When putting together a grocery store bouquet, it can be tough to tell which blooms will last all week and which are destined to droop the second you bring them home. To give our next arrangement the best chance possible, we turned to Kate Kennedy, the global floral buyer at Whole Foods, for her expert tips on choosing flowers. Her number one piece of advice? Always try to buy in-season and locally sourced blooms. “The benefits of locally grown flowers include supporting our community and neighbors, and reducing the carbon footprint by shortening transportation time and costs,” she explains. Because these flowers haven’t traveled far, they’ll likely be fresher than those that just took a long truck ride or hopped off a plane. Kennedy also says that in-season flowers tend to offer a wider range of colors, making for a more vibrant arrangement.
How can you tell whether the flowers you have your eye on are in-season and locally grown? Kennedy recommends looking for signs at Whole Foods stores and talking to a team member. “In-store signage will indicate local growers. Some local suppliers also add a special sleeve or tag to the blooms to note locally grown flowers,” she says. Team members will also be able to tell you what will last, where flowers were grown, and how to care for stems at home. When locally grown flowers aren’t an option, the next best bet is to choose Fair Trade-certified flowers. “Fair Trade certification is the highest international standard for labor in agriculture and was created to directly address critical issues including providing safer, cleaner working conditions and better wages for workers,” says Kennedy. And no matter what type of flower you’re buying, let your senses be your guide. “The freshest, best quality flowers should feel firm, smell fresh, look vibrant, and sound soft, not crispy.”
If you’re planning to buy a bouquet this month (July), consider this your cheat sheet to in-season, locally grown blooms in each region. Domestically-sourced gladiolas and tulips will also be available in Whole Foods stores nationwide throughout the month.
Sunflowers, Mixed Summer Bouquets
Lilies, Sunflowers, Mixed Summer Bouquets
Sunflowers, Gladiolas, Mini Calla Lilies, Tulips, Mixed Summer Bouquets
Sunflowers, Oriental and Asiatic Lilies, Mixed Summer Bouquets
Sunflowers, Oriental and Asiatic Lilies, Gladiolas, Tulips, Mixed Summer Bouquets