I have many fond memories circling the rose bushes every week after the hot summer temperatures dropped for the evening, to pick several blooms for the dining room table. All roses are beautiful, but garden roses are by far the best. Fragrant, lush, full bodied… gosh I sound like I’m wine tasting!
Like most things in the early years, I didn’t appreciate her passion for gardening until recently. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about sourcing only local and sustainable flowers now. It takes hard work, dedication, patience, and a few prickly thorns to grow something so beautiful.
This question appears on people’s faces all the time. They don’t even need to ask it. I see it on their faces. You know First & Bloom only buys local and sustainable flowers, but what does that really mean? Simply put, I only sell flowers grown in the United States. Absolutely zero flowers are grown outside the US. Some florists will say they use local flowers “whenever possible.” This means they rely on international growers occasionally. Likely, it’s during peak holiday seasons and when special requests have been made out of season. I’m up front about this with customers, especially brides. If it’s not in season or not available in California, it’s unfortunately not an option.
Another distinction of First & Bloom is the refusal to use a floral industry staple… floral foam! You know that spongey green brick your stems are stuck into deep inside your vase? It is completely 100% toxic! Primarily formaldehyde-based, it’s only used once then tossed into a landfill. It’s a floral marvel and makes a florist’s job easy (ier), but not at the cost of our environment and physical wellbeing.
Why does this all matter?
Let’s consider some US flower industry statistics: (based on latest data from 2012-2013)
Estimated worth of the fresh cut floral industry = $7-8 billion a year (source: safnow.org)
Number of retail flower shops = 14,344
Number of fresh flower growers in US = 280
64% of all fresh flowers are imported internationally.
-78% from Colombia
-15% from Ecuador
36% of all fresh flowers grown in the USA.
-76% from California
-6% from Washington
(all sourced from aboutflowers.com unless otherwise noted)
Can you just imagine the sheer quantity of flowers arriving in boxes from South America on a daily basis? How much fossil fuels must be burned for a jumbo jet cargo plane to travel thousands of miles? How much plastic packaging is needed to protect the flowers on their journey only to be thrown away before use? How many days in advance the flowers must be picked to arrive from a farm in Colombia? When we read, “3 bunches for $10!” in the grocery stores, just how quality are these flowers really? And lastly, if flowers in the garden only last a week or so, how do the grocery stores sell flowers that last for three or more weeks?
Ahhhhhh!! The answers are mind-boggling, and there’s NOTHING fresh about it!
We all know money makes the world go round. But for me, I decided if I was going to be in this business, I was going to do it right and feel wholehearted about my product. I have no doubt in my mind, local and sustainable flowers are the best choice. Now entails the fun part….. Convincing you to buy ONLY local flowers.