by S. Holdbrook
Bouquets without Sprays
Thanks to the nation's first distributor of organically grown flowers, you can send your sweetheart a dozen pesticide-free roses this Valentine's Day. Most domestic and foreign-grown cut-flower crops are raised with a host of chemicals.
Organic Bouquet co-founders Dave Smith (also co-founder of Smith & Hawken) and Gerald Prolman (an organic industry pioneer) are out to show that flowers smell even sweeter when grown organically. The company, based in Novato, California, has lined up about 30 growers from around the world. "This is history in horticulture" says Prolman. "This is about the earth and the farm workers."
It's also about money. Smith predicts the organic wholesale flower market could top $150 million by 2006.
Paul Sansone, owner of Here and Now Garden, in Gales Creek, Oregon, was the nation's first commercial organic flower grower and one of Organic Bouquet's first suppliers. Sansone predicts that most growers will eventually abandon their reliance on chemical inputs and grow organically. In addition to the high cost, safety concerns, and red tape associated with pesticides, he says, pests are becoming resistant to chemicals. "There's a groundwell of change that is already happening. The current system is not sustainable. My feeling is [organic flowers] will completely change the industry."
Organic Bouquet flowers are available at 888-899-2468 or www.organicbouquet.com.
Several store chains - including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and other upscale natural product retailers - also carry them. In-store retail prices for bouquets range from $7 to $18. Ordering online is pricier: $30 to $50, plus $9.95 for overnight shipping. Grower bunches or multiple stems of one type of flower, and potted plants are also available.