Debra Prinzing

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Episode 406: Take a Floral Field Trip with Kelly Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane, plus Our State Focus: Minnesota

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
Today’s guests: Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet (the brunette) and Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (the blonde)

While I’m 100% focused on putting the finishing touches on the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit — which arrives in less than two weeks — today’s guests are similarly obsessed with an unique event they’re planning for this coming September. It’s a floral destination workshop unlike any I’ve come across and Slow Flowers has signed on as a media sponsor and I will be joining this workshop as a presenter. 

Mary Kate and Kelly co-presented at the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit, sharing their experiences sourcing from domestic flower farms.

My guests are Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, based in Damascus, Maryland, and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet, located in Little Compton, Rhode Island. They are both long-time Slow Flowers members and past guests of this podcast. You can check out their prior appearances on our podcast here:

Hear Kelly on Episode 308 (August 2017)

Hear Mary Kate on Episode 268 (October 2016)

Kelly and Mary Kate have been dreaming up their new project, called The Floral Field Trip, for more than a year — and they have been laying the groundwork for this workshop-tour series by researching and visiting flower farms across the U.S. 

The Floral Field Trip was born from an idea of connecting America’s flower farmers with professional floral designers. As designers there is a rich opportunity to highlight each region’s most beautiful flowers and foliages year round. Seasonality happens throughout the country, 365 days, 12 months a year.  This means, if you look close enough, there is always something blooming! But without the knowledge of each region’s growing pattern, a designer is left to source what grows seasonally in their own region while admiring different parts of the United States from afar!

With the tagline: A U.S. Floral Buying Experience, the Floral Field Trip is designed to meet the needs of professional florists to introduce them to specific flower farms, crops, varieties, regions and technical information like care and handling. Kelly and Mary Kate believe that the knowledge is power — and to truly walk the talk of being a Slow Flowers-minded creative, you must educate yourself about the premium flowers, foliage and botanical products with which you design.

The Floral Field Trip: Destination Vermont

This year’s inaugural trip takes place at Vermont’s Mountain Flower Farm and the product focus is the Hydrangea. The dates are September 22-24, 2019. 

Mountain Flower Farm, with picturesque scenery and beautiful hydrangeas

Here is a little more about each guest:

Kelly Shore says this: My entire life I’ve gravitated towards anything creative.  It gives me joy to be able to take something that never existed and bring it to reality.  In 2000 my floral journey began in a small campus flower shop at the University of Illinois.  What began as a curiosity to know more about floral design quickly became a passion that I didn’t know would become my future.  I went on to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and from there a Masters in Elementary Education.  In between studying for those degrees I designed small weddings for close friends and family. I loved being asked to do this and could never say no.  After several years, I couldn’t hold back my passion for floral design and Petals by the Shore was born in 2011.

I’m so proud that after 8 years in business I’ve developed many amazing relationships throughout the Washington, DC area and across the country.  Not only with my clients but with venues, caterers, planners, and photographers.  My clients know that I listen to their needs and work tirelessly to create unique one-of-a-kind experiences. I’m a stickler for details and the use of high quality American Grown flowers & foliage.  Petals by the Shore has been featured in national and local magazines and blogs such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Florists’ Review, Washingtonian Bride and Groom, Style Me Pretty, Weddings Unveiled, Cottage Hill, Ruffled, Once Wed and United with Love among many others.

I am proud to be a supporter of America’s flower farmers and seek to support them and their growth & sustainability in the American agriculture industry in all I do.  I always strive to get the majority, if not all, of my products from locally grown and American grown flower farms. Not only am I providing support to farms and their communities, but I’m also providing my clients with the freshest, longest lasting and unique blooms. And since I gravitate towards lush, highly textured designs with diverse mixtures of blossoms and foliage, it’s the only way to go for me.  

Mary Kate says this: At The Local Bouquet we have taken two things we love; weddings and seasonal flowers and combined them to bring you the most beautiful designs for your special day. We are committed to creating gorgeous floral decor that compliments the chosen time of year of your wedding while giving you a more eco-friendly option. That is why we have committed to using 100% American grown flowers only.

