This time of year is exciting for me… For these few warm months in Chicago, locally grown cut flowers are available! In May, when the first peonies and lilacs add life to local farmers markets, it starts to really feel like spring.
When I’m sourcing flowers for an event, my first choice is for organic, locally grown flowers. Of course, living in Chicago, that’s only possible for part of the year. But while they’re here, I’m a happy camper! And here’s why…
1. Better for the environment.
About 75% of cut flowers sold in the US are grown in South America. With a stopover in Miami, most cut flowers destined for Chicago have traveled over 2,500 miles. A shorter distance between producer and consumer means that fewer resources are used to get the flowers to market. No planes needed, just the grower driving their product to their customers, and that means fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Also, imported flowers are refrigerated for most of their journey to the US, so local flowers not only require less energy for transportation, but also less energy for refrigeration.
2. Fresher, better product.
Imported cut flowers are cut at the greenhouse, put in boxes, put on a plane, and sent to a wholesaler, where they continue sit in their boxes until they are purchased or put into water. By purchasing locally grown flowers, the transportation time is significantly reduced, meaning the flowers are happily drinking up water for much more time than flowers that travel some distance.
3. Better deal for you and the producer.
By purchasing directly from the grower, you get a better price, and the grower gets a larger portion of the sales by cutting out the middle man! What a great way to support family farms!
And if you can find a local grower who farms organically, all the better! Double win!
You can find locally grown organic cut flowers at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I find myself returning to these two growers again and again:
- Illinois Specialty Cut Flowers, on the web at http://illinoisspecialtycutflowers.net/
- The Flower Garden
And of course, for your weddings and special events, I provide floral designs using locally grown flowers whenever possible!