Debra Prinzing

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Valentine’s Day Messages from Slow Flowers Members

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

We’ve been collecting video clips to share this Valentine’s Day Season!

First up, a video featuring Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral in Seattle, who invited me into her beautiful studio to record this pre-Valentine’s Day clip.

We filmed the segment last October (with digital genius Andrew Brenlan, whose name is familiar to Slow Flowers Podcast listeners). Our idea: To promote local and American-grown flowers that viewers around the country can order and send for V-Day.

A publicist with whom I often work shopped around the video — our target was The Today Show — but alas, producer there turned us down for an in-studio segment. Others picked it up, including Garden Design magazine, so I’m delighted and grateful that Maura donated her time and studio to help with the project.

Special thanks to our floral partners for providing beautiful product, including:

Stargazer Barn


Fabulous Florals

Urban Succulents

Farmgirl Flowers

and a custom arrangement by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral!

MORE Slow V-Day Goodness!

On Monday, February 12th, I was contacted by a producer for ABC World News Tonight who wanted to do a Feb. 14th segment on local flowers for Valentine’s Day.

Surprisingly, he asked me to round up “selfie videos” from several Slow Flowers members around the country in which they would speak directly to anchor David Muir and tell him what types of local flowers customers could find at their shops, stores and studios this Valentine’s Day.

Within 24 hours, six Slow Flowers members agreed to record clips and send them into ABC News.

The segment was slated for tonight, along with an in-person visit to Emily Thompson Flowers, a Slow Flowers member in Manhattan (and I learned that interview with Emily was actually filmed at her shop yesterday).

So we were all ready to go and then the horrifying news about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, happened this afternoon. The producer contacted all of us and said the story had to be “held.”

Of course, this is what happens when “feel-good” news stories are bumped by sad and tragic news stories. My heart and prayers go out to the victims, students, teachers, parents and families whose lives will be forever changed by this insane act. As a response to the shooting, Slow Flowers is making a donation to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an organization that is challenging the National Rifle Association’s huge financial influence over our political landscape. I encourage you to join me or find a similar organization in your community to support.

We received permission from ABC World News Tonight to share the “unaired” video clips. I am doing this because I’m so impressed and grateful for the contributions of members who are committed to the Slow Flowers Mission and want to share their stories with the larger community.

See the great message from Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner in Pittsburgh above.

Here are more wonderful clips to enjoy. It would have been awesome to view these along with millions on tonight’s National News. That didn’t happen, but I’m confident we’ll have another opportunity in the future.

Thanks, Lisa Waud of pot and box — you shared a great message about your local community of makers, artists and growers!

Love the voluptuous floral scene in front of Michelle O’Brien’s Goose Hollow Flowers in Portland — and she sends an important message to viewers about her commitment to Oregon-grown and American-grown flowers.

Nichole Skalski, partner in California Sister Floral Design in Sebastopol, CA, values local flower farmers and also sources from farms across the state. She has a Valentine’s Day message for you!

Los Angeles-based Whit McClure of Whit Hazen shared her vision for sustainable and local floral design on Valentine’s Day and all year long. Love her message!

Our good friends at Field & FloristHeidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt — are flower farmers and floral designers. Here’s how they’re keeping it local at Valentine’s Day in Chicago!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks to all for being spontaneous. There’s a lot of value in being a Slow Flowers member — and one of those benefits is that I might just call YOU for a press opportunity next time!

Episode 290: New Models in Regional Floral Wholesale with Christine Hoffman of Twin Cities Flower Exchange and Nichole Skalski of Sonoma Flower Mart

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Christine Hoffman, of Foxglove, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Christine is launching the new Twin Cities Flower Exchange [photo by Mpls. St. Paul Magazine]

Nichole Skalski (right) of Sonoma Flower Mart, with Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Farm, one of her primary flower suppliers [photo by The Press Democrat]

Good news for farmers and florists in the Twin Cities!

I’m so happy today to focus our attention on what’s happening in the Slow Flowers world of floral wholesale.

