A Mountain of Flowers and Fun
Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Fallbrook
On April 7, the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour kicked off at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in Fallbrook, Calif., where 154 guests experienced a spectacular evening on Mel Resendiz’s flower farm.
Flower farming in this region is an extreme – harvesting high in the hills in extremely steep terrain, always mindful of the rattlesnakes that inhabit the hillsides. As such, guests were in for a special treat, but they had to go the extra mile (or five) in order to experience this extraordinary location.It didn’t disappoint. After a 25-minute drive up the side of a mountain, guests were greeted with a glass of champagne as they took in incredible views from atop the hills of Fallbrook – in the middle of one of Resendiz’s flower fields. Bales of hay were placed to help prevent guests from falling down the steep hillside where pincushions (Leucospermum) were growing. Guests were in awe. Renowned floral designer René van Rems, AIFD, worked for two days with a team of people to prepare the table arrangements and floral installations throughout the dinner site, pulling flowers right from the fields as needed. Mel Resendiz welcomed guests, sharing that he was moved by having so many people for dinner on his farm. “I could not imagine this,” he said. “It is wonderful for me to have all of you here.”As flower-focused events, the American Grown Field to Vase Dinners are helping translate people’s passion for sustainable, quality, homegrown food to flowers. Con-necting people with flowers grown on American farms, the farmers who grow them and the opportunity to see what it takes to be a flower farmer is what makes these events unique and so memorable for those who attend.And everyone leaves with flowers; guests were invited to take the centerpieces as well as a hand-tied bouquet from Resendiz Brothers. There was no doubt that guests enjoyed a field-to-vase experience they would never forget.
A Blooming Tradition
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, Carlsbad
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch represents nearly 100 years of American Grown floral cultivation. Yet it was just 26 years ago, before the term “agri-tourism” became mainstream, that flower farmer Paul Ecke Jr. determined that tourists would play an important role in helping keep the farm financially viable. Today, approximately 300,000 people visit The Flower Fields each year.
On April 26, for the fourth year in a row, The Flower Fields provided the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour with a magical place to host an event.Since 1993, Mellano & Company, a Certified American Grown farm, has been responsible for growing the 800 million stems of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus that canvas the hillsides at Carlsbad Ranch. Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event in Chicago, Ill., was this year’s featured designer, starting out the day hosting two floral design workshops on the farm, in the Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn.
Lilly walked attendees through current floral design trends and techniques, and highlighted the value and virtues of the growing movement for homegrown blooms. Approximately 120 workshop attendees were invited to hone their design skills using buckets of Certified American Grown Flowers. “The beauty in these fields – it’s completely overwhelming,” shared Lilly. “You expect the yellow brick road and Emerald City skyline to magically pop out. It’s pure movie-set magic.”
Flower farmer Mike A. Mellano, Ph.D., CEO of Mellano & Company, provided guests with a tour of the farm prior to dinner and welcomed everyone who came to the event. Mellano acknowledged his team of growers, highlighting all that it takes to keep a flower farm blooming in California.
Two dinners remain on the 2018 American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour
- Star Valley Flowers in Soldiers Grove, Wis., on Sept. 8
- Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 5.
Visit americangrownflowers.org/fieldtovase to learn more about the dinner tour and to reserve your seats.
Kasey Cronquist, IOM, PFCI, is the CEO and Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission and the Administrator of Certified American Grown Flowers.