Your Go-to Guide For Farmer’s Market FlowersAugust 1, 2018
Flowers. Simple as they are, they’re typically only regularly enjoyed by those with backyard gardens or those who were born with green thumbs. Aside from the occasional splurge at the grocery store (we know, you bought that bouquet of hydrangeas because you had an extra tough week, and dammit, you deserved it!), we tend to think that the act of buying flowers is reserved for only special occasions.
But we’re here to say that flowers are for every single day, the little victories and the large. And if you’re the type of gal that still needs an excuse, let us provide you with some: You worked out today? Flowers. You bought a bottle of wine not solely based on the pretty label. Flowers. The cashier at Starbucks actually spelled your name correctly. Flowers.
And if you’re going to spend the time picking out flowers, why not make it an experience that you actually enjoy? But before you head out and make your Saturday morning coffee run a 2-for-1 deal, and tack on a trip to the Farmers Market, check out the steps below, we promise you your dining room table will thank you.
The Perfect Match
Just like in life and love, when picking out flowers, never settle. If one farm has picture-perfect peonies and another has garden roses that knock your socks off, we’d say you hit the jackpot. Do your rounds and don’t feel like you have to buy from just one location. But when it comes to buying flowers it's not just about mixing and matching vendors, it also comes down to the perfect floral combo. We tapped our Founder and CEO, Alice, for the farmer’s market formula she swears by:
- Select the star of the show: We’re talking about that amazing, big bloom that could shine all on its own. In the spring daffodils typically steal the show, followed by tulips and peonies; in the summer you’ll find us filling our baskets with (all of the) hydrangeas and ranunculus; and in the fall we’ve got our eyes on the prize, dahlias (duh!) and sunflowers.
- Select one other complimentary flower: You know us, we can’t stop at just one kind of flower, so we always select another complimentary flower to accompany our show-stopper. This is where the list could get long, but the varieties you’ll find most commonly are stock, snapdragons, zinnias, marigolds, foxglove, delphinium, and chrysanthemums,
- Select one filler: Filler is the number one underrated bouquet booster. It lasts a long time, it's inexpensive, and it makes your arrangements look lusher and full without having to load them up with flowers. The selection will widely depend on your locale, but we often opt for eucalyptus, grasses, queen annes lace, raspberry foliage and even evergreen at the holidays, if you’re lucky enough to have a year-round market.
Before You Buy
As tempting as hitting the snooze button is on a Saturday morning, picking out flowers as early as possible will give you access to the cream of the crop and will ensure your flowers have not been sitting out in the hot sun for too long. But if you aren’t able to jump out of bed at the sight of the sunrise, you can at least pretend to be a floral pro and test the quality before handing over the cash.
We’re taught to judge the freshness of the flower by the look of the bloom, but in actuality, you want to look at the stem more than the flower. If the stem is at all brown or mushy, skip it. You’ll risk a short-lived flower and infecting your other flowers with bacteria. And if you’re questioning your flower-judgment quality, ask the farmer when the flowers were picked.
Seal The Deal
You’ve chosen the perfect flowers, you rush home to get them in water, stick them in a vase and voila... a very lackluster arrangement that could be diagnosed with a case of flower flops...trust us, we’ve all been there. Say hello to your new best friend, the tape grid. Using scotch or floral tape (either will work well, but floral tape is more water resistant), make a "tic tac toe" pattern on top of your vase. The grid will keep flowers upright as you start to build your arrangement, and best of all, will give you the flexibility to play around with different placements as you build out your centerpiece.
Once your flowers are happy in their new home, it's time to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Don't forget to check your water frequently, especially in the beginning! Fresh flowers drink more than older flowers, so you'll want to make sure you're keeping the water supply up in the early days, so those blooms last well into the next weekend and trip to the market.