Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Recap of May 2011-A Crazy Month!

May was a crazy month for LoCoFlo! We worked on 9 amazing weddings! Each one was unique, creative and full of beautiful flowers! Used the last of the real spring flowers, hyacinth, daffodils, tulips and ranunculus for May 7th’s weddings.


Then we moved into several straight weeks of PEONIES!


On Sunday, May 29th, we moved into deep, rich summer colors including fuchsia, purples and blues!


In addition to working on these great weddings, we started providing flowers to Apothecary Wellness and Spa in Federal Hill. If you haven’t been to the amazing spa, make an appointment now!

We were also lucky enough to be part of 2 awesome photo shoots. The first took place at Jordan Faye Contemporary in Federal Hill and was for Baltimore Bride magazine. Jordan’s space is one of the original Enoch Pratt Library buildings that has been turned into an art gallery/event space. It’s perfect for an intimate wedding or party. The second shoot was coordinated by the photographers at Readyluck and the ladies of Jill Andrew’s Gowns. I’ll share more photos as they become available –but for now-just know-that a cow ate one of the bouquets during the shoot!


If all that weren’t enough-my  fab, web designer/delivery MVP/cooler builder/compost turner created an amazing new website for us. It has great new features including an interactive “What’s Blooming Now”  tool! Check it out!

Finally, we added some great, new help to the LoCoFlo team! We’ve now got a new designer, new design assistant and an awesome INTERN! A big thanks to these wonderful women for being passionate about flowers and buying local!

Like I said, it’s been a crazy month! We’re looking forward to the rest of this crazy season!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Small Joys at 2 DC Farmer’s Markets

Buying local is a challenge sometimes. In the Spring, and early Summer we buy flowers from some wonderful growers with farms close to DC. But getting to DC from Baltimore is not that great. There is always traffic and yesterday-besides the traffic there were a million tour buses in DC. Not to mention that it was 90 degrees out at 3:30 when I finally arrived.

My first pick up was at the Fresh Farm Market across the street from the White House. This is a great market where I get to pick up flowers from Andrea Gagnon from Lynn Vale Studios. Andrea has some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen. A few weeks ago we got a “pastel mix” of ranunculus from her that were to die for! So it’s worth it to stop. But parking around  there is a nightmare. Since I’m usually only picking up a bucket or two of flowers, Andrea has set up a system where I call her when I’m about a block away-and I drive up to the end of the market, where the street is closed, and Andrea runs over and hands the flowers off to me. No parking necessary!

I’m always grateful for this small help because my next stop is the Fresh Farm Market at Penn Quarter. This is another wonderful market that seems to be crowded as soon as the 3pm bell rings. I usually have to park several blocks away and carry each of my buckets (some times as many as 20 or 25 buckets) one or two at a time from Wollam Gardens farm stand to the van. When I arrived, hot, tired and thirsty to Wollam Gardens truck, and saw half of the truck filled with buckets of flowers for ME for this weekends weddings-I actually thought for a minute-can I pay someone on the street to help me carry all this stuff? As I pulled down the first few buckets of baptisia and sweet william, the amazing Kim Payne of Wollam Gardens, who runs the market at Penn Quarter, came around the corner with a gigantic farm wagon! This thing fit at least 8 buckets of flowers!!! I was so happy I seriously almost cried!


This is what buying local is all about! It’s about KNOWING your suppliers and customers. It’s about wanting to make your suppliers and customers happy. It’s about about going the extra mile to make buying local feasible and even easy. It’s about knowing that a wagon will make someone’s day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Local Flower Availability

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from a potential client (like I did this morning) who told me that they met with a florist or several florists and were told that locally grown cut flowers are not available. Sometimes they say  they’re not available…in Maryland or…in a certain month…like May or…in a certain color…like pink.

IMG_2555 That is just plain wrong. Locally grown cut flowers ARE available in the Mid-Atlantic states from approximately February through approximately November 1. We’ve built our entire business around this fact.

There are hundreds of varieties of cut flowers, herbs, flowering branches, greens and more available in a wide range of colors. To help people get an idea of some of what is available in any given month, we’ve created a page on our website listing flower availability by month.  We have also included, where possible, photos of the flowers. We will be constantly updating these lists as the growers availability lists change.  Just a note about the lists: they are not an exact/complete list of what’s available. We are always adding new growers to our network and they will be growing things that no one else has. Our growers also try new things every season so there will always additions. If you love a certain flower-and don’t see it on there-ask us about it.

We’ve also updated our list of growers on our website. We currently have a dozen or so growers listed and will continue to update this list with new growers we meet and start to work with.  If you are not in the Mid-Atlantic states and are looking for a local grower in your area, you can always check the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers website for a grower near you.

Some florists might not know that locally grown flowers are available. Some may not want to deal with the logistics of getting local flowers from farms and farmers markets. But to say that locally grown flowers are not available for weddings in Maryland between February and October is just plain wrong.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spreading the “Buy Local” Love at the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

The Sigil of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Thursday and Friday of this week I set up a little display table outside of the 227th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. This annual meeting is an opportunity for clergy and lay people from all parishes all over Maryland, to come and and network, reconnect and do the business of the church. My idea in attending as a vendor was to chat people up to see what they are doing for flowers at their churches and to see if they were interested in learning more about buying their flowers locally.

For the most part, people that came over to talk were interested in learning more about how to buy local. Many didn’t know where their church flowers were coming from. Some knew the florist that their church used, but weren’t sure where the florist was getting the flowers from. I shared resources with them, explaining that there are flower farms in most communities in Maryland that they can access at Farmers Markets or directly at the farms to provide flowers for the weekly alters, weddings and funerals.

One thing I did hear a lot-which I didn’t really have an answer to-was that lots of folks buy their flowers for the church at Sam’s Club or Costco. When I offered up buying locally grown flowers instead, the question always was: which costs less? To be honest, I’m not sure. I know that cost is a big consideration, especially for churches who have limited or no budget for flowers. I also know that buying locally and supporting small businesses  is important in creating sustainable communities. I’m going to do some cost comparisons and get back to them.  I’ll be sure to post what I learn.

One thing about our flowers-that I LOVE …is that they bring people together.  Everyone wanted to stop by and smell the lily of the  valley, or compliment the lilies (from Farmhouse Flowers) or talk about their garden or their wedding flowers. That was definitely the highlight for me. Chatting with people about something we all love-flowers.

Thanks to my good friend Rev. Kris Lindh-Payne for of all of his help and introductions at Convention. His commitment to social justice and buying locally is inspiring. I’m so fortunate to know him!