Couples with a passion for sustainability now have more options than ever for an earth-friendly celebration. Utah’s latest industry push, Utah Premiere Flower Collective allows wedding florists to source blooms locally, cutting down on shipping emissions and making good use of the state’s rich environment.
The Utah Premiere Flower Collective, which had its first full season in 2022, is the cooperative effort of 10-15 flower farms from around the state who have come together to create a sustainable specialty floral market right within Utah’s wedding industry.
“Before this year, local flower farms all operated independently selling direct to florists or doing bouquet subscriptions,” says Stephen Workman, one of the collective’s founding members. “In order for florists to get an amount that would make any impact for event needs, they would need to get flowers from five to ten farms. We knew that there needed to be a better option.”
Workman had discussed a dream of a floral collective with Jessie Westover, and in 2020 they signed up for a webinar to learn how to make it happen.
The pair determined that a locally-grown wholesale model was the best option for Utah’s designers.
“We wanted to replicate what florists were already used to shopping out of,” Workman says. “And now we have a locally-grown option that florists can shop from alongside the national wholesale chains.”
The Utah Premiere Flower Collective now has its own marketplace on 3300 South in Salt Lake, which will open once again in April 2023 for Tuesday and Friday morning shopping. This year, the growers will also sell in Farmington on Wednesday mornings.
With one season under their belt, Workman and other growers look forward to perfecting their model in the 2023 season.
“We’ve now learned which growers produce the best of each crop, we know what sells best, and we know when we can expect different blooms to be ready.”
At the collective’s launch, the main goal was educating florists and more on the workings of the local wholesale model. While the first season allowed the collective to support around one-third of an event florist’s needs, by the end of this year Workman hopes to be able to contribute closer to 60% to those needs, as well as to change the conversation around local flower growing.
“Up until now, local growers have mostly been hobby farms,” he says. “With this model, they don’t have to stop their hobby after a few years. We want to showcase flower farming as a real career that can generate real income to support the passion of growing.”
Four Reasons to Go Local with Your Wedding Florals
Without shipping costs and emissions, blooms that come from just down the road are far more sustainable for the environment at large. Be still our Earth-Loving hearts!
“You’re creating a whole commerce and line of job opportunities that didn’t exist before,” says Workman. “Even without our final sale numbers, the industry impact is apparent. There were a lot of dollars spent locally that would normally have gone to big-box wholesalers.”
High-volume floral production companies have the capacity to produce mass amounts of blooms, but between transport and cost-cutting measures by international wholesalers, quality and variety are sometimes lacking in an order shipped from mass farms.
“Smaller growers have more capacity for seeds from specialty seed developers, which allow us to produce a lot of unique niche blooms that you don’t see as frequently.”
4. The Story
Locally grown flowers make the big day so much more special for the client. There is a lot more connection from bulb to bride, and knowing exactly who grew your blooms makes for a perfectly personalized wedding day.