[APRIL] There is a tremendous pool of talented wedding professionals here in the Sonoma/Napa region and it brings me great pleasure to kick off my new monthly series, Vendor Spotlight, with one of my favorites; (Anita's) Wine Country Flowers!
My day started early, or late depending on how you look at it, at an eye opening 1:45am so we could be walking through the doors of the San Francisco Flower Mart at 3:30am, an important time so that Anita can select the best quality. I quietly watched her from afar not wanting to disturb her concentration and thought process, and what struck me the most about watching her is that nearly every floral vendor that she passed by called out a very friendly "Hola Anita!", a sign of a genuine individual!
As we made our way there and back in the van I took the time to ask her some questions, which I thought you'd enjoy. And of course, I dropped in some photos too; be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom so you can see the completed arrangements from Wednesday's shopping trip.
Why is the market held in the middle of the night?
The market is held at that time because of a few reasons. a) Many-most florists have actually store fronts, so it's vital that the florists have time to select their stock, return to their shop to prep the flowers and are ready to open their doors at regular business hours. b) Traffic is never an issue at that hour, unless you count the crowded parking lot. c) The temperatures are cool at that time, an important ingredient to keep the flowers and foliage perky while in transit.
Where do most of the flowers come from?
Most of the flowers arrive via overnight-air packed in large cardboard boxes and one of the most popular regions for growing is South America because of the year-round warm climate. With that said, there is a popular local rose grower from Petaluma that she frequents because of their daily picking schedule, which means her roses are guaranteed fresh! And when June rolls around, Peonies (one of her favs) are in their prime in Northern California so she encourages her June brides to take advantage of these regal and abundant flowers during this short window of opportunity.
How long have you been in the floral business and what prompted you to get started?
Anita took a horticulture while in college and she fell in love! 14+ years later her business has gone from a quiet brand being run from her garage with the help of her husband, to a strong booming business with a shop in Cotati, paid employees who help bring her visions to life, and a booked out calendar!
What trends are you noticing for 2010 weddings?
Purple is big this year, estimating about 70% of her couples request that color and many ask to have it paired with a bright contrast such as lime green. Sparkly crystals and shabby chic roses are being replaced with more natural, organic textures such as artichokes, herbs, succulents and vines.
What are some of your favorite flowers that you use?
a) Orchids are one of her favorites because they are so versatile, colorful and hearty. She can take an orchid and create a multitude of looks, turning the atmosphere from Asian to Modern to Wine Country chic all by using different vases and complementary flowers and because the orchid is so hearty it is slow to wilt during our hot summer months. b) A second favorite as I mentioned above are peonies and c) the colorful, slightly tinted Cala Lillies which range from deep purples to vibrant oranges.
Tell us something unique about you that we might not have known.
She's obsessed with her (almost daily ) Bikram Yoga classes. She's been married 14 years and she and her husband have their very own wine label, Isaza Cellars, with lots of credit going to her hobbyist winemaker husband who has been turning out some very nice vintages!
It was such an unique and fun experience and Anita says it best, "All of my friends have joined me once and they loved it, but nobody has ever asked to come back a second time because of the early schedule." Amen to that!