I’ve heard from a number of you around the U.S. who are in various stages of exploration, evaluation or actual planning to create a hub around local flowers in your marketplace.

Yet it’s easier said than done and there are several models to consider. There is the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market example — a true producers’ cooperative with the straightforward motto: farm to florist.

And there are groups of farmers who join together to sell collectively, such as Fair Field Flowers in the Milwaukie-Madison, Wisconsin area, which has a farmer-fun shared sales & delivery service.

Teasing Foxglove’s Instagram followers with a promise of local flower news!

Today’s two guests and their businesses are based on a single ownership or partnership that operates for the good of the community, but these are certainly not co-ops.

You’ll hear from Christine Hoffman, founder of the new Twin Cities Flower Exchange, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and from Nichole Skalski, partner in Sonoma Flower Mart, based in Sebastopol, California. Both are past guests of this podcast and both have updates to share.

First up, I’m excited to reintroduce you to Christine Hoffman, owner of Foxglove, a floral design studio that evolved from her successful retail store Foxglove Marketplace. Christine was a guest of this podcast about two years ago when I visited her in St. Paul after being part of Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Art in Bloom program.

Since closing her retail store, Christine has continued to design and teach. Her website sums up her philosophy beautifully. She writes:

As the Twin Cities first exclusively local and chemical-free florist, Foxglove is more than just a flower studio. I am a slow flowers advocate striving to form a strong community of sustainable flower farmers, small business owners, and folks who care about supporting these mindful endeavors. By providing a local, sustainable option to traditional flowers, putting a premium on collaboration, and reaching out to the community, I hope to foster change.

Hear from Christine about her new venture, which will bring regional flowers to Twin Cities Flower Exchange every week . . . housed at The Good Acre, a nonprofit organic food hub that incubates local food businesses — and NOW, local flowers! Watch Christine’s social feeds for images of opening day, June 7th.

Here’s how to follow along on her journey.

Find Foxglove/Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Facebook

Follow Foxglove/Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Instagram

Discover Foxglove/Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Pinterest

Check out Foxglove/Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Twitter


Episode 241: Sonoma Flower Mart Brings Slow Flowers to California’s Wine Country

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
California Sister's logo is reminiscent of vintage California fruit labels

California Sister’s logo is reminiscent of vintage California fruit labels

I had a fantastic visit with Kathy (left) and Nichole (right) at their new retail-wholesale space at The Barlow in Sebastopol, CA

I had a fantastic visit with Kathy (left) and Nichole (right) at their new retail-wholesale space at The Barlow in Sebastopol, CA

California Sister and Sonoma Flower Mart are members of the NB Flower Collective.

California Sister and Sonoma Flower Mart are members of the North Bay Flower Collective.

I’ve mentioned a few times recently that the members of North Bay Flower Collective invited me to spend two days in Sonoma County last month to tour flower farms, visit design studios and learn more about the stories of their community.

The origins of this visit date back a year when I met and interviewed two members of this new organization — Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral Design and Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm — and featured our conversation here on the podcast.

Over the course of the next month or so, I have several new interviews to share. The guests and topics were selected and suggested by the North Bay Flower Collective’s core leadership group — and you’ll soon hear how they engage in collective decision-making and collaboration.

I have to give props to Daniele Strawn of Chica Bloom Farm and Nichole Skalski of California Sister Floral Design for acting as my travel planners and key contacts for the visit.

Daniele Strawn of Chica Bloom Farm and North Bay Flower Collective, one of my hosts along with Nichole Skalski.

Daniele Strawn of Chica Bloom Farm and North Bay Flower Collective, one of my hosts along with Nichole Skalski.

You’ll hear from Daniele at the top of this interview as we revisit how we connected and how this series came to fruition. Then we will transition to two back-to-back interviews with Nichole and her business partner Kathrin Green.

