day

Two weeks ago, you heard me mention my August visit to Colorado, to attend and speak at the Field to Vase Dinner at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO, outside Boulder. Owners Chet and Kristy Anderson are past guests of this podcast and I’m a huge fan of their flowers and their leadership in the cultural shift to local, domestic and seasonal flowers.

Well, today you’re going to meet another amazing Colorado couple — the wife-husband team behind Zephyros Farm & Garden and its sister business, Studio Z Flowers. I have corresponded with Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau for a few years, and they have been early supporters and members of the Slowflowers.com directory and movement.

zephyros

Morning in Paonia, Colorado, at Zephyros Farm & Garden.

Morning in Paonia, Colorado, at Zephyros Farm & Garden.

I knew the 5-hour drive across Interstate 70 west from Denver would be a bit extreme, but it was so worth it to visit Paonia, Colorado. Don and Daphne welcomed me warmly and I fit right in as part family member-part floral crew for a wonderful day that ended with attending a live bluegrass concert on the lawn in the city park of downtown Paonia. Unforgettable! Before we left for the concert and picnic dinner to end the very long day of flower farming and bouquet-making, I sat with Daphne and Don to record our interview.

The flower wagon is filled after harvest.

The flower wagon is filled after harvest.

Zephyros is small, diversified family farm on 35 acres located on the Western Slope of Colorado in the North Fork Valley. The farm grows Certified Organic flowers and vegetables for farmers’ markets, restaurants, florists, wholesale and a unique Flower CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  In the spring, Zephyros provides a wide selection of Certified Organic vegetable and herb starts, as well as fun fruits and perennials just right for western Colorado. Not only food and flower growers, Daphne and Don are passionate floral designers who offer wedding and event flowers and have created an amazing place on their farm for couples to get married.  With their flower farm as a wedding backdrop and ceremony and personal florals created on site, weddings at Zephyros are entirely special events!

The design shed where all the bouquest are made and two huge walk-in coolers protect stems and blooms from Colorado's hot summer temps.

The design shed where all the bouquets are made and two huge walk-in coolers protect stems and blooms from Colorado’s hot summer temps.

Don tells the story of how he found their farm in this agricultural newspaper's classified ads.

Don tells the story of how he found their farm in the classified ads of High Country Shopper, an agricultural newspaper.

Here’s a bit more about Don and Daphne, from the Zephyros Farm web site:

Don is one of the fearless leaders of the farm.  Zephyros is a way of life for this man who loves to get lost in the field planting vegetables, planning for the next big project or keeping everyone laughing on harvest days.

He loves to telemark ski, hang out with his kids, coach soccer and donate many hours as a board member to the Organic Farming and Research Foundation, the local school and giving tours of the farm.  Don keeps the buildings kicking, the irrigation water flowing, and the farm pumping out the thousands of beautiful blooms and thousands of pounds of amazing certified organic produce.

Daphne has a deep connection with the plant world, although she has also been spotted many a time kicking the wheels of the ol’ tractor.  She has over twenty year experience in the plant industry working in large scale nurseries, small scale nurseries, permaculture design firms, small farms and of course running all aspects of Zephyros Farm and Garden.  Daphne is credited with putting the Garden in name Zephyros Farm and Garden!

She delights in her children and loves to work in the greenhouse, go skiing, design bouquets, plant and harvest veggies, and cook incredible food from the bounty here on the farm.  When she has time off she loves to plant more gardens full of the thousands of perennial plants she has learned to love, propagate, plant and sell.

Please enjoy our conversation — for me, just listening to it again transports me to a wonderful visit with inspiring flower folks and I can’t wait to return.

Follow Zephyros Farm & Garden on Facebook

Follow Studio Z Flowers on Facebook

See Zephyros Farm & Garden on Instagram

See Studio Z Flowers on Instagram

There is something so strategic about how Daphne and Don leverage their remote geographic location, which has them situated 2 hours away from the luxury destinations of Aspen and Telluride. It reminds me of how Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm have tailored their brand to serve Sun Valley and Jackson Hole. You may want to go back and listen to my interview with them, recorded last spring — Here is the link to that episode.

