12 Places to Buy Locally Grown Blooms for Mother’s Day
May 6, 2016 | Kate Edwards
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Americans plan on spending approximately $2.4 billion on flowers this Mother’s Day. That’s roughly 66 percent of those celebrating the holiday.
According to the Society of American Florists, imported blooms make up about 64 percent (by dollar volume) of the fresh flowers sold in the United States, with the top importers being the equatorial nations of Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. Labor regulation is low in these places and many farm workers toil for little pay and in unsafe conditions in an industry known for heavy pesticide use.
While this is changing as more growers convert to sustainable agriculture and fair labor practices and become certified under the U.S.-based Veriflora® and/or the Colombian-based Florverde® Sustainable Flowers industry standards, there are still many problems. In these faraway fields, the blooms are picked and rated for quality—with those that don’t make the grade getting tossed aside—before being chilled and/or chemically treated to avoid decay and then flown to the U.S. for arrangement and resale.
The result? Those twelve perfectly matched and velvety red roses artfully displayed in the store may be hiding a well-traveled and sordid past.
But Americans can ‘buy local’ when it comes to flowers. More and more American farmers are growing flowers for sale, and increasing numbers of florists are using locally sourced blooms for retail arrangements. As the list below indicates, it is now possible to buy a bouquet that was grown within 50 or 100 miles of the florist or, at the very least, in the U.S. (According to the SAF, approximately 80 percent of American-grown flowers come from California.)
Some of the entities listed deliver locally only, some deliver nationally, and some even deliver overnight for the last-minute buyer. No matter how they deliver, they all use fresh flowers grown using sustainable and fair practices, with many of them using flowers grown on their own or nearby family farms.
Little Acre Flowers – Washington D.C. (Offers local delivery only.)
Online-only florist sources most flowers from Mid-Atlantic area farms, with some coming from southern greenhouse during winter months. Does not source internationally at all. Offers a daily bouquet and a daily arrangement, and each is available in three sizes/prices.
Local Color Flowers – Baltimore, MD (Usually delivers locally only. However, pick up only for Mother’s Day)
Florist works with local farmers and designs arrangements on a daily basis with whatever their partner farmers have available. Most blooms come from farms located within 50 miles of the shop. Also has a gift basket that includes foodstuffs made and/or grown in Baltimore.
Good Old Days Florist – New Windsor, NY (Offers local delivery only.)
One of the first florists to use only American grown flowers, this quirky outfit has been a ‘green florist’ since 2001. The company has extensive website covering their history and long-time floral philosophy. They operate out of an old Victorian and creates a wide variety of arrangements—including dried and vintage.
A Garden Party – Elmer, NJ. (Offers local delivery only.)
This sister duo, one of whom is married to a ninth generation farmer, offer a daily bouquet featuring flowers they grow themselves or source locally. They also host floral design workshops in a picturesque old milkhouse on the family farm.
Fairwinds Florist – Blue Hills, ME (Offers local delivery only.)
Florist grows some of the blooms they use on their nearby farm, and proudly notes that 75 percent of the blooms they use in their arrangements during peak season come from Maine. They operate a Flowershare from the farm from May to October. They also sell ‘bulk buckets’ of whatever is currently blooming to avoid wasting blooms and provide lower cost flowers for displays and DIY brides.
Farm to Vase – Madison, WI (Offers local delivery only.)
Online-only florist that is one of the leaders in the ‘slow flower’ movement. Only uses seasonal and locally-sourced blooms, and donates a dollar from every order to a global initiative working to end childhood marriage.
Cuts of Color – Houston, TX (Delivers to local market twice weekly and sells at farm by appointment.)
Flowers are grown on family farm in Weimar, TX and delivered to Houston’s Central Market on Tuesdays and Fridays. Selection is dependent upon seasonal availability. Flowers can also be purchased at the farm, but please call first.
Beehaven Flower Farm – Bonners Ferry, ID (Offers local delivery only.)
Family farm offers wrapped and vase bouquets, a CSA and business subscriptions—all using flowers grown on their own land. Also gives farm tours by appointment.
Terra Bella Flowers – Seattle, WA (Offers local delivery only.)
Started by an environmental scientist with a background in hazardous waste management, this shop sources predominantly from Pacific Northwest growers. They specialize in painterly arrangements and their delivery range runs from Everett to Tacoma.
Sellwood Flower Company – Portland, OR (Offers local delivery only.)
Florist has a gift shop and garden center on Sellwood’s Antique Row. Specializes in bouquets created from locally grown flowers and does next day deliveries in Portland area. Shop is open on Mother’s Day from noon – 4 p.m.
Farmgirl Flowers – San Francisco, CA (Offers both local and nationwide delivery.)
Florist buys only from American growers and usually offers a single daily arrangement at varying sizes/prices to keep prices and waste down. Does offer more arrangements for major holidays, but sells out quickly. Delivery is same day in Bay Area and parts of New York City.
CalCallas – Moss Landing, CA (Offers nationwide delivery.)
Monterey Bay grower specializes in growing calla lilies in a wide range of colors. Ships in bulk or by arrangement and orders placed by 11 AM PST on Friday, May 6 will arrive by Mother’s Day.
For more information regarding farmers and florists working towards a more sustainable floral industry, please see Slow Flowers, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, or Field to Vase.
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