Organic Flowers Easier On Your Wallet
By Michael Finney
ABC 7 - February 9, 2006 click here to watch the video
Feb. 9 - KGO - These days, you can find organic products practically everywhere. But what about flowers? Can you buy green without spending a lot of green?
Until recently, it was tough to find chemical free flowers that could compete with non-organic ones. But we found that you can buy organic blooms that look just as good, last just as long, and can even be less expensive.
The Bay Area has long been a leader in the organic revolution, so it's no surprise that we found one of the biggest distributors of organic flowers headquartered in Mill Valley.
Gerald Prolman, OrganicBouquet.com: "We will ship on the 13th (of February) -- for arrival on the 14th -- 10,000 dozen bunches of organic roses."
OrganicBouquet.com sells roses in a rainbow of colors, as well as tulips, sunflowers, lavender and lillies. Most of the roses come from Colombia while the other flowers are from local farms. All are grown using environmental methods.
Gerald Prolman, OrganicBouquet.com: "So it's things like soaps and oils, and environmentally friendly materials. It's using environmental controls, like good bugs that eat the bad bugs."
OrganicBouquet has also passed the strict standards developed by Emeryville-based Scientific Certification Systems, an independent, third-party company.
Linda Brown, Scientific Certification Systems: "We created a sustainability standard which addresses environmental and social responsibility issues for the U.S. market and that's called VeriFlora."
VeriFlora seals are only issued to businesses after on-site inspection of their fields, storage facilities and transportation systems, as well as interviews with employees.
Linda Brown, Scientific Certification Systems: "Organic alone does not address other issues that are of equal concern to consumers such as other environmental issues like water conversation, the way that wastes are managed and issues even extending to the people who are working the farm."
So how much difference does this green choice make to your wallet? We checked prices at five of the most popular online flower shops.
For a dozen long-stemmed roses in a glass vase, including any taxes, shipping and service fees, total prices were:
• 1800flowers.com -- $71.58
• FTD.com -- $91.98
• Hallmark.com -- $86.88
• ProFlowers.com -- $64.22
• Teleflora.com -- $95.94
At OrganicBouquet, the cost was just $56.30 - about eight bucks cheaper than the lowest price from the competition.
Gerald Prolman, OrganicBouquet.com: "There are people who want to make the eco choice and we're making the supply available and the awareness just continues to increase."
Again, we compared only *online* florists.
Also, in some cases, prices tend to go up as Valentine's Day gets closer. OrganicBouquet says its prices are locked in, and its flowers are guaranteed to last at least seven days from the date of delivery.
Industry experts we spoke with say consumer demand is the quickest way to get more retailers to carry organic flowers, so consumers who want to buy organic should request it at their local florist or grocery store.
Organic Bouquet, Mill Valley, CA:
Scientific Certification Systems, VeriFlora Certification Program:
California Cut Flower Commission::
VeriFlora certified growers and handlers
Esmeralda Farms, Miami, FL:
**Sun Valley Group, Arcata, CA:
**Kendall Farms, Falbrook, CA:
Delaware Valley Floral Group:
**Sierra Flower Trading, Ltd., Montreal, Canada:
**Indicates sites which allow you to purchase flowers. Other sites are for VeriFlora certified companies which ship to sellers such as OrganicBouquet.
U.S. sales of organic flowers grew to $8 million in 2003, up 52% from 2002. Sales are expected to grow an estimated 13% annual through 2008. (Source: Organic Trade Association)
Organic Trade Association:
Copyright 2006, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.
Originally aired February 9, 2006 on ABC 7 news