This was a fun shoot. Most are good, but some are better than others and this was one of those. First off, we were in a beautiful setting; an organic flower farm in the Skagit River Valley of Washington State. I could stop there. But even better, we were working with some really cool, happy people that set the tone for the day in really upbeat, positive way. And then he story; an oft covered subject around the theme of buying local, yet this had a whole new twist.
The fifty-mile bouquet—I have to admit; I hadn’t thought about this concept until it was presented to me as a possible topic for our season two lineup. Just like striving to eat more local, organic and in-season, the same should apply to the flowers we use to adorn those very tables where we eat those meals and beyond. Fortunately, garden writer and award winning author, Debra Prinzing along with award winning photographer David Perry have been passionate about this issue for years, and it was their concept for an iPad exclusive book that started it all.
Both based in Seattle, their book is for people in search of organic and eco-conscious flowers. Their goal is to equip consumers with choices and offer a more informed approach to something we take for granted in our everyday lives. Currently, about 95% of all cut flowers sold in the United States are imported, mostly from Columbia. And as you can imagine, all that matters is making sure those flowers look as good as possible when they make it to market here in the states. Consequently, they’re sprayed heavily with pesticides and dipped in chemicals before shipping not to mention the thousands of miles they travel to get here.
The more I learned, the more impressed I was with those farmers that take on the challenge of growing flowers commercially, yet in a sustainable manner. It’s not easy – especially when you consider having to compete against the rock bottom prices of the low-cost imports. Diane Szukovathy and her husband Dennis Westphall know those challenges all too well. They own Jello Mold Farm located in the rich Skagit River Valley of Washington state. There on seven acres, they grow over 150 varieties of cut flowers using only eco-friendly methods and they are committed to stewarding the land at the same time.
It’s also cool to know there are floral designers that help create the demand. When it comes to using fresh, local materials, Stacie Sutliff of Blush Custom Floral, knows her stuff. She specializes in beautiful, garden-style arrangements for weddings, special events and home interiors. When possible, she likes to buy directly from the farmers for her designs, sometimes even walking the fields with the grower before a big event to determine the freshest product possible. Her clients know that with Stacie, their flowers are colorful and “green” at the same time.
So all in all, no real drama or behind the scenes trauma. Having a shoot go as planned is a rarity, and we relish those days. Thanks to a great outline by Theresa Loe, a thoroughly researched story, and great subjects to help tell it, we finally had a couple of those days this time. I hope you take time to view the show. You can watch it here, right now. It is a great story, fun to watch, and as you can imagine, the visuals aren’t too shabby either.