Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CSA 2014: Week 4

It’s summer, it’s hot! To help relieve the heat, we wanted to offer a little something to our CSA members in addition to their flowers this week!

Too help cool off, Eric and Carling teamed up to make limeade with locally grown basil simple syrup.  The basil came from our friends at Hillen Homestead!

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Basil Simple Syrup (adapted from Cooking with Flowers)

  • 1 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (washed)

Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches a simmer. Place basil leaves in a nonreactive bowl (glass or stainless steal) and pour hot syrup over top. Let sit 30 minutes, or longer. Strain out basil, and pour into sealable jar ( a mason jar works great!).

Ideas for Basil Simple Syrup:

  • Mix with fresh lime or lemon juice, water, and ice for limeade or lemonade.
  • Mix with gin, ice, and tonic or club soda for a refreshing cocktail.

Carling also made Sweet William Shortbread

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Sweet William Shortbread  (recipe from  "Cooking with Flowers" by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets Available for purchase at Mali B Sweets online.

For those of you that are not familiar with Sweet William or Dianthus, it represents love, fascination, distinction, and pure affection. Culinary Uses: dianthus is sweet, with a slightly clove like aftertaste. The petals are an ingredient in the liquor Chartreuse.  Our sweet william this week came from Butterbee Farm

Of course, we’ve got flowers too! This week we’ve got:

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Hope you enjoy your flowers and treats this week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beyond Buying Local! Social Entrepreneurship the Local Color Flowers Way!

14312193607_61aa61ecbf_kFor those of you who don’t know us, I’ll tell you a little about Local Color Flowers.  We’re a floral design studio based in Baltimore Md. We’re in our 7th year of business and since we began the company, we’ve been sourcing flowers locally from farmers within 100 miles from Baltimore. We do mostly wedding work but also have a flower CSA, weekly orders and a subscription program.

While we’re in the business of being floral designers, we see ourselves as much more than that. We’re really social entrepreneurs and we take our job seriously. As leaders in the local flower movement, we believe that our little business has the ability to change the industry one order at a time. Wonder how we’re doing it? We’ll tell you because we think that this is a model that other florists can and should adopt.

First, we’re buying local. In 2013, we spent close to $100,000 on 14460432906_8be778dd9e_kflowers from our local growers. These are not just faceless suppliers. These are folks we know, and visit, and collaborate with, and commiserate with and do favors for, and are indebted to and love. Our growers live close by, support local businesses and eat at local restaurants. Our client’s money, which becomes their money gets recirculated making our community stronger.

In addition to buying from our local growers,  we have a Microfinance Lending Program. Farming is hard work. Many times it feels like it’s feast or famine.  We understand the challenge of seasonal work and are proud to offer small, short-term microfinance loans to our farmers. In 2013, the program's first year, we lent $5,00o to help our farmers buy seeds and plants in the winter before their farmer’s markets began.

We are also keenly aware that our success as a business is dependent on the success of our local farmers. We work hard to nurture, mentor and support new flower farmers in our region. Last year, we started the Flower Farmer Start-Up Buying Promise. New farmers have a lot to figure out. How to grow flowers is first. Then who to sell them too and how to market them. Last year,   we committed to buying the majority of the seasonal harvest from start-up farms including Butterbee Farm and The Hillen Homestead. This allowed them to focus on learning to be the best growers they can be. We continue to buy the majority of available flowers from these farms. We look forward to making this promise to other new start-up farms in the future.

Local Farm Promotion is an important way we let people know where their flowers are coming from. All of our wrapped bouquets are tagged with grower credits. Our farmers also participate in our classes and book club here at the studio. One of the things we love most introducing clients and growers. There is always mutual excitement at those meetings.

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Throughout the winter months, we meet with most of our growers to help with their Crop Planning.  For new growers, we help them choose colors and varieties that will be appealing to designers. For more experienced growers, we help fill them in on color and style trends in the event world.

You might be thinking, WHY go through all the trouble? Wouldn’t it just be easier to to order flowers from the wholesaler and move on? The truth is, of course it’s easier. But who cares about easy. We care about a lot of things, but not about what’s easy.

We care about giving our clients the prettiest, freshest flowers available.

We care about supporting our local economy in a meaningful way. We care about the success and sustainability of the growers in our community. We care about the earth and the natural resources that are used to grow and transport flowers.

