Dutch Greenhouse in Oregon

If you've ever wondered what the greenhouses of Holland look like on the inside, this is as close as you get without actually being in Holland!  Before I toured Oregon Flowers, Inc.  I assumed that the company tag 'Flowers grown with a Dutch Touch' was a marketing gimmick, but now I know they aren't posing- this is the real thing! 

 

Since Foxbound Flowers is dedicated to knowing where their product comes from, I was excited to see the greenhouses, but I was not prepared for what I saw.  My tour guide was a second generation Lily grower, Tyler, who's parents (the owners) Martin and Helene Meskers moved from the Netherlands to the Willamette Valley in the 1970's, worked for a few years on a bulb farm, and then pursued their own American Dream by opening their own Lily growing operation.

2nd generation Lily growerLilies growing in the greenhouseHarvested Tulips waiting to be packagedLily bulbs growing in bulb crates  

Oregon Flowers, Inc. is a perfect example of technology in the floral industry, and they never miss an opportunity to use it.  The only things done by hand? Planting, cutting and some packaging.  Everything else is done by technology- watering, temperature control, soil sterilizing, composting, spraying, even lifting and stacking bulb crates is ALWAYS done by a machine.  The end result?  Perfection (or as close as you can get when working with a living plant).  A consistent, super fresh product every time.  The quality is second to none.  

There are few things I love more than flowers and efficiency, and Oregon Flowers blew my hair back with both.  You can take your own tour!  Visit their website and  give them a call to set one up!  https://oregonflowers.com/

View more videos (with captions) on our IGTV channel: @foxboundflowers

 

 

 

Kelsey Ruhland
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#001 - The Beginning of Change

My decision to become a 'sustainable' florist was, in part, a reaction to reading Yvon Chouinard's Let My People Go Surfing, in which the author and owner of the Patagonia company shares his philosophies on uniting economic success with environmental responsibility, and proves companies can be successful at both.    After reading the book, I felt inspired to make changes of my own.  As I recalled  the appalling waste which my small shop on the prairie produced, I knew there was endless room for improvement.  The fast-paced days in a floral shop, however, are full of endless tasks to get flowers into the hands of brides, onto the tables of events, and on the caskets of the recently departed.  The required pace made sustainability seem laughable at the time, or impossible.  How could I figure out how to waste less water if I couldn't even figure out how to make time to eat my lunch? I'm no stranger to the many hats a sole-proprietor florist has to wear, all while trying to eek out a meager living on small profit margins. As the owner of a small floral shop in a prairie town, it took me the better part of five years to work my way toward an income I could even admit to, and even when asked I would usually tell others I made a 'teacher's salary'.  The fact that is was more like an Arkansas teacher's salary was a detail that I kept to myself.    After finally reaching a point where I was confident about my income as an entrepreneur, my husband and I uprooted our family from the prairie this spring, and moved to Eugene, OR.  While I was sad to leave my 'child' (my shop) that I had nurtured from it's infancy, I was excited to start a new floral shop in the Pacific Northwest, and embark on a new path in the floral industry.  This time, though, I decided to take a differerent pathway. 

The move across the country gave me an opportunity for a fresh start with my floral career, and as I began planning my next floral shop, Foxbound Flowers, I became determined to make environmental responsibility a priority from the very beginning.  It's easy to preach environmentalism while one is waiting for their business to take off, but much harder to practice when orders are coming in, flowers are flying off the shelves, and deadlines are looming.  Building eco-consious practices in to the business model from the very beginning can help ensure that responsible systems are already in place when the time comes to rely on them.

In this blog, I've used the word 'sustainable' in quotes.  I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not believe I am (yet) a 'sustainable' florist.  In fact, eco-responsible would be more accurate, but this is not catchy, nor would anyone read a blog called the 'Responsible Florist'.  Sustainability is the goal, and someday I hope that I can call myself a 'sustainable' florist without the quotation marks.  It's a long road up ahead, and I'm only at the beginning.   

Kelsey Ruhland
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