Floral CSAs Are the Best Way To Get Local, Fresh Blooms All Season Long
Here's how to sign up for one close to you.
Garden-fresh flowers instantly brighten up your home, and many fill it with a pleasant aroma. (And if they're roses, the scent can also improve your memory.) Unless you have an established cutting garden, you might be one of the many people contributing to the floral industry's nearly $16 billion in yearly revenue by buying your arrangements online or at your local grocery or florist shop. Unfortunately, many of those bouquets sold online or at your grocery store feature pretty basic blooms that oftentimes wilt in a matter of days. But now, there's a way you can have fresh, locally-sourced florals delivered to your door with flower CSAs.
Produce CSAs, aka Community Supported Agriculture, have been around for more than 25 years, but ones that exclusively provide flowers are relatively new. Debra Prinzing, the producer behind Slow Flowers, an online directory of suppliers of local and domestic blooms, first noticed the rise of flower-focused CSAs in late 2014. Since then, she says these small businesses have been popping up all over the country.
Here's how these organizations work: First, you find one in your area by going to the Slow Flowers website under the CSA section. The site has nearly 700 farms and florists selling fresh-cut blooms, so there is likely one near you. Another way to find one is by inquiring with local florists. Prinzing says there are all types of different subscriptions, ranging from weekly to monthly to seasonally. (For example, Miranda's Flowers in Pasco, Washington, offers bi-weekly or weekly orders from four to eight weeks in wrapped bouquets or vase arrangements, ranging from $125 to $325 per subscription.) You choose your plan based on your preferences and what's available, and you'll receive blooms, often the same day or next day they're cut, which are usually "growers choice."
The beauty of CSAs (besides the product) is they benefit both the grower and the customer, especially the newcomers. "Sometimes, a CSA is a good way to try out a new farmer," Prinzing explains. "Maybe they don't have enough flowers for the wedding industry, but they have a beautiful selection for a micro sale. It's nice to support local farms that really need the cash flow," she adds.
As a buyer, you're able to decorate with unique, diverse flowers in your home that aren't typically available in your local supermarket or an online florist. The unusual plants are also often difficult for the everyday gardener to grow. "That access to heirloom flowers, nostalgic cottage flowers, and ephemeral botanicals is only achieved when you can buy farm direct," Prinzing says. Plus, by eliminating the middle man, like a florist, which makes the process longer, you're getting the freshest, longest-lasting flowers possible.
If you're not quite ready to commit to a subscription, some CSAs offer gift certificates, like Sweet Earth Co. in Pound Ridge, New York. (The flower farm offers digital gift cards from $50 to $200.) It's an effortless way to try it out and also makes a thoughtful gift for the gardener in your life, especially with Valentine's Day right around the corner. So the next time you want to beautify your home with some blooms, consider joining a local CSA for the freshest, highest-quality flowers money can buy.