The farm-to-table movement, in which restaurants source most of their ingredients from local and organic farms, has firmly established itself in every major American city and cute tourist destination at this point. But having ordered from menus that tell you the name of the farm where your pork was raised and your strawberries picked, have you ever wondered where your flowers were grown?
The truth is, most flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in South America with the heavy use of pesticides. Yes, that’s how you get roses in February. (Well, you could get them from California. But as of right now, most are from South America.)
Sure, you’re not eating roses, but you are deeply inhaling their scent – if it hasn’t been completely bred out of them. You’re also nestling them in your arms and putting them on your dining room table. Keeping a toxin-free home includes getting organic flowers, then. Beyond that, if you care about the environment, you should naturally want your roses shipped a minimum distance and grown organically, without exploiting workers in the process.
Enter the term field-to-vase, which was the name used for a touring dinner which melds organic, local food and organic, local flowers in beautiful locations, yielding a magical night spent with similarly minded people. Put on by the California Cut Flowers Commission and co-hosted by Debra Prinzing of the sustainable floral directory Slow Flowers, the Brooklyn edition was hosted on top of the Brooklyn Grange, the famous urban farm on a roof in the Navy Yard.
The Grange was the perfect setting for this dinner. Not only does it have a view of the city, the long dining table was set int he middle of hyper-local food and nodding sunflowers growing in the small “fields.” Also, the Grange’s flower CSA includes a loosely-arranged, seasonal bouquet of 20-30 stems each week, wrapped in paper. The flowers are organically grown and freshly cut the day of pickup, ensuring days and days of freshness for the lucky recipients.
One of my favorite florists, Brooklyn-based farmer-florist Molly Oliver Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, was the guest designer for the night, bringing together seasonally-inspired bouquets for the table.
Guests enjoyed a gourmet, four-course, farm-to-fork meal, sipped Long Island wine, and took home a floral arrangement as a symbolic memento of the evening’s theme: Celebrating American Grown Flowers. Tom Kearney, Executive Chef and Partner of The Farm on Adderley, designed the vegetable-heavy menu.
There are more upcoming dinners in Seattle, Portland, Fallbrook and Detroit, so save your seat if you’re in one of these cities!