From a gorgeous bridal bouquet made of all locally grown flowers, to an elegant arbor overflowing with lush greens and colorful blooms, our designs are personal to you and your style. All of our ingredients are gathered fresh from local flower farms, foraged from our own farm, and sourced from the best growers in the United States. You can feel good that the flowers that will surround you on your wedding day are not only beautiful but they are also good for the earth and support flower farmers locally and in the U.S.

We think flowers should come from local farms and free of chemicals. That is why we are committed to the “field to vase” movement that is happening across the United States. Join us in celebrating American flower farmers! 

Learn about Vermont-grown hydrangeas at The Floral Field Trip

Here’s how you can find and follow Mary Kate & Kelly:

Mary Kate Kinnane/The Local Bouquet on Facebook & Instagram

Kelly Shore/Petals by the Shore on Instagram & Twitter

To learn more about these women and their passion for domestic and seasonal flowers from farms across the U.S., read the Q&A we posted to slowflowersjournal earlier this year. I think you’ll find it super inspiring and informative.

Minnesota’s Randi Greiner of Beezie’s Blooms

And now, let’s visit the State of Minnesota. It’s so appropriate to land here as we continue our alphabetical tour of all #FiftyStatesofSlowFlowers (Alabama to Wyoming), as our guest will be in attendance at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul, Minn., in just a few weeks.

Please meet Randi Greiner of Beezie’s Blooms, based in Milaca, Minn. She is a Slow Flowers member and a farmer-florist who is a participating farm of the Twin Cities Flower Exchange, our co-host for the upcoming Summit.

Farmer-florist Randi Greiner (c) TEM Photography

When visiting the Twin Cities last summer, TCFE founder Christine Hoffman took me to visit a couple of her favorite farms, including Beezie’s Blooms. I was so impressed with what I saw – and inspired to meet Randi and her husband Jeff — young agricultural entrepreneurs who have a big vision for their land, their flowers and their community. Please enjoy our stop in Minnesota!

Flowers grown in Minnesota and designed by Randi Greiner
Another stunning, Minnesota-grown bouquet by Randi Greiner of Beezie’s Blooms

Find and follow Beezie’s Blooms on these social places:

Beezie’s Blooms on Facebook

Beezie’s Blooms on Instagram

Thank you for joining my conversations with Kelly and Mary Kate, as well as with Randi. These women are a lot like you – creatively driven, committed to making the earth a better place, living their values of sustainability and local sourcing, and making sure the beauty they offer the world honors the origin of each bloom by celebrating the flower farmer.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

I am so grateful to you for joining me and for spending your time listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire 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.


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. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at Another wonderful gift is coming to Slow Flowers Summit attendees from Longfield Gardens and I just have to share because it’s super generous! Longfield Gardens will provide a $25 shopping gift card to each attendee. That’s going to give you an incredible jump-start with your fall bulb orders, folks — so check out the online catalog and start planning ahead with your list of yummy tulips, narcissus, alliums and specialty bulbs to order and plant soon!

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. For the third year, since our first Slow Flowers Summit, Johnny’s has curated a very special American Flowers Week flower seed collection as a gift for attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit. I am especially excited to see what our friends at Johnny’s put together, because I know the selection will be inspired by the American Flowers Week botanical couture look created from the Johnny’s trial gardens by our member Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse.

Our final Sponsor thanks today 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 If you haven’t tuned in to Mornings with Mayesh, a Facebook Live interview series hosted by the super-smart and funny Yvonne Ashton, Mayesh’s director of marketing, well now you have a chance to check it out.

Last Tuesday, Yvonne invited me to return to her Mornings With Mayesh as a guest — to discuss our collaboration including American Flowers Week and the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit. I just have to add a shout-out THANK YOU to Mayesh for agreeing to provide all the flowers for our Slow Flowers Summit capstone speaker Whit McClure of Whit Hazen’s design demonstration – so pleased that connection is happening!

The Summit. Folks it is almost here – the third annual SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT which has been cultivated and nurtured like a seedling over the past year — and is now ready to bloom.

I hope you can join ME and our vibrant and engaging lineup of presenters on July 1st and 2nd in St. Paul, Minn. The countdown has begun – with just a few weeks to go before I see you in the Twin Cities. We’ve already sold more tickets than last-year’s sold-out conference and there are a few tickets left, so please don’t delay anymore! Head straight to to grab your space and join me!

