We get a lot of interest around our flower sourcing here at the shop. So, in the spirit of transparency, we crunched the numbers to break it down for you. In the last year, we grew .05% of our own flowers—we’ve already planted some sweet little bulbs to increase that—and 4.5% of our total flowers were sourced from local farmers.
Let’s go into this a bit: we would love to see this number be higher. Our growing season is only about five months of the year, and there aren’t a lot of flower farmers in Colorado; we used to support one that, sadly, is no longer in business—and there are delays in sourcing from new vendors. With the flowers we grow, it’s been really hard to meet the demand of what we sell. Bottom line, there’s a lot of work to be done to sell flowers more consistent with what can be grown here in Colorado.
We’ve had a new spark of inspiration to spend more energy working on this as we’ve seen global shipping delays and supply chain issues increase. It’s been hard for farmers, who are often planting double what they sell to account for water issues, disease, and weather. It’s made us want to pursue more locally-grown and responsibly-sourced flowers. We buy a lot of flowers, and a lot from wholesalers—they’re sourcing from so many places, it’s hard to keep track of what’s used in the process and what those individual growing practices look like. It’s especially difficult to know what fair trade and eco-certified labels mean, and to have a grasp on the level of transparency those labels actually offer.
What an investment in local sourcing could look like in practice at Beet & Yarrow: fewer set designs, and more flexibility based on availability! Variety from week to week! Fewer roses and traditional florist blooms that people have grown accustomed to seeing!
We receive our products with more plastic than we'd like, and we’re trying to recycle as much as we can and reduce the plastic waste on our outgoing products. A few ways we do this: using dried floral stems for holding the arrangements notes and address labels; wet wraps and "plastic" bags for the stems of our wrapped bouquets that are 100% compostable; and paper wraps and paper delivery boxes that are recyclable. Just this week, we were able to source 80% recycled material labels for our label printer—and, Denver has initiated a new 10 cent charge for bags and boxes for any products, even recycled materials. It’s heartening as an effort to reduce packaging waste, and we hope more places will be able to follow suit!
One of the struggles we face is compost contamination—think rubber bands and plastic pieces, for example—which is always a concern. Even with composting, we can’t be sure of what pesticides are used on our wholesale flowers—and this is especially true of flowers that come from international locations.
If sourcing practices are something you’re passionate about, asking about what’s local in the growing season will always make an impression on staff and what we source. We have a local bouquet option for the summer in the works—comprised entirely of local blooms, and depending on what’s available, fresh, and gorgeous.
We’re a work in progress, and we want you to be in on the daily, granular efforts that amount to changes in how we operate and serve the community. Let’s continue the conversation!