Please don't give up on flowers!
I have been reading about how there have been many very unhappy people following the Valentine's Day holiday. They are very unhappy with the quality and delivery of their flowers to someone special. Most of the articles have dealt with the flowers purchased using the big online delivery companies. Flowers that failed to show up on time or the biggest complaint was that they did not look like the photo, the size was skimpy or there were no flowers blooming. The worst part was how many people said that they would stop giving flowers all together, that flowers don't last more than a day or two or they just were not worth the money. NOOOOOOOOO....... please don't say that. Please don't give up on flowers......Please!!!!
You see it depends on where you get your flowers. Locally is ultimately best, grown in the United States is great but not when flowers are shipped in from the far corners of the world. Unfortunately, for the average American, flowers have become a commodity like wheat, corn, sugar, veggies, table wine or canned beer. Very practical business oriented Farmer Tony is always saying "commodities are typically not unique, are sold in massive volumes, at the lowest possible quality for the cheapest price. Americans want what they want when they want it at any time of the year and it better be cheap." The emotional overly sensitive me is always saying "why can't they see that local flowers are so much more beautiful, smell wonderful, last so much longer and have a wonderful seasonality to them that makes them unique."
Communities are saying more and more support your local farmer and farms and for the most part they mean the veggies and fruit farms, or the meat, poultry and egg producers but I wish they would specifically include the flower farmer also.
We are not the only voices out here encouraging folks to buy local flowers. We belong to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. This is a group of growers across the nation who are growing beautiful and in many cases unique flowers. This is an organization that supports, educates, speaks for and champions flower farmers. Many of farmers are also lending their voices to buying local flowers. Here are just a few.
Jello Mold Farm
The Painted Tulip
Love 'n Fresh Flowers
An article on Flirty Fleur's blog written by Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale farms
Books written by Debra Prinzing "The 50 Mile Bouquet" and "Slow Flowers" featuring and highlighting the beauty of local flowers. She encourages the seasonality flowers and to look beyond the typical flowers to the unique and different flowers for each season.
There are many fellow flower farmers who are becoming highly acclaimed floral designers who have a large following of happy customers. They do fantastic work and are too many to include here but can be found through the Association. There is a designer in Baltimore, Local Color Flowers ,who designs with local grown flowers from farms in her surrounding area. Check out her beautiful designs that change with the seasons. There are high end designers who are becoming farmers to grow their own flowers so as to have a superior product to work with. Itty bitty farms to very large farms here in the United States are growing beautiful flowers for the U.S. consumer. If only they will seek out our flowers.
Just as CSA(community supported agriculture) veggie farms, meat, poultry and egg producers have developed a following; as have craft beer breweries and small wineries developed new and different products that are being well supported and received by the community as new and exciting, distinct and different; the same should be said about local flowers. Shop at your local little florist shops and encourage them to provide and offer locally grown flowers. Encourage the small grocery stores to stock local flowers along with the local produce they are offering. Shop the farmers' markets and get to know the people who grow the flowers. Ask how they are produced and cut and designed for your pleasure. Seek out designers and growers for your wedding or event flowers. Help us to develop that special niche of finely grown flowers just like the well crafted beers, the special small wines, the artisan cheeses, grass feed meats/poultry and the organically grown vegetables and fruits that are found around your community. Encourage and support the U.S. flowers growers.
The last thing I want to say about the Valentine's Day holiday is that we all recognize it as a "mandatory social obligation" just as Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" puts it when offering a hot beverage, It is just something that we are required to do socially. But ladies, please don't wait for someone to give you flowers for some holiday. Empower yourself, go buy them for yourself. So many young women come in to our flower booth and wish someone would buy them some beautiful flowers and I spring to their side and encourage them to buy some for themselves. Many young women buy just a few stems for a small vase for their workplace, their kitchen table or their nightstand and I will sell them just a few flowers all day long. They recognize the happiness, joy and beauty even a couple of stems will provide them. I have many little girls (preteens) who will save just enough of their allowance to purchase a few blooms, I love them; they will be flower lovers for life. Surround yourself with flowers on a daily basis, not just for a holiday, a special occasion, and event or party but in everyday life. Buy a few or many but buy often and local.
Gentlemen, for the few who are reading this, the grand gestures are fine but most of the time it is the small gestures that are the most special, a few daffodils on a rainy gloomy day, one perfect lily because you remember it was her favorite or a bouquet of special flowers just because. Not that you are in the dog house or trying to get out of trouble or into trouble(wink wink), but because she is your love, heart and soul and flowers will feed her soul.