If you’re sitting on the fence and need a little message from the universe to say: YES, make the commitment to attend, here’s some incentive from me. I have a limited number of VIP promo codes for $50 off your registration. If you want to grab one, send me an email at and I’ll share it with the first 10 listeners who reach out. We want to see you there as part of the creative community and the important conversation!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 482,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. 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

Music Credits:
Lanky; Betty Dear; Gaena; Perspiration by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field
Music from:

Episode 357: Engaging Customers Through Experience and Inspiration with Scott Paris of High Hand Nursery & announcing our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit Venue

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

We brought the Slow Flowers Summit 2018 to Washington, D.C.

As I mentioned during last week’s show, we’ve just experienced the fourth annual American Flowers Week — the original domestic floral-promotion holiday that’s an inclusive campaign filled with local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and foliage in all 50 states!

This virtual campaign gave me a peek into all corners of the U.S. as I witnessed flowers, farms, creativity and events taking place in region all around the country, as well as connections across social media platforms.

And, during the heart of American Flowers Week, we held the 2nd annual Slow Flowers Summit. As an interactive, LIVE element of the campaign, the Summit drew more than 100 attendees — speakers, designers, flower farmers, innovators, influencers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Movement.

Even though we were inside a hotel conference room, the space was filled with flowers, including the Moon Arch that everyone had a hand in designing (c) Niesha Blancas

In the coming weeks, I hope to release all sorts of content from the D.C. Slow Flowers Summit.

See a gallery of Slow Flowers Summit 2018 photos here.

But for now, I want to share a few words from my opening remarks on June 29th. Please bear with me — it’s personal and as my husband would say, probably contains too much “back-story,” but that’s how I am.

Here’s what I said:

I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge how significant it is that we’re all here at the Slow Flowers Summit for Year Two. How did this come to be?

There had been talk over the years of a conference focused on domestic flowers, including some initial conversations I had with folks at the California Cut Flower Commission and the SF Flower Mart several years ago.

The desire was real, but the idea never went anywhere, and it later became clear that the Slow Flowers Community wanted something different — more intimate and inclusive — than a big industry event.

So what brought us from idea to reality? Before I left Seattle to travel here, I pulled out an email from April 2015, sent to me by one of our speakers, Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet.

The email’s subject line read: NEW IDEAS.

I hope all is well with you and the family and I’m hoping that the Slow Flowers movement has new and exciting things coming its way. I have been wanting to contact you since I returned from my amazing experience at the Chapel Designers conference in NY and especially after meeting people like Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner and others. My wheels have been spinning and so I wanted to share some of my ideas with you. 

Jimmy and I discussed how our Slow Flowers family needs an event like what Holly Chapple has created for florists across the United States. An event that would gather designers from across the United States who have pledged to use local and American grown flowers to network and train with each other from experts in our field. 

I think it is time we bring the Slow Flowers website to life with an event at which all of the flower farmers and florists who have pledged to use their local and seasonal blooms get together and network. I think it would be great to actually gather everyone together to talk (farmer and florist). Let’s start with the East Coast. [well, Mary Kate, we started last year in Seattle, but yes, today, we’re here on the East Coast!]

She closed by saying: I am really proud that we are still able to stick to our mission of staying 100% American and locally grown in everything we buy. Now that I have bombarded you with ideas and thoughts, let me know if any interest you (because obviously we can’t do it all)!

We had a few lighthearted email exchanges, and while nothing happened immediately, the idea stuck with me because that was the year we launched American Flowers Week in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, I had a memorable conversation with Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential, the groundbreaking book that stimulated awareness of sustainable practices and flower sourcing in our industry. We both remarked that the 10-year-anniversary of Amy’s book would take place in 2017. Amy turned to me and said, “we should do something together to commemorate it.” I think she meant YOU should do something, Debra.

The seed that Mary Kate had planted grew a few more roots that day.

Weeks later, during the 2016 SF Flower & Garden Show, I attended a dinner where a very similar conversation took place, with Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers, Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., who spoke last year, Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies, and Bay Area florists Susan Kelly and Kathleen Williford — all Slow Flowers Members. We spoke further about a Slow Flowers “live” gathering, and agreed to continue brainstorming at a workshop Teresa and I were to teach together later that year at her studio in Santa Cruz.