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For all of these reasons, and more we do what we do…and we LOVE it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CSA 2014: Week 3

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Week 3 of our CSA and we’re taking a break from HOT colors and going with a more muted, deep palette.  This weeks bouquets include:

  • White Lisianthus (they look a little like a rose)
  • Dark/almost black dahlias (or some of you may get purple)
  • Wild Carrot/Daucus (looks like Queen Anne’s Lace but dark burgundy or light pink
  • Mountain Mint
  • Lemon Basil
  • Blackberries (yup! blackberries)
  • Scabiosa (little pincushion flowers)

Our lisianthus, dahlias, blackberries and daucus are from Capital Flower Growers.

The beautiful mountain mint came from our friend Bill Harlan of Belvedere Farm. We’re grateful to Nancy for delivering to us today!

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Finally, the lemon basil and scabiosa come to you this week from Hillen Homestead. Located just 1.6 miles from our studio, Hillen Homestead is currently our only Baltimore City farmer.

Maya, her husband Max and their little one, farm on a small plot of land where rowhouses used to stand.

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In their second year of growing, Hillen Homestead is getting the most out of their space! My favorite from so far are the scabiosa which you’ll see dotting your bouquet this week.

We’re grateful to Hillen Homestead and all of our growers for all of their hard work on our behalf!  They are so much more to us than just “suppliers” they are really a wonderful part of the LoCoFlo family! We couldn’t do what we do without them!

Enjoy your flowers this week! Be sure to change the water frequently and trim the bottoms every two days. Keep them out of direct sunlight to get the most life from them!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Baltimore Beards Are Here!

You’ve seen them in the Baltimore Sun and on social media, but now you can get the full story about our Baltimore Beards project.

At the beginning of the year, when we were making plans for 2014, Irene mentioned that it would be fun to do a project with floral beards. We’d seen some photos on Pinterest, but thought it would be fun to put a Baltimore spin on the idea. So, we pulled in our friends from Balance Photography and 9 of the best beards we could find and Baltimore Beards became a reality.

Since we weren’t sure what to expect (how would the material stay in? how long would each beard take? would it be weird to be up close and personal in someone’s beard?) we started with Eric.

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Even though he has a short beard, the plant material stayed in pretty good without any extra support. For the heavier flowers, we used eyelash “glue” (it washed out with water).

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What would you think if this guy was delivering your wedding flowers?

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Once we got the basic technique down, we could really start to get creative.

Our first “round” of beards arrived right on time. Like us, I’m sure they didn’t know what to expect, but they were amazingly willing to go with the flow.

Greg was first. Greg is vegan and a military veteran.  He had an amazingly long beard that lent itself to a long, crazy, trailing design. We accented the design with a beautiful, “black” lily from Hendricks flowers. For the longer beards, we used bobby pins to attach the larger, heavier flowers that wouldn’t stay in on their own.

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Stacy had just started interning with us, when we threw her into the deep end!

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Not surprising, our photographer, Nathaniel Corn of Balance Photography got in on the fun too. He took a break from shooting to get his beard done by Carling.

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Artist, Matt Muirhead was next. Matt’s design didn’t stop at his beard, we also included some natural eyebrow magic.

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Our last “beard” of the morning was Paul Masson, lead singer of Baltimore’s Great American Canyon Band.

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Obviously, Paul had a great look for our project! Paul’s lovely wife Krystal, (of the Great American Canyon Band and Esther and Harper) also got in on the fun. Now that’s some Baltimore hippie love!

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Irene scoped out some great spots for our group shots including this Charles Village alley and pocket park.

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The afternoon “beards” were just as much fun as the morning ones.

Jim Hickey’s beard was our most “floral” beard.  Jim, lead singer of the Solicitors, really got into the shoot.

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Artist John Podles got a “green” beard. I especially loved the piers japonica down at the bottom of his beard.

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Finally, our last “beards” of the day were Adam and Slippy.

Adam, also of the Great American Canyon Band, rocked his floral beard, including a gigantic orange poppy!

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Slippy, one of Baltimore’s favorite bartenders, (currently at Dylan’s Oyster Cellar),  had an epic floral beard AND ivy head crown.

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We ended the shoot at one of our favorite neighborhood spots: Charles Village Pub.

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This was seriously one of the most fun days at LoCoFLo ever! Thanks to everyone who was a part of the shoot!

To see ALL of the Baltimore Beards photos, check out our flickr album.