A vibrant palette of Colorado-grown flowers from Zephyros Farm & Garden

A vibrant palette of Colorado-grown flowers from Zephyros Farm & Garden

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 117,500 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing 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. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, Welcome to our new sponsor, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 260: Blooming in Colorado with Robyn Rissman of BareRoot Flora and Alicia Schwede of Bella Fiori Floral Design and Flirty Fleurs

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
Amazing setting, beautiful flower farm, farm tables laden with local flowers and the gorgeous Colorado sky -- at the August 13th Field to Vase Dinner, flowers designed by today's guests.

Amazing setting, beautiful flower farm, farm tables laden with local flowers and the gorgeous Colorado sky — at the August 13th Field to Vase Dinner, flowers designed by today’s guests.

Earlier this month I returned to Longmont, Colorado, just outside Boulder, to a beautiful destination called The Fresh Herb Co.

Flower farmers Chet and Kristy Anderson, past guest of this podcast, again hosted an al fresco Field to Vase Dinner for the Certified American Grown campaign.

It was lovely to return to The Fresh Herb Co., Longmont, Co. I grabbed a photo with Niesha Blancas (F2V Dinner Tour social media expert) to commemorate the evening

It was lovely to return to The Fresh Herb Co., Longmont, Co. I grabbed a photo with Niesha Blancas (F2V Dinner Tour social media expert) to commemorate the evening

Kasey Cronquist (R) is the administrator of Certified American Grown and producer of the F2V Dinner Tour

Kasey Cronquist (R) is the administrator of Certified American Grown and producer of the F2V Dinner Tour

Slow Flowers and yours truly continues to be involved in the Field to Vase Dinner series — as a sponsor and co-host.

I have loved spending time in Colorado over the past several years, getting to know flower farming leaders like Chet and Kristy, and meeting others in the floral world, including designers, florists and retailers who value local flowers.

I flew into Denver three days before the August 13th event at The Fresh Herb Co. and picked up a rental car for what turned out to be a 5-hour drive west — across the state to the Western Slope of Colorado.

My destination was Zephyros Flower Farm, where Slow Flowers members Daphne Yannakakis and Don Lareau hosted me for a few days.

You’ll hear my interview with them in September. Another upcoming Colorado episode will introduce you to Megan McGuire of Red Daisy Farm in Brighton, where I spent a few nights after returning to the Front Range/Denver area.

Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to the design team responsible for creating the floral presentation at Boulder’s Field to Vase Dinner. Typically featured Field to Vase Dinner florists are selected from those who are active Slowflowers.com members, and this is considered a valuable opportunity and perk. At the beginning of 2016 when Kathleen Williford, the dinner tour’s former event planner, and I put our heads together, we were in immediate agreement that Robyn Rissman of Bare Root Flora in Denver was our top choice.

Alicia Schwede (L) and Robyn Rissman (R) at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO

Alicia Schwede (L) and Robyn Rissman (R) at the Field to Vase Dinner Tour at The Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont, CO

Flirty-Fleurs-Screenshot-of-Magazine-CoverWhen I reached out to Robyn to chat about the opportunity, our conversation turned to the Flirty Fleurs Magazine, a collaboration between Robyn and her good friend Alicia Schwede, of the Flirty Fleurs blog.

The publication has been produced each of the past two years and I’ve contributed articles to both the 2014 and 2015 editions, so while Robyn and I didn’t really know one another, she was familiar with my work and I was certainly familiar with her work.

During our phone conversation I was hit with a brainstorm and said: What if we asked Alicia to work with you on the flowers for the Field to Vase Dinner? And that was the cincher for the deal! Alicia’s deep ties to Colorado, where she lived and worked as a florist for more than a decade, made their partnership a natural option.

A lovely F2V tablescape, designed by collaborators Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman. They used Colorado, Alaska and California-grown blooms and American-made vases from Syndicate Sales.

A lovely F2V tablescape, designed by collaborators Alicia Schwede and Robyn Rissman. They used Colorado, Alaska and California-grown blooms and American-made vases from Syndicate Sales.