By then, it was September 2016, and I couldn’t let go of the notion that hosting a live conference during American Flowers Week would be a great way to celebrate what was a virtual, social media-centric event. I attended the TEDxSeattle conference a few months later and found myself enjoying the presentations, but spending more time analyzing the structure and flow of the conference — projecting my ideas onto that very successful framework at which a number of speakers and topics are presented in a single day.

Over the holidays, I called Amy and asked, “If I host a Slow Flowers Summit, will you give the keynote?” She said YES, and I jumped right in, finding a venue in Seattle and inviting a fabulous lineup of speakers. The Summit took place on July 2, 2017 in Seattle. We had 91 attendees and it was incredible as a first-effort.

Amy Stewart and Teresa Sabankaya were two of those first speakers, and a few of you were also there. Thank you for returning — we have Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz and Mud Baron, all who attended last year and — surprise — they’re presenting this year. And we have returning attendees Nan Mattson of Queen City Flower Farm in Cincinnati, a self-described “urban micro flower farm,” and Sarah Reyes of Unfurled, based in Oakland area, a floral designer and self-described “floral liaison” — I’m so happy to see you both here!

Well, that was my recap of the birth of the Slow Flowers Summit. And now, I have a big announcement for you . . .

The 3rd Slow Flowers Summit will take place on July 1st and 2nd, 2019, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota! Save the dates!

I’m so pleased that we have a co-host in Christine Hoffman, founder of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, a floral wholesale hub that represents local flower farmers and chemical-free practices, now in its 2nd season.

Christine is a past guest of this podcast and I’m so pleased that she agreed to welcome the Slow Flowers community to the Twin Cities – where a lot of exciting things are taking place in the floral world. To share more, I’ve asked Christine to join me for a short preview of what’s in store for you next year!

Sign up to receive Slow Flowers Summit 2019 Updates and Announcements here.

Listen to our past Podcast interviews with Christine:

Episode 193 (May 13, 2015)

Episode 290 (March 29, 2017)

Follow Twin Cities Flower Exchange on Instagram

And if you happen to find yourself in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area on Sunday, August 12th, please join me at a reception Christine is hosting for the local floral community. It will take place at Good Acre, the food hub that houses Twin Cities Flower Exchange. See Details & RSVP for the August 11th Slow Flowers Happy Hour


Episode 268: Where are they now? Updates Mary Kate Kinnane of Rhode Island’s The Local Bouquet and Heidi Joynt & Molly Kobelt of Chicago’s Field & Florist

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

2upOne of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced since launching the Slow Flowers Movement has been meeting emerging floral entrepreneurs and witnessing how their businesses flourish. Today, we’re returning to two floral enterprises featured on previous episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast to share updates with you.

First, you’ll hear from Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet in Little Compton, Rhode Island, and next you’ll hear a conversation with Molly Kobelt and Heidi Joynt of Field & Florist, which operates a Chicago design studio and a Three Oaks, Michigan-based flower farm.

Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet, our return guest.

Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet, our return guest.

Mary Kate and The Local Bouquet were originally featured in Episode 138, which aired April 2014.

You’ll hear our follow-up discussion about how the business changed from a partnership with Maureen Azize, Mary Kate’s sister-in-law, to a sole proprietorship.

Mary Kate and I will discuss the pain and pleasure of going solo — and what that has meant as she also juggles three small children and the demands of countless wedding clients.

Here’s more about The Local Bouquet, from the web site:


At The Local Bouquet we have taken the two things we love; weddings and fresh, seasonal flowers and combined them to bring you the most beautiful designs for your special day. We are committed to creating gorgeous floral decor that compliments the chosen time of year of your wedding using 100% local and American-grown flowers only.

The Local Bouquet's American Grown Weddings -- love this slogan!

The Local Bouquet’s American Grown Weddings — love this slogan!

Design by The Local Bouquet ~ lovely!!

Design by The Local Bouquet ~ lovely!!

A beautiful bridal bouquet designed by The Local Bouquet's Mary Kate Kinnane.

