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An American Grown State Dinner – Featuring America’s Cut Flower Industry

Last week, President and Mrs. Obama hosted France’s President, Francois Hollande for a State Dinner on the South Lawn of the White House. State Dinners are a way to celebrate U.S. relations with international friends and allies.  Past dinners at the White House during the Obama Administration have hosted visiting heads of state from nations including India, Mexico, China, Germany, and Great Britain.  In many ways, these events are an opportunity to demonstrate and celebrate for invited guests and the world, the cultural and culinary heritages of our country.

The State Dinner last week was an excellent example, highlighting the diversity of American agricultural and rural products that our nation has to offer. The dinner celebrated the “best of American cuisine” and featured dry-aged rib eye beef from Colorado, trout from Maine, cheese from Vermont, chocolate from Hawaii, and potatoes from New York, Idaho, and California. The wines served at the dinner included excellent selections featuring California, Washington State, and Virginia offerings. However, beyond the menu itself an equally impressive feature was the visible presence of American cut flowers that decorated and added a stunning visual touch for guests at the White House. The floral arrangements displayed at the dinner included:

  • Flowering quince branch – Mississippi
  • Weeping willow – South New Jersey
  • Scotch Broom – Virginia
  • Iris (blue and purple) – California
  • Alocasia – Apopka, FL and Zellwood, FL
  • Equisetum – East coast Florida, De Leon Springs
  • Nandina –  East coast Florida, De Leon Springs
  • Green Liriope –  East coast Florida, De Leon Springs

These floral touches and ornamentals certainly provided a graceful and elegant element for a very special event.  In addition, the many U.S. states and regions represented provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the diversity of American Grown cut flowers. The U.S. floral industry includes fresh cut flowers, cut cultivated greens, potted flowering plants, foliage plants and bedding/garden plants, making floriculture the third largest U.S. agricultural crop. It is an industry that consists of more than 60,000 small businesses, such as growers, wholesalers, retailers, and distributors.

Best of all, every U.S. state has access to locally grown fresh flowers which supports the U.S. economy with jobs and opportunity. Last week’s State Dinner is just one example of the many contributions the U.S. flower industry is making to our nation – an opportunity that every American can celebrate.

157 Responses to “An American Grown State Dinner – Featuring America’s Cut Flower Industry”

  1. Ramsey Kraft says:

    Please use floral center pieces at all government functions. Thanks

  2. Carol Larsen says:

    Sunny Day for US flower growers! It is with great pleasure that, I, as an American flower grower, read this announcement from our Department of Agriculture. Many, many people in this country who work in the horticulture industry are heartened to know that the ‘local’ ag producers are on the governments radar and are coming around to the locavore wave of interest.

  3. Rachel @ Alaska Stems says:

    As a small cut flower farmer in Alaska – THANK YOU! The American Cut Flower industry has a lot of traction right now, and having the support of the White House is fantastic.
    Thank you for sourcing flowers from home!

  4. Shawn Curt says:

    Great to see our leaders show national pride in their choice to use US-grown plants and flowers. Such a simple thing that means so much…like flowers themselves!

  5. Rita Anders says:

    Our government spends a lot of money having events and it should be American policy to support all American companies not just here and there and then make a big deal about it when they do. It should be the norm and should be scolded for not always supporting American Grown, American Flower Power. Keep our farmers in business by always supporting LOCALY GROWN.

  6. Margie Dagnal says:

    Great job on this use of all American grown at the Whitehouse State Dinner! Sad that this even has to come up. State dinners should only feature American made and grown. Amazing food choices and just as amazing flowers are grown by it’s citizens.
    Highlight what we all do within this great country.

  7. Yolanda Van Wingerden says:

    What better way to showcase and recognize the variety and diversity of our cut flower industry? I applaud the White House for this recognition and encourage further support in leading the nation to continually identify and choose to purchase American grown flowers & plants.

  8. Shari says:

    Great article! Just an example of the many MADE IN THE USA products there are! Support your local flower and produce growers!

  9. Ko Klaver says:

    Very Nice, I like this. Thank you so much for brining this to the forefront that we have American flower farmers producing floriculture products as well for year round use.

    Glad to hear that the State Dinner in middle of february was completely set up with domestic grown floral products, that shows commitment and motivation for all. Lets do this for every State Dinner from this point on.

  10. Tanis Clifton says:

    I was so pleased to learn that the local American grown trend has filtered into the floral arrangements at the recent State Dinner. It makes so much more sense to support local farmers thus benefiting our US economy instead of supporting foreign, imported flowers. Its a no brainer. Keep up this trend please!

  11. Carmela Kling says:

    As a small flower grower in Western New York, I applaud the Obama administrations efforts to highlight American grown agriculture- including flowers grown across this great country. I am just one of thousands of farm owners and florists who would like to reclaim the industry, promote locally grown food and flowers, and insure healthy food and naturally grown flowers without toxic input to our crop, and our families. This really is an event to celebrate! Let’s keep the momentum going! Let’s recreate national pride on a local, regional, state, and federal level, support our local products, and help flower farmers to grow our nation!

