Made In The U.S.A.

Fresh local flowers. If you’re from 2551 miles south of here.

In Adventures on February 11, 2009 at 8:47 pm

My good friend Dan forwarded an email to me today. The subject was, “Buy Quality. Buy Local.” It was from the St. Louis Florists Network, and it suggested that with Valentine’s Day fast approaching I should “Go MidAmerica fresh this Valentine’s Day for the freshest, longest-lasting flowers.” I immediately knew I would be blogging about this wonderful proposition–buying local flowers for Valentine’s Day!

Then I read the e-mail.

That continual quest [for fresher flowers] just got easier with a local airport becoming a port of entry for flowers being flown directly into the United States from flower farms in South America.

Then I thought about it. This is St. Louis. It’s February. There are no flower farms in the neighborhood. What was I thinking?

Turns out the St. Louis Florists Network makes a good point. Flowers are grown and cut in South America. Mere hours later they land in rural Southern Illinois. For local buyers, that time savings can translate into longer lasting flowers once they’re in the vase. Pretty cool. But definitely not local.

Who are they kidding? Buying South American flowers delivered quickly to the local area is “buying local” about as much as ordering Pizza Hut delivery is “cooking with local ingredients.”

It’s a marketing scheme (scam is probably too strong) meant to feel more local. And while the benefits might be tremendous, there’s nothing “local” about it. The STLFN web site doesn’t try to hide the “MidAmerica Fresh” absurdity either:

With direct flights from Bogotá, Colombia to Belleville, IL, flowers arrive within two days of being cut at the farm in Colombia.

Bogotá, Colombia? That’s a different time zone. On a different continent. I don’t speak Colombian.

It’s not local. Nor Mid-American. Though it probably is fresh(er).

So buy local… Direct from several thousand miles away in a country you really don’t know anything about except from watching Miami Vice and the Johnny Depp movie Blow.

If you really do want to buy locally grown flowers check out this site. Depending on where you live you have local options. And if not, you can read up about buying Certified Organic and Fair Trade flowers. You can also buy flowers that are still attached to their plants. GivingPlants specializes in exactly that. And it would appear that they approve of actually locally grown flowers. If you live in California, that is.


bogota, colombia

  1. I thought about this more and thought it does bring a positive – more business to the Mid-America airport…so not all bad…

  2. Not bad at all. Good in fact! Just not actually “local”.

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