A romantic bridal bouquet designed by The Local Bouquet’s Mary Kate Kinnane.

The Local Bouquet’s ingredients are gathered or foraged fresh from flower fields and sourced from local flower farmers.

Mary Kate believes that origin matters and values providing unique, fresh, and stunning flowers that are eco-conscience and organic.

“We think flowers should come from local farms and free of chemicals,” she writes.

“That is why we are committed to the field to vase movement that is happening across the United States as we celebrate local flowers and American flower farmers!”


The second part of today’s episode features Field & Florist’s Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt.

The women were my podcast guests for Episode 148 in July 2014.

I photographed this portrait of Heidi Joynt (left) and Molly Kobelt (right) behind the Jam Handy Building in Detroit. Isn't it cool that the signage "Miracles" frames this shot? I totally unexpected detail.

I photographed this portrait of Heidi Joynt (left) and Molly Kobelt (right) behind the Jam Handy Building in Detroit. Isn’t it cool that the signage “Miracles” frames this shot? I totally unexpected detail.

At the time, these entrepreneur farmer-florists were farming on their second piece of land, owned by a friend of a friend outside Chicago. Wow, a lot has changed in 2016, with Field & Florist’s move last fall to a larger parcel of land in Three Oaks, Michigan. In the works for a while, the shift to a more permanent place to farm flowers has allowed Field & Florist to significantly scale its growing operation.


The new farmland offers so much potential for Field & Florist’s expansion! (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography

With the opportunity to experiment with spring greenhouse production of ranunculus, Icelandic poppies and more, a large increase in acreage for field production (peonies, garden roses, and of course, more dahlias) and the chance to wild-forage, the duo has continued to serve Chicago’s floral marketplace in year one of their new chapter.

Molly and Heidi at their new farm site.

Molly and Heidi at their new farm site. (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography

From April-October Heidi and Molly grow and harvest direct from their farm. In the winter months, they source flowers from certified sustainable sources within the United States.

In 2015 Apartment Therapy included Field & Florist in its “Top 10 Under 40: Design & Food” and Martha Stewart Weddings named Field & Florist on its list of 62 Top Floral Designers. To quote Molly and Heidi on their blog post about the inclusion, “whoa”!

A beautiful centerpiece by Field & Florist

A beautiful centerpiece by Field & Florist (c) Levi & Val Photography


Exquisite details in two designs by Field & Florist’s Heidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt. Left image (c) Roots of Life Photography; Right image (c) Jaclyn Simpson Photography


Here’s how to find and follow today’s guests:

The Local Bouquet on Facebook

The Local Bouquet on Instagram

The Local Bouquet on Pinterest

Field & Florist on Facebook

Field & Florist on Instagram

Field & Florist on Pinterest

Thanks for joining today’s conversation! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 126,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

Wow, what a fabulous season we’re having for local flowers! So much creativity and beauty has been going on as many of you are closing up the season for field-grown flowers. The frost has arrived for many flower farmers, but the planning for off-season activities continues. And I love how much inventiveness is out there, extending through winter as you generate income and sustain your business model. For designers, florists and their clients, thoughts of harvest, home and holiday are top of mind.

By the time you hear this, will have released its first Editorial Content package to the media and yes, our imagery and story tips focused around harvest, home and holiday.

Our next package, Slow Valentine’s Day, will be released on January 5th but we need your submissions by December 1st. This package will highlight  romantic American-grown/Canadian-grown floral designs with an emphasis on domestic roses (as an alternative to imported ones) OR new botanical options for V-day. Participation is open to all Premium members on or for a nominal fee to Standard members. Look for details in our next Slow Flowers newsletter, out November 1st. And by the way, you can subscribe to the newsletter here.

sponsor-bar_sept_2016Thank 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

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

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

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

And finally, thank you 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

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

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: The Local Bouquet of Little Compton, Rhode Island, and More on the Seasonal Sourcing Conundrum (Episode 138)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The Local Bouquet's adorable logo depicts the studio's farm-focused spirit.

The Local Bouquet’s adorable logo depicts the studio’s farm-focused spirit.