  12. Linda VanApeldoorn says:

    As a New York state flower grower, I thank you for featuring U.S. grown flowers at the recent State Dinner. I hope you continue this trend and make the move to it being a constant at all White House events. The U.S. is blessed to have some of the worlds finest agricultural products, flowers being one of them. I believe that all only U.S. agricultural products should be presented and showcased at our government celebrations.

  13. Wilja Happé says:

    cool! thanks for the PR :)

  14. Yoze van Wingerden says:

    What an honor to all US farmers to have the White House feature an all American state dinner on February 11th. We can also applaud Michelle Obama for her involvement in educating our youth about the advantage of consuming fresh produce.

  15. kumarasamy says:

    the news item is good, but the picture of cut flower is missing.

    kumarasamy
    india

  16. Steve Roberts says:

    Awesome – The best is Home Grown in the USA – I support the U.S. Floral Industry. The People’s House and all of our government agencies should always support & celebrate American Grown in all of their functions & daily activities.

  17. Carla Wilson says:

    It seems logical that for State dinners we show off the best of what this country has to offer! Of course that includes flowers and plants besides the food and the wine. Let’s make this into a tradition!

  18. Sarah Pappas says:

    As an American flower grower at Fresh Cut Detroit and member of ASCFG, I’m so happy to see these flowers showcased at the White House. I agree with Kip: get more locally grown products into government offices and events.

  19. Liz Cardella ( Collie Flower farm) says:

    Great news for american grown flowers! Fresh, fragrant and sustainable. Thank you President and Mrs. Obama for highlighting a ” home grown” industry!

  20. Kristin says:

    Great to see that our President is showcasing US grown flowers at this special event. I think it is a bit odd to think the White House and others would even consider foreign flowers for a special event or state dinner. We need to continue this tradition (a no brainer!) and support our hardowrking US nurseries and greenhouse growers by purchasing their products.

  21. Penmerry says:

    WONDERFUL… there is so much to offer in American grown. An excellent example for you to set! Let’s keep the ball rolling and support more local farmers right here in this country!!!! ~ The Rustic Bunch, LLC

  22. Sarah Pabody says:

    I am incredibly excited to learn of this support for our industry!!!!

  23. Michelle Shackelford says:

    This is wonderful! As a small cut flower grower in Michigan, it is great to see American grown flowers featured at the White House. This is a very important issue and we need to do everything we can to raise awareness about local flowers.

    Thank you,
    Michelle

  24. Polly Hutchison says:

    Congratulations! We here in Rhode Island are very happy to see American grown flowers in the White House. I, like many before me encourage the White House to use ONLY United States grown flowers for all dinners, and ideally every day. This sends the right message, particularly after the damage done to US flower farms after the drug war trade policies. Thanks!

  25. Christa Stosiek (Markristo Farm) says:

    Awesome! We Americans, who grow and love flowers, applaud your foresight and follow-through to use ‘home’-grown flowers at such a prestigious event. Your example inspires every house in the nation, and should this become a habit (and it should!) you can pat yourself on the back for helping to boost the economy from the very ground up!

  26. Jeanne Boes says:

    That is awesome! We would love to see the pictures! I believe everything used in the White House should be produced within our borders, if possible. I work for the San Francisco Flower Mart, we were founded over 100 years ago by American flower farmers. We have witnessed first-hand how imported flowers have effected our founding families, many are no longer growing flowers because they cannot compete with the imports. The White House show of support is important to all of us in the SF Bay Area, thank you!

  27. Audrey Blecha(Ted's Last Stand) says:

    As the owner of a small specialty cut flower farm, and a proud member of the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers, I am delighted to have this excellent PR proclaiming the amazing diversity of our American cut flower industry. Always buy fresh, local, and sustainable. And remember, if you see flowers in the morning, you will feel happier all day long!
    Thank you! Audrey

  28. Beverly S. Lacey says:

    As a Virginia farmer I am thrill that President and Mrs. Obama chose to use local flowers for this state dinner. There are lots of wonderful flower growers in the D.C. area who would be happy to provide flowers for other event. Please continue to support local farmers. Many thanks!!!

  29. Juan Carlos Aguilar says:

    Glad to know that we are finally paying attention to our USA grown flowers…next step should be to pay attention where most of the flowers that are consume in the country comes from. Let’s show more support for the USA growers.

  30. Rodi Groot says:

    This is great, the white house is using locally grown flowers….

    Thank you.

  31. Joseph Schmitt says:

    As an older, third generation cut flower grower, I experienced a once thriving industry, it’s rapid dissolution and near disappearance over time, and more lately, fresh promising growth from stubborn, long dormant roots of optimism all over the country as we rediscover the value of place and purpose. This was exciting news and a long time coming. A seed has been planted. The challenge now is to foster and nourish it into full bloom before those who remember how are gone.

  32. Local Color Flowers says:

    This is such wonderful news! As a floral design studio in Baltimore, MD that uses only 100% locally grown flowers, we are extremely happy to see others committing to using American Grown flowers, especially when it’s the White House! We are extremely hopeful that others will take the Capitol’s lead and decide to choose local flowers for all kinds of events. This is such a positive boost to all involved with American Flowers! Thank you to all who helped make this happen!

