I have a confession. I have an addiction. Maybe addiction is to strong a word. Maybe habit is better. It started harmlessly enough. How? With a bouquet I got to hide an electrical outlet in our kitchen when videotaping a cooking session. The habit? A weekly delivery of locally grown flowers from Farmgirl Flowers.
I first learned of the Slow Flowers Movement last year when Debra Prinzing contacted me about the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers Open House, typically held the second Saturday in June. Last year was the growers' fourth year opening their greenhouses and fields to the public. I sincerely hope they do so again this year as I love seeing how food and the products I buy are made. I've been lucky enough to tour artichoke farms at the Castroville Artichoke Festival, coffee plantations in Costa Rica when I vacationed there, and the Achadinha Cheese Factory for a People Behind The Food feature last year.
To be honest, I didn't jump on the Slow Flowers Movement immediately. I assumed it would be prohibitively expensive. It wasn't until CA Grown sunflowers showed up in my local Safeway that I gave the movement a second thought. The CA Grown sunflowers from Safeway lasted almost two weeks. I wondered if I picked up other CA Grown blooms from a local florist in Noe Valley if they'd last as well. Those blooms, expensive, barely made it two days. I learned not all locally grown blooms are created equal.
Debra Prinzing has written two books about the Slow Flowers Movement. Debra's first book, The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (*affiliate link), introduces readers to the concept of Slow Flowers. The basic tenets are: buy flowers that are in season, that are produced locally, and that are grown to have minimal lasting impact to the world in which we live.
Oddly enough despite growing up just north of Half Moon Bay and frequently driving past fields of flowers, I never really put much thought into how flowers come to be in bouquets and in our hands. In Texas, I visited flower farms just outside of Austin, having been infected with the Texas wildflower and native plant craze that's prevalent there (Lady Bird Johnson, the First Lady responsible for the beautification of our highways called Texas home).
I really started to think about sustainable flowers when we planned our wedding. I knew that if we didn't try to get flowers that weren't available, peonies or dahlias, our total floral cost would be lower. I love hydrangeas so our bouquets were antique hydrangeas that we put together ourselves along with some other in season flowers we picked up from the San Francisco Flower Mart. (I still had peonies and dahlias, just in real-touch silk. I know David Tutera would not approve but from the photos you really can't tell they're not real.)
The 50 Mile Bouquet is a great introduction to how flowers are grown and bouquets are designed. It even includes a how to on designing a mixed succulent bouquet.
Debra's latest book, Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (*affiliate link), released last year, includes 52 weeks of bouquets. It's neat to see how bouquets change in a locality throughout the seasons. If you've never designed a bouquet, Slow Flowers is great as it presents 52 bouquets and identifies the ratios among the various flowers along with descriptions of the flowers to recreate the pictured bouquet.
When I saw that Farmgirl Flowers were available through Good Eggs, I decided to give the Slow Flowers Movement a second chance. And that was when a love affair began. Once a week along with my groceries, a bouquet of fresh, in season, locally grown blooms, wrapped in burlap from an old coffee bag appears at my door.
Do you indulge yourself with flowers?
For my own curiosity, I've started photographing my weekly Farmgirl Flowers to see how the bouquets change throughout the year. It will be interesting to see what's in season in what month. You can see more locally grown flowers from Farmgirl Flowers in my Slow Flowers Flickr gallery or in my Instagram feed.
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Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
This post contains affiliate links, identified with (*affiliate link) following the linked text. I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing regardless of referral fees. I own both of the products featured in this post. They were a gift from the author. All opinions presented are my own.
Disclosure: I received my copies of Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet as gifts from Debra Prinzing last June when I was unable to attend Slow Flowers: A Field to Vase Celebration Dinner last year. She did not ask me to review her books or request that I blog about the Slow Flowers Movement.