Today’s interview was inspired by an email I recently received from Mary Kate Kinnane and Maureen Azize, partners in The Local Bouquet, based in Little Compton, Rhode Island. Their full-service floral design studio uses locally and domestically grown blooms for every occasion – and it’s their dedication to this philosophy that prompted them to reach out to me. 

Mary Kate (left) is the studio's wedding and event coordinator; Maureen (right) is the field coordinator and director of cut flowers.

Mary Kate (left) is the studio’s wedding and event coordinator; Maureen (right) is the field coordinator and director of cut flowers.

Their letter was just one of several similar “cries for help” from Slow Flowers believers around the country, including Justine Lacy and Jessica Stewart of Foxglove Brooklyn Floral Design Studio, who were my podcast guests two weeks ago.


Here’s the note that Mary Kate and Maureen sent:

A seasonal arrangement from The Local Bouquet.

A seasonal arrangement from The Local Bouquet.

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Mary Kate and I am co-owner and co-operator of The Local Bouquet, a full service floral design studio in a small town in Rhode Island. My business partner Maureen and I are both 26 years old, newly married and new mothers too.

We started our floral company one year ago, providing people with only locally and domestically grown blooms in all of our designs.
We have spent the past year educating our customers on why local and U.S. grown in better and why place of origin is important to think about when it comes to the flowers in their lives. No one in our area is providing the public with this type of product and so as a result customers are new to this “field to vase” movement.          

Mary Kate in the studio.

Mary Kate in the studio.

We really have learned a lot in the past year from you and all of the educational media you are sharing, so I want to thank you for that. We need your help and expertise though! We realized when we started our business with this unique mission that it would be a challenge to get our hands on local and domestically grown blooms throughout the year, especially in our area of the country. We never imagined just how big that challenge would be though. 

In the past five months we have educated ourselves at the flower market, only buying what is U.S. grown, which is a very small list. When we ask our sales reps if they would ever buy more local blooms, they shake their head no and laugh! So lately we have been taking it upon ourselves to talk to the farmers directly.

Some of the popular no-rose Valentine's Day bouquets created by Mary Kate and Maureen.

Some of the popular no-rose Valentine’s Day bouquets created by Mary Kate and Maureen.

We have reached out to farmers not just in the New England area but also on the eastern seaboard and the West Coast. We have had disappointingly little luck. All of the farmers outside of our state are not interested in selling to small businesses like ours. They all give us the same speech about how we need to guarantee them big numbers on a weekly basis for them to want to ship all the way to R.I.

So how are we supposed to join this “field to vase” movement if we aren’t located where all of these big U.S. flower farms are? Does that mean we are automatically out and we only get 3 good months out of the year to make it as a business? We would like to think not, but lately with all of the defeat it’s hard not to. 

Here's what a winter bridal bouquet looks like in Rhode Island. Stunning!

Here’s what a winter bridal bouquet looks like in Rhode Island. Stunning!

This is where we need your help. How do we get our hands on more blooms from the U.S.? How do we convince these farmers that even though we are small and just starting out, it is an investment to work with us and one that will grow the “American Flower Farmer” movement. Do you know of any farms that would be willing to sell/ship to us? Do you have any recommendations for us as florists who are trying to support the local and domestic farmers? Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated! 

By the way, we thoroughly enjoy your podcasts week-to-week! This might be an interesting topic to discuss; the florist need for more local and domestic blooms and the farmers thoughts to selling and shipping to small time businesses like ours. 
Maureen in the design studio.

Maureen in the design studio.

Here’s a little more about Mary Kate and Maureen, from their web site:
To put it simply, we are two women who LOVE flowers! Sisters-in-law and best friends, we love being outside, getting dirty in the gardens, and being creative in our designs. With backgrounds in floral design, gardening, and landscape design, our mission is to bring you the freshest locally and USA grown flowers, including blooms from our own little flower farm. We design natural, free-flowing and elegant bouquets and arrangements, inspired by nature and tailored to meet our clients’ needs!
Beautiful, fresh, seasonal and local!

Beautiful, fresh, seasonal and local!

We certainly didn’t solve the Sourcing Conundrum in today’s conversation, but I am so grateful that we took the time to meet via a Skype interview. I feel like these podcast interviews provide insights and education to all of us who care about the origins of the flowers we purchase and design with.  

Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 10,000  times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at