Why is working with local product important?
It is the first week of July, or American Flowers Week! This week is meant to highlight and emphasize the value of American flowers, farmers & growers in the floral industry. Although I am not a farmer or grower, supporting and using USA & locally farmed product is dear to my heart!
In New England, we are so lucky to have a climate so many flowers LOVE. However, as we all know, this sometimes unpredictable, sometimes severe weather comes with some challenges. Late or early frosts, rain and hailstorms, heatwaves and droughts are all obstacles in the growing season. Still, our local growers and farmers succeed in producing some of the most spectacular, hardy, gorgeous blooms. The typical local flower seasonal in New England can start as early as March, but usually picks up in late April. The last harvests usually depend on the frost- often extending until late October for certain crops.
For events, weddings or projects in this time frame, I always try to utilize locally sourced, or domestic products. I believe using these products gives my designs an of the moment, seasonal feel. That's why Peonies in May, Garden roses in June, and Dahlias in September just feel so right and so natural. Not only are garden varieties perfect for achieving the garden style look in designs, so many growers practice green growing. This means they grow organically, without chemicals or pesticides, to preserve the ecology of the environment. Keeping the natural world around us intact as much as possible benefits our land, our pollinators, and our future.
As a small business owner myself, I also believe in supporting our local businesses and farmers. Over the years, agriculture in Massachusetts has dwindled, yet it is still a valuable industry to our society. Investing our dollars into local small businesses strengthens our communities and our local economy. It also preserves our options as consumers. If locally grown flowers are no longer being produced, our only option is to use globally produced flowers and foliage. Using internationally grown flowers is not necessarily a bad thing (although I could do a whole other blog on many of those concerns). But, just as local growers face challenges, international growers face the same. This can result in full shipments being delayed due to weather, fumigated for insects, crops being destroyed, and product ultimately lost. I believe having other options is essential to best serve my customers, and offer the most diverse products.
Even more important, if we do not support our local growers now, they may not be there next year, with beautiful blooms at the farmers market or selling in a local cafe!
If you haven't experienced locally grown flowers for yourself, I encourage you to pick some up next time you stop by the farmers market or see some in a local purveyors shop. Local flowers are among the most hardy, long lasting flowers I have worked with. Chances are these blooms were harvested hours before you receive them, and they have not had to undergo the stress of being shipped around the world. Also, local growers often grow crops that are quite unique, often things you won't find in a traditional flowershop or grocery department. Right now, we're moving into peak season and the flowers are abundant!
I encourage you to research your local flower farmer and bring some beauty in this summer! Below are just a few growers in Massachusetts, but there are really some in every area out there!
Cross Street Flower Farm- Norwell, Ma
Marvin's Gardens- Braintree & Marshfield Farmer's Markets
Weatherlow Farms- Westport, Ma
Other local flower finder resources: