How to Buy Flowers in Winter

It's not spring yet, and you're craving some floral beauty in your life - I hear you! But what's a conscious consumer to do when flowers aren't in season? 

Vermont flower farm local flowers

It can be approached a bit like you do your grocery shopping. Suppose you buy local whenever possible, but can't live without coffee and avocado toast (me either). By looking for the Fair Trade label on your coffee and a Certified Organic sticker on your avocados, you feel confident you're doing your part to consider the environment and labor practices in the checkout lane. 

With flowers, it's a little more tricky. There are very few labeling requirements for flowers sold in the United States. In fact, you might be hard-pressed to even discern where in the world that grocery store bouquet was grown. 

Still, any labeling or signage is the best place to start.

Vermont flower farm local flowers

1. Read the labels (if there are any)

  • Certified American Grown is the best choice, considering a whopping 80% of flowers consumed in the U.S. were grown overseas. 
  • Veriflora labels promise that growers strive for fair working conditions, eco-friendly practices, and a reduction in chemicals used.
  • Florverde labeling means blooms were produced in consideration of water conservation, pollution reduction, and reduced pesticide use.
  • Familiar Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance labels convey the same standards to flowers as they do to qualifying foods; namely fair wages for workers and environmental responsibility, respectively.

If you don't notice these labels where you're shopping for flowers, make sure you let the store know. Supermarkets, natural food stores, and boutiques all make their buying decisions based on what customers want. 

Vermont flower farm local flowers

2. Consider the season - and redefine "flowers"

You might think there's not much for locally grown botanicals in winter, but if you're a bit creative with your definition, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Evergreen and dried-flower bouquets and wreaths are often available in November and December. And as early as February, you can find pussy willows and other branches that have been forced into bloom.

Vermont flower farm local flowers

After all, your main goal is to bring a bit of nature indoors and evoke joy (and, make you forget about the ever-growing snow piles).

3. Delay gratification just a bit longer

Vermont flower farm local flowers

Look forward to spring's arrival by perusing seed catalogs in front of the fire, or sign up for a Spring Flowers Subscription. Once you know you have blooms to look forward to, it will help pass the last gray days of winter.