The Quick Truth on Locally-Grown Flower Pricing
"Are your flowers less expensive because you grow them yourself?"
This may be one of the most common questions I’m asked, and I think it stems from a lack of understanding about the world flower market in general. So…a little background:
Approximately 80% of cut flowers purchased in the US are imported, and most of those come from South America. In fact, the US is the largest importer of flowers in the world. Why? Because we love flowers! And because those imported flowers are inexpensive. Why are they so cheap? Many reasons, some of which are lower labor costs and growing processes which favor chemical use over healthier, more environmentally safe growing practices. But one of the biggest reasons is that a lot of these blooms come from South America, and those countries are taxed little to nothing by the US for these exports.
By contrast—and I’ll speak here just from the perspective of my farm—I am committed to paying all employees a living wage and ensuring we all have some type of work/life balance. We use very little in the way of pest and disease sprays, and what we do use is organic. We are also taxed here, there, and everywhere by the US government.
You can see how farming infrastructure alone would be more expensive here in the US, but the life of a flower grown there vs. here is also wildly different. Flowers destined for US imports are harvested and most are shipped dry in boxes via air freight for a journey of thousands of miles. Sometimes farm ship directly to a retail client, but they can also be shipped to a distributor who will get them to a wholesaler then to retail and finally to you. When we harvest a flower, they are generally cut for specific orders, allowed to hydrate for a day, and then delivered directly to a floral designer or to our retail customers—all while remaining in water and avoiding the crush of shipping. Ask any florist how much product they throw away every year because of shipping damage. It’s a LOT. For that reason, the vase life of a locally-grown flower is WILDLY different.
There also seems to be a misguided idea of WHAT we grow, and I think that’s because MANY small farms also grow flowers alongside their vegetable crops. They tend to grow the easy summer bloomers like zinnias and sunflowers, and they make for a nice, bright addition to a farmers market stand.
We also grow zinnias and sunflowers, although we tend to grow more niche varieties. But the bulk of our crops are high-end event flowers—ranunculus, anemones, campanula, poppies, dahlias, delphinium, and many more. They require a lot of care and tending to produce a flower fit for sale. They are not wildflowers and require a lot of deliberate cultivation before they’re ready to go into a wedding bouquet.
SO…the short answer? No, our flowers are not less expensive. They are probably a little more expensive, and I hope this explanation helps you understand why. At a minimum, we strive to keep our pricing in line with the current market, both for wholesale to florists and retail to our clients.
I cannot say this enough: When you purchase from us, you are not just purchasing beautiful flowers. You are purchasing fair and humane labor practices, environmentally sustainable growing practices, and prioritizing slow and high-quality over fast and cheap.
We are very passionate about what we do, and how we do it. I think any farmer HAS to be. My most gratifying experiences as a farmer and designer is encountering clients who truly understand this and are finding us in part because of similar values.