Local-up your Valentine’s Day Flowers

We all know that characteristic Valentine’s Day panic. We’ve seen it on the stricken face of some poor soul running to the supermarket at the final hour on the 14th, hoping to find the perfect gift just in time. This poor soul, in desperation, grabs the first red roses they see, unaware that those bright petals may come from a faraway land, dragging along a giant carbon footprint and a heaping side of preservatives with them.

Did you know that the average bunch of twelve red roses is imported from Ecuador, the Netherlands, or even as far away as Kenya? In order to withstand the long shipping process that gets those flowers here, imported roses are often doused with tons of preservatives. Imagine: sticking your face right up in that lush, beautiful bouquet to take a big sniff–of chemicals.

What’s an eco-minded flower-lover to do? Never fear: you can have your flowers and smell them, too! It just takes a little more thought and a pinch of creativity.

You’re already a conscious consumer when it comes to food. Whether you’re shopping for a sweetheart or it’s a flowers-for-one kind of day (we’ve all been there!) I challenge you to make the same great choices about your Valentine’s Day flowers. I’ve got some ideas for you.

Photos from Farmgirl Flowers.

Give Local Flowers

The best choice to reduce your flowers’ carbon footprint would be to buy flowers grown sustainably by a local farm, either straight from the farm or arranged by a local florist. Red roses are, unfortunately, not in bloom ‘round these parts in February. You may have luck finding more seasonally-appropriate (and beautiful!) flowers like hellebore, anemone, and ranunculus, depending on your area. Ask your local florist if they carry these varieties, and where they get them from.

If you can’t find a local supplier of fresh flowers grown near you for Valentine’s Day, you can order bouquets of American-grown flowers delivered right to your door! These websites offer delivery to the lower 48 states.

Farmgirl Flowers offers absolutely stunning arrangements of seasonal flowers sourced from a collection of farms.

Stargazer Barn, a flower farm in California, offers bouquets made from their own farm-grown flowers.

Flowerbud offers bouquets of all kinds, using flowers sourced from various farms.

If you would rather buy your bouquet in a physical store, look for a “Certified American Grown” label on the packaging, or other signs that those blooms hail from a nearby place. You can also ask your florist if they have anything local available.

Give the Gift of Future Flowers

February isn’t prime time for local flowers in the American northeast. So, why not give the gift of future flowers? It’s a win-win: you can feel good about your consciously-chosen gift, and your valentine gets to look forward to their bouquets!

Many flower farms offer bouquet subscriptions in the form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. With a flower CSA, you will get a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet of freshly-picked flowers once the growing season starts. Your valentine will be getting the best of whatever is blooming each week.

Psst… Sea Change Farm & Flower is offering a CSA this season! It’s a great gift idea, if I do say so myself.

Here are some flower farms in the greater New York area that offer bouquet subscriptions:

Botaniq Blooms, in Cream Ridge, NJ
Diana Mae Flowers, in Beacon, NY
Fairview Farm & Flowers, in Morristown, NJ
Flowers from the Farm, in Freehold, NJ
Jig-Bee Flower Farm, in Collingswood, NJ
Little Farmhouse Flowers, in Jay, NY
Love’n Fresh Flowers, in Philadelphia, PA
Perianth Farm, in Red Hook, NY
Rock Steady Farm, in Millerton and New York City
Sea Change Farm & Flower (that’s me!), in Stone Ridge, NY
Shoving Leopard Farm, in Rhinebeck, NY
Sweet Earth Co, in Pound Ridge, NY
Tiny Hearts Farm, in Copake, NY

I am sure there are others that I have missed. To find more flower growers near you, try the Floret Flowers Local Flowers Directory.

Photos from Floret Flowers.

Give Them Their Own Flower Garden

If your sweetheart is the DIY type, why not get them the seeds to start their own cut flower garden come spring? They’ll be cutting from these blooms all summer!

Hudson Valley Seed Co offers mixes of flower seeds as well, and each seed packet is designed by a unique artist.

Floret Flowers has a gorgeous array of curated flower seed collections.

Johnny’s Seeds is a go-to seed supplier for many of us flower farmers, and offers a wide range of seeds on their website if you’d like to pick out varieties yourself.

If your valentine doesn’t have a backyard, then consider a bulb forcing kit. Bulb forcing sounds strenuous–violent, even!–but it’s simply the art of convincing a bulb plant, like a hyacinth or a tulip, into believing it’s spring by growing it inside. A simple windowsill will do. Botanicalart on Etsy sells bulb-forcing kits of all kinds, complete with vases.

Photos from A Petal Unfolds.

Give Them Eternal Flowers

Support an artist and give your valentine paper flowers! There are some exquisite paper flower artists out there, including these ones:

Sara Kim – she makes everything from single stems to full-blown wedding bouquets.
A Petal Unfolds – possibly the most swoon-worthy Etsy store I have ever seen.
The Green Vase – beautiful high-end paper flowers, made-to-order.

If your valentine is crafty, there are many books about how to make paper flowers yourself. I particularly like The Fine Art of Paper Flowers, by Tiffanie Turner.

Spread the Love

Whether you are shopping for a loved one or your lovely self, I hope this guide has given you some ideas and inspiration. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Samantha is the farmer and owner at Sea Change.

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