Happy Summer folks!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Photos, Friends and Flowers at Butterbee Farm

Last week Team LoCoFlo headed out to Butterbee Farm for an early evening photoshoot. It was a warm night and the farm was just starting to come alive with summer blooms. Our idea, was to get some shots to help promote our upcoming classes at Butterbee Farm.

What a fun night! We played with flowers, toured around the farm, drank limeade (thanks eric!) and enjoyed the beauty that surrounded us. Thanks to Stacy Bauer, photographer extraordinaire, we got some amazing photos of our models, our team and our dear friend Laura Beth, owner of Butterbee Farm.

The first class we’ll be offering is our Mid-Summer Head Wreath Class On July 26th . Head wreaths are hot right now! Attendees will be able to tour and pick flowers at the farm, enjoy sweet snacks and cold drinks, and make their very own floral head crown. What fun!

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Our second class is our Down on the Farm Summer Centerpiece Class on August 17th. Learn how to arrange locally grown flowers, herbs, foliage and more!

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Thanks to all our our amazing models (Rachel, Molly, Lindsay Anne and Sarah), our creative designers (and great models) Carling and Irene,  Laura Beth for being a pretty badass farmer and for Stacy Bauer for taking some sweet photos.

Check out Butterbee’s blog for more photos or to see the full photo album, check out our flickr page!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

CSA 2014 : Week 2

The hot weather had arrived just in time for the longest day of year!

This week’s CSA bouquets are filled with

  • Purple Campanula (bell like flowers)
  • Dahlias (red in this photo, some people got orange or pink)
  • Yellow Yarrow (be sure to smell this one! it’s got a really unique scent!)
  • Orange Asclepius (this is one of my favorite Summer flowers)
  • Sunflowers
  • Safflower (the green “flowers”. They are still in the bud stage which we love. It may bloom orange).

Photo: CSA pick up today between 430 and 7pm! Summer has arrived this week! Sunflowers, dahlias, yarrow, campanula, Asclepias ad safflower!! #locoflocsa

Last week we met Capital Flower Growers and Seaberry Farm on the blog. The provided some of your flowers this week too.

The campanula, yarrow, dahlias and sunflowers came from Capital Flower Growers and the Safflower came from Seaberry Farm.

This week your Asclepius came from our friends at Plant Masters down in Gaithersburg.

Husband and wife farmers, Carol and Leon Carrier have been farming for over 30 years. They grow flowers and plants and can be found at The Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market year 'round and The Olney Farm Market (Sun 9-1 @ MGH grounds 5/9-11/7) and The Potomac Farmer's Market (Falls & Democracy,Thurs. 2-6)

Leon and Carol are always so generous with their flower knowledge. We love working with them!

Now that the weather is getting hot, be sure to keep your flowers in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Keep them filled with water (add water every day) and change the water every other day.

Enjoy the flowers! Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CSA 2014: Week 1!

It’s our first week of the CSA and we’re so excited!

For those of you who are CSA members, this week’s CSA bouquet is filled with peonies, larkspur, snapdragons and bells of Ireland.

Your snaps were grown in Jarrettsville by our friend Matt Bauer of Flowers by Bauer's.

The larkspur and peonies were grown by our friends  Rick and Wenfei Uva from Seaberry Farm out on the eastern shore.

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The Bells of Ireland were grown by Capital Flower Growers, a collaborative effort by Wollam Gardens and Greenstone Fields.

From left to right, the flowers are Bells of Ireland, larkspur, peonies, and snapdragons.

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Since everything is TALL this week, if you’re going to display your bouquet as it’s currently arranged, choose a tall vase that will allow your flowers to show off all of their blooms!

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Since this is our first week for flowers I thought I’d share some tips about how to keep your flowers looking fresh for as long as possible.

  1. Replenish the water daily. Change the entire vase of water every 2 days.
  2. Trim the ends of your stems before your put them in the vase and each time you change the water.
  3. Keep your flowers out of heat and direct sunlight.
  4. Be sure the vase you are using is CLEAN.

Each flower has a unique vase life (how long it will live in the vase). Your flowers will be happier and live longer if you follow these tips!

Hope you enjoy these early summer blooms! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #locoflocsa if you share photos on social media.

If you are reading this post and still want to sign up for the CSA, there is still time. Sign up on our website today! (the price will be prorated!)

See you next time!