I was able to listen to an interview with Debra Prinzing on NPR on my way to work one day. It was so fascinating that I had to sit in my car until the bitter end. Prinzing, a Seattle and Los Angeles based garden writer, introduced me to the concept of ‘slow flowers’ that day. We’re all familiar with the idea of ‘slow food’: food that is local, seasonal, and sustainable. This is an accepted and desirable concept. Well, transfer that idea to flowers and you’ve got ‘slow flowers’: fresh, local and sustainable.
Did you know that eighty percent of flowers sold in the United States are imported? They are flown into Miami or New York (by then five days picked), trucked to Seattle (add more days) and sold in cellophane at the local grocery store. Even if the flowers are labelled eco-something, they still need to be drenched in fumigants to prevent unwanted bugs from entering our country. These ‘factory flowers’ are scentless and grown a continent or two away.
While it’s nice to support third world countries, it’s even better to support local farmers. And your blossoms will be almost a week fresher. Prinzing champions this notion of slow flowers in her book The 50 Mile Bouquet. In it, she introduces us to a variety of sustainable flower farmers and their tips on cut flowers. You learn things like how to incorporate succulents into your mixed bouquet, various ingredients for floral arrangements, and growing or gathering your own flowers.
Prinzing’s newest book continues with this theme of slow flowers and thus its title, Slow Flowers. She takes us through the seasons to create 52 vibrant bouquets from locally available flowers. Each week includes a recipe with listed ingredients for each beautiful arrangement. She challenged herself to create a bouquet-a-week with materials from her own garden or her region. It’s a wonderful concept, one that she is presenting in her blog. She is currently on week nineteen of floral arrangements. Check it out at debraprinzing.com. The arrangements are beautiful!
If you don’t have a picking garden at home, why don’t you come on down to the library and pick up your copy of the 2013 Farm Guide: Your Source for What’s Fresh, Local, and in Season. This is your free guide to local farmer’s markets and twenty-two Snohomish county farms. It includes hours of operation, addresses, and all sorts of other good info. Why trek down to the Pike Place Market to purchase flowers grown in Snohomish? It makes more sense to buy them at Everett’s Farmer’s Market or the farm itself out in Snohomish. There you will literally Meet the Producer.
If you’d like to listen to that NPR interview with Prinzing, you can here. It will inspire you to either grow your own flowers or visit the local farms and farmers markets to buy local blooms. See you down on the farm!