MicroBrews and Blooms



As the first “American Grown Flowers Month” comes to a close today, I took some time to think about the position of American Grown flowers in the market place.

A great parallel that we can draw is to the beer industry.  50 years ago, beer was made locally, each city or region had its own brew. These companies were revered with civic pride, and featured names like “Iron City” in Pittsburgh or “Narragansett” in Rhode Island, named after Narragansett Bay. In floriculture, local flower farms were located just outside the city limits, and flowers were brought into the city markets daily.

micro-brews and American Grown flowers
Sun Valley Royal Lilies paired with Steelhead Pale Ale, which is made about 6 miles from where we grow the lilies.
 
As the economy and the population grew, larger corporations moved into the beer industry, regional breweries like Anheuser-Busch, founded in St. Louis in 1852, grew bigger, stretching beyond their regional foot print.

To their credit they innovated and changed the beer industry forever. Did you know Anheuser-Busch invented the refrigerated rail-car and were the first to pasteurize beer to increase shelf life?  While this enabled the company to grow nationwide, it also brought a single homogenized product to every town in America.

Sun Valley Tulips, Lilies and Iris

In the floral industry, the South American grown Freedom Rose has become the Budweiser of the flower industry. With 80 percent of the flowers sold in the United States now imported from South America, including most of the roses, carnations and alstroemeria, it is easy to see that these imports have become the mass-produced brews that permeated the beer market in the 70s and 80s.

Bred for the masses, both Budweiser and the Freedom Rose, lack any really character. They are simply a commodity.

In the beer industry, after a couple decades of drinking Budweiser and the handful of other mass-produced brews, consumers wanted more. They wanted local, they wanted fresh and the wanted beer with character!

Sun Valley Tulips

Overnight, local breweries sprang up in nearly every town in America. Just in our small, rural community in Humboldt County, we have six independent breweries!
 
We are seeing this same renaissance in flower farming, as consumers want unique and seasonal blooms. Across the United States flower farms are springing up to serve this need.

This July has been a celebration of these farms and these farmers. Much as artisanal breweries have captured market share and the imagination of beer lovers across the country, artisanal flower farms are doing the same for flower lovers both old and young.

Freshly Picked Tulips

At Sun Valley, we’ve been leading this trend since before it was a trend. Much like the Sierra Nevada Brewery, founded in Chico, California in 1980, long before the word "micro-brew" existed.

We are proud to be forging the path for other flower farmers to find a market and an audience for their beautiful blooms.
  
So grab a cold brew, raise up a a few stems of American Grown flowers, and propose a toast to the American flower farmers!