  33. Reed Johnson says:

    Excellent job using US grown flowers at this state dinner.
    The quality of the flowers will be better and you will be supporting US growers!

  34. Sugarfield Flowers says:

    Wonderful! Thank you for supporting our amazing growers!

  35. Evelyn Lee says:

    Thank you, Krysta Harden, for sharing this wonderful news, and thank you to President and Mrs. Obama, for buying “American” and supporting our nation’s cut flower growers through use of USA-grown blossoms at the White House State Dinner! As a small cut flower grower in Connecticut, I know the hard work and dedication it takes to bring a great floral product to the table. I also know how much locally-grown, farm-fresh flowers are LOVED by those who place them in their homes and places of work. When I bring my flowers to farmers’ markets, I am the one who LOVES seeing people’s faces light up when they see and smell interesting and fresh blooms. People are surprised by how many varieties we can grow and share with them, and by how long our flowers remain fresh. It’s time we let more people in on this secret. A wonderful example has been set!

  36. Leon Carrier says:

    As a flower farmer 30 miles from the White House I like this trend lets hope it trickles down to the smaller niche growers.

  37. Katie says:

    This is such thrilling news! As a small-scale flower farmer in the US, I am so happy to know our Administration is taking this important step in supporting and show-casing American Grown flowers. Please keep it up and keep supporting local farmers and producers!

  38. Irene Repper says:

    We as growers need more support in America for the Cut flower industry. American Grown Flowers should be on every Family’s table in the United States. This dinner showed support for all of us!! Thanks and keep Buying AMERICAN GROWN.

  39. Chris Hoke says:

    Thank you, President and Mrs. Obama for supporting American specialty cut flowers for the state dinner last week. Please continue to support American grown food and flowers for all your events. Set the example and others will follow. I am a small specialty cut flower grower in West Virginia. Again, THANK YOU!

  40. Jamie Rohda says:

    How wonderful!! As a flower farmer from the Heartland of the US (Nebraska),I’m so excited to see our government supporting American workers. Thank you!

  41. Susan Planck says:

    Another reason why we appreciate Barack and Michelle Obama — highlighting American raised food and flowers.

  42. Kim Stearns says:

    So nice to read that the White House is using American grown flowers!!!

  43. Elia Woods says:

    Wonderful! So many good reasons to buy US grown flowers. Keep it going!

  44. Ella King says:

    It’s great news for the American cut flower farmers to be highlighted this way. We are all working hard to provide the best locally grown flowers for our customers. Thank you USDA Deputy Scretary Krysta Harden for recognizing us in your blog! Kings Country Gardens

  45. Laurie Hodges says:

    Thank you President & Ms Obama for featuring food and flowers raised in the USA. US production – meaning growers and distributors – have been decimated by policy decisions on agricultural trade. This is such a boost to be recognized and valued by the White House! Yes, all government functions should first look to local sources and US sourced food and flowers, especially at high visibility events. Even in winter, there is a huge selection of domestic flowers and cut stems available! Often right next door! Fresher, fewer or no pesticides, smaller carbon footprint, fragrant, and beautiful.

  46. Kasey Cronquist says:

    As the CEO/Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission, I can certainly say that featuring American Grown Flowers during the state dinner at the White House means a lot to our flower farming families here in California.

    Thank you Deputy Secretary Harden for championing the cause for America’s flower farmers. With over 90+ comments on this one blog post, you’ve certainly inspired and encouraged many of our domestic flower farmers with this exciting news.

    As American consumers continue to pivot their attention towards locally grown food, having this administration helping to wave the flag for American Grown Flowers is truly a public service. Encouraging Americans to consider where their flowers come from is not only good for the environment, it is good for our local economies in rural America.

    Thank you Deputy Secretary Harden for this post and for raising the awareness for American Grown Flowers. Awareness like this will go a long way in helping Americans ensure that the flowers at the center of their table are as fresh and sustainable as the food on their plate.

    @kaseycronquist

    #AmericanGrown #OriginMatters

  47. Barbara Lamborne says:

    This is great news and hopefully a sign of things to come! There are several successful cut flower farms within 50 miles of the White House. And in fact, many, if not most Federal buildings across the country have flower farmers within 50 miles. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) website links America to local cut flower growers.

  48. Cynthia Alexander says:

    Thank you to USDA for calling attention to local flowers. We’ve all become aware of “Slow food” locally sourced, as the common sense alternative for the health and welfare of our communities. “Slow Flowers” are next. Just makes sense if you think about it. “Grown in the USA”.

  49. Beth Syphers says:

    I am a small flower farmer in Oregon and into my second year of farming so this is encouraging to hear! It exciting to think what the future for us will be.

  50. Susan Harrington says:

    Thank you USDA! As a lavender grower in Washington (the State), this news is encouraging. We’re developing a network of growers throughout the US through our online course on growing lavender. We’re also raving fans of Debra Prinzing and her efforts through books such as the 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Thanks also to Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG)

    Susan Harrington
    Labyrinth Hill Lavender

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