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The latest issue of New York magazine has a lovely, engaging profile of Erin Benzakein, the 37-year-old behind Floret Flowers, a two-acre flower farm in Washington state’s Skagit Valley. Benzakein has, as writer Cathy Horyn points out, amassed something of a dazzlingly devoted roster of fans since starting her business in 2013, with over 438,000 followers on Instagram as of writing.
Before Floret Flowers, Benzakein dabbled in various careers (candle-making, farming baby vegetables, tending to “a rainbow-egg business with a hundred chickens”) before she became enchanted by another career pursuit entirely: flower farming. She’s naturally reserved and introverted, a register comes through in Horyn's snapshot of her. Horyn likens her, for a beat, to Martha Stewart, but for flower farming—a woman with charisma, business acumen, and exacting taste.
Reading Horyn’s profile made my Monday morning mildly less distressing. It’s also not terribly long, so functions as an ideal interstitial between meetings. Horyn herself was a recent convert to Benzakein’s magic—she first followed the Floret Flowers Instagram last summer—and, well, I’m afraid I’m even more recent. I didn’t know much about Benzakein before reading Horyn's profile, though I'd heard her name in passing.
But it's true: Benzakein’s Instagram is lovely, and not just from a cosmetic perspective. I love reading her captions, where her affection for her line of work comes through. If you aren’t following her yet, take this opportunity to do so.
Here in the states farmers, florists, floral buyers and flower lovers are all celebrating American Flowers Week. When I was first starting out, no one was talking about, or seemed interested in knowing about where their flowers came from. Or more importantly, who grew them. There was a huge disconnect between flower buyers and flower farmers. But over the past decade, and really in just the last few years, interest in local, seasonal flowers has skyrocketed here in the states. Flower farmers are finally stepping out from behind their blooms and showing their beautiful faces, and telling their unique stories. Floral designers are now connecting with growers in their area, and often starting a cutting garden (or farm!) of their own to supplement what they can't yet source. And even the big wholesalers are now offering more and more locally grown product. It is both inspiring and heartwarming to witness this incredible transformation. The future is bright for the floral industry and I am so excited to see what we are able to create going forward. Happy #americanflowersweek 🎉 #farmerflorist #flowerfarmer #floretseeds
I have a vision board with all of the amazing, impossible, unbelievable things I want to experience in life and business taped up in my office. For years The NY Times has been up there, just staring back at me. Well, this week that dream came true when @deborahneedleman wrote one hell of an article about the local flower movement for @tmagazine in the @nytimes. I can't tell you what an honor it was to be included in the article, have the #floretbook mentioned, and also be named a "favorite florist to follow on Instagram" alongside all of my floral heroes by @tmagazine. The local, seasonal flower movement is here to stay. And I have a strong feeling that this party is only getting started! You can read it by clicking the link in my profile. #farmerflorist #growfloret #floretbook
Looking through photos on my phone this morning, marveling at how much beauty we made at the #floretworkshop last weekend. @joshuawerber was here from NY, sharing his amazing talents with us all. Josh has such a gift for channeling a persons essence, matching it with certain flowers and then creating them a wearable piece of art. When @botany.be walked around the corner wearing this Bearded Iris crown, we all gasp! Not only was it stunning, but it was so clear that if she were a flower, this would be her. I sure hope he does a book someday. #floralteteatete #teamfloret #growfloret
Going through the photos @copterchris captured this morning in the fields at @schreinersiris 💫 and having a hard time choosing my favorites. He got soooooo many beauties. We'll be heading back again this evening for "magic light hour", the short window right before sunset to capture even more. Pictured here Iris 'Secret Partner'.
Calendula are one of the fastest to bloom, easiest to grow cut flowers out there. But for years they have only been available in bright orange or yellow. I'm so excited to be trialing nine new varieties this season with beautiful muted coloring in shades of peach, apricot, toffee, ivory and buttercream. Can't wait to share what I discover! #floretseeds
All of the smoky berry tones from the dahlia patch. Can't wait to blog about these guys once things slow down a bit. Mix includes: 'Bacardi', 'Labyrinth', 'Mustique', 'Koko Puff', 'Waltzing Matilda', 'Sonic Bloom', 'Jowey Winnie', Bracken Rose', 'American Dawn', 'Penhill Dark Monarch' and 'Belle of Barmier'. #growfloret #dsfloral #seasonalfloweralliance #floretbulbs
Moving on to buttercream. It's so fun to see all of the work I put into finding the most uniquely colored dahlias last winter, finally coming to life. I've been on a quest this year to track down the perfect varieties for floral designers and farmer-florists to use in their wedding design work. I can't wait to share all of my findings! #growfloret #floretbulbs #seasonalfloweralliance #dsfloral #farmerflorist
SHOP UPDATE: Today was going to be the big day that we launched our new product line for the holidays. But as technology always seems to go (at least for us) things have been delayed. Our new new website and online shop, which is filled with all of our new offerings including: Prints, 2017 Wall Calendars, 2017 Garden Planner & Daily Journals, Toolbelts, Seed Collections and so much more, still isn't ready to go live. I know many of you have been eagerly waiting for the big reveal and I'm just as disappointed. But rather than seeing the delay as a set back, we're looking at it instead as a little calm before the storm. And the team and I are preparing for the busy days ahead. Please bear with us and I will let you know as soon as we have a firm (new) launch date. I promise that the wait will be worth it! 📸: @wildflowersjoy
Remember this little photo? I had no idea when I snapped it that it would end up being shared by thousands of flower lovers around the world including @britneyspears, @reesewitherspoon, @king5evening and @buzzfeed. After countless requests for prints, I'm thrilled to share that we finally have them available in our online shop (see link in profile). P.S. If you reshare this photo, please credit @floretflower in the caption. Giveaway winner: @scuffedbootsfarm
The last little scrappy bits of autumn from the garden: roses, chrysanthemums, grape and beech leaves, strawflower, clematis seed pods, celosia, rosehips, crabapples, hydrangea, broomcorn and lisianthus. All are a bit weather beaten, but perfectly suitable for a bouquet in the house. Hard to believe that evergreen boughs and red berries are just around the corner. Trying my best to fully embrace autumn before it's gone for another year. #farmerflorist #growfloret
Before I close down the computer and starting baking pies with my kiddos, I wanted to give you a quick heads. We will be having our biggest sale of the year, this coming "Cyber Monday". Newsletter subscribers will be getting a big fat coupon code to use in the shop, plus free domestic shipping. So if you've been eyeing any of our new goodies, then you'll want to get on the list (follow the link in my profile) because Monday's the big day to snatch them up! #growfloret
I wanted to take this chance to introduce myself to all of you who are new here. I'm Erin Benzakein ( pronounced Ben-zuh-cane. Yes, like the drug) and I run a small 2 acre flower farm and seed company with the help of my family and the amazing ladies of #teamfloret. In addition to growing flowers, we also host on farm workshops each season. My first book, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden ( published by @chroniclebooks ) will be out this coming February. It's full of everything I've learned along this flower filled journey, including a decades worth of hard won lessons from the garden. I didn't start out with a green thumb, so if I can learn to grow flowers, then anybody can! I'm so excited to share it with you in just four short months. There's so much more to say, but for now I just wanted to take a minute and say hi 👋🏼 and tell you I'm so glad you're here. #growfloret #farmerflorist
Follow Floret Flowers here.