Robyn and Alicia came up with a "Boutonniere Table" for dinner guests to DIY their own wearable flowers.

Robyn and Alicia came up with a “Boutonniere Table” for dinner guests to DIY their own wearable flowers.

READ MORE…

Week 28 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Monday, July 20th, 2015
Just-picked Colorado-grown flowers at the peak of summer.

Just-picked Colorado-grown flowers at the peak of summer.

Chet Anderson of The Fresh Herb Co., sharing his beautiful and locally-grown bouquets and bunches at Boulder Co. Farmers' Market.

Chet Anderson of The Fresh Herb Co., sharing his beautiful and locally-grown bouquets and bunches at Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

Bouquets from The Fresh Herb Co. that caught my eye at the Longmont Farmers' Market, their second venue.

Bouquets from The Fresh Herb Co. that caught my eye at the Longmont Farmers’ Market, their second venue.

Love this beautiful periwinkle blue bachelor button (Centaurea cyanus)

Love this beautiful periwinkle blue bachelor button (Centaurea cyanus)

This week’s Slow Flowers Challenge comes to you from the flower farms of Colorado!

I spent several days last week as a guest of Chet and Kristy Anderson, owners of The Fresh Herb Co., based in Longmont, Colorado. We featured the Andersons and their beautiful farm, flowers and philosophy in The 50 Mile Bouquet – in a chapter called “Rocky Mountain Flowers.”

You can learn more about this couple in our Slow Flowers Podcast episode that aired earlier this year.

Returning to Colorado was a delightful excuse to play with flowers picked from fields just steps away from the back door. I was there to co-host the fourth Field to Vase Dinner of 2015 – farm-to-table dining experiences held on flower farms across the country.

Chet and Kristy graciously welcomed this very special gathering at The Fresh Herb Co. Eighty lucky guests enjoyed a delicious meal, local wine and an unparalleled setting next to the gurgling Left Hand Creek. Flowers were on the table and the conversation was all about American grown flowers, the Slow Flowers movement, and the important reasons to focus on domestic, local, seasonal and sustainable flowers. Check out this beautiful and engaging blog post about the dinner from Boulder photographer Kirsten Boyer, “Slow Flowers and Slow Friendships.”

SFC_28_July 2015_Boulder 049

Love the delicate solidago as a textural element that plays off the bolder flower forms, including gladiolas and sunflowers.

When Chet was asked to speak, he uttered a very simple sentence that resonated with me: “Without people buying our flowers, we wouldn’t exist!”

I deeply believe in his statement. And this is what motivates me, to honor and value the lives and work of flower farmers like Chet and Kristy.

I share this lovely bouquet and I really can’t take credit for the design. This is a market bouquet similar to those that they harvest, gather and sell each week at the Boulder and Longmont Farmers’ Markets. 

I combined flowers from two Colorado farms to fill this vase. The Corona clippers are a bonus!

I combined flowers from two Colorado farms to fill this vase. The Corona clippers are a bonus!

Love this t-shirt worn by gladiola flower farmer Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC

Love this t-shirt worn by gladiola flower farmer Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC

While in Boulder, I had a fun chance to speak about the Slow Flowers Movement and local, American-grown flowers at an evening sponsored by the Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

The Market also promoted the Field to Vase Dinner by giving away two free tickets. The winner was Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC, based in Milliken, Colorado. A relatively new flower farmer, Matt and his wife Jonie grow gladiolas and also sell them at the Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

I couldn’t make it to their farm, about 45 minutes outside Boulder. But I did get to shop at Matt’s stall and purchase some gorgeous glads from him on Saturday morning. It was a treat to add those tall, elegant stems to the bouquet given to me by Nick Anderson, Chet and Kristy’s son.

I’ll try and list all of the flowers included below.

Orangyy zinnias + orangy glads - a perfect combo!

Orangy zinnias + orangy glads – a perfect combo!

Colorado-grown LOCAL and SEASONAL bouquet:

From The Fresh Herb Co.: Oriental lilies, zinnias, goldenrod (Solidago sp.), bachelor’s buttons and MINT!!! Boy, does it smell glorious!

From 934 Farm LLC: Eight variously-hued gladiolas