Nichole and Kathy recently joined forces as partners in California Sister Floral Design & Supply to develop and open their new venture: Sonoma Flower Mart. The companion businesses are co-located in a very cool retail-wholesale space in The Barlow, a development in Sebastopol, California, in the heart of Sonoma County.

A beautiful seasonal arrangement from California Sister Floral Design.

A beautiful seasonal arrangement from California Sister Floral Design.

Called “the new artisan amusement park” by Sunset magazine, The Barlow occupies former fruit packing houses and industrial buildings and now brings together the very best wine makers, food producers and artisans, creating a venue that offers a direct connection between the consumer and the makers of the local products they love. It’s a perfect fit for California Sister’s consumer-facing retail site and the Sonoma Flower Mart’s wholesale operation and you’ll see photos of the adjoining spaces in today’s show notes at

California Sister's all-local creation.

California Sister’s all-California-grown creation.

California Sister is a floral design company located in Sebastopol, that uses local Sonoma County and California grown flowers. The studio’s designs are crafted to reflect the wild beauty of the area that owners Nichole and Kathy call home. As they put it: “We have a passion for seasonality and work closely with our local farmers to insure our flowers are harvested at their peak.”

Offering full service wedding and event florals as well as any occasion floral delivery throughout Sonoma County, California Sister opens its new retail location at The Barlow in April of 2016  featuring plant & floral based offerings that celebrate the distinct Northern California lifestyle.

Partners in California Sister and Sonoma Flower Mart, Nichole Skalski and Kathy Green.

Partners in California Sister and Sonoma Flower Mart, Nichole Skalski and Kathy Green.

Here is more about Nichole Skalski: Nichole first noticed the effects of time by observing her mother’s lilacs cycling through stages of bud, bloom, and dormancy. She worships at the altar of flowers, and reveres their color, form, scent, and effect to bring joy and connection. A Sonoma County native, supporting and maintaining its agricultural diversity is a mission close to her heart. Also a core member of the North Bay  Flower Collective, Nichole is passionate about all things flower related. She can’t get enough of Chocolate Cosmos, is truly moved by roses, and in awe of delicate native orchids.

Here is more about Kathrin Green: Kathy began floral studies with floral designer Sarah Hayes in Worcester, England, and at the Judith Blacklock School of Floral Arts in London. A native Midwesterner, Kathy attended Luther College in Iowa and Nottingham University in England where she met her husband Richard. After raising their family in England they recently moved to California, where their three grown children also reside. Since arrival in Sebastopol Kathy has enjoyed working with local floral designers and flower growers of the North Bay Flower Collective. Offering locally grown flowers, Kathy is pleased to be a partner in the expansion of the Sonoma Flower Mart. Her favorite flower is Paeonia californica, the wild peony.

Another yummy design from Nichole and Kathy.

Another yummy design from Nichole and Kathy.

A California Sister Floral Design bridal bouquet.

A California Sister Floral Design bridal bouquet.

I recorded my conversations with Kathy and Nichole in two parts, beginning with a harrowing car ride between Arcata, California, and Sonoma, California, a 4-hour-plus trip that was thoroughly enjoyable for Kathy and me, and probably very stressful for Nichole, who was driving through torrential rain.

You will definitely hear the ambient noise of her car and the storm outside, but this conversation was priceless and is definitely worth hearing.

After Part One, we’ll transition to Part Two, which took place on the following day when I met the women at their new retail-wholesale place in Sebastopol.

You’ll get a sense of their ambitious project and I encourage you to check them out when you visit wine country.

Their goal is to connect the flower farmers of their region, state and the West with floral designers and their customers, serving as an important flower hub for Sonoma’s weddings, events and day-to-day floral community.

Here are links to the social places for each of these guests:

Daniele Strawn & Chica Bloom Farm

Follow Chica Bloom on Facebook

Follow Chica Bloom on Instagram

California Sister Floral Design on Facebook

California Sister Floral Design on Instagram

Sonoma Flower Mart on Facebook

Sonoma Flower Mart on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 92,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

PodcastSponsorsMarch16Until 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at