Smile Politely

Farm to vase: family farms bring life to Fleurish’s designs

There are certain things that many of us take for granted. Obviously, that’s an extremely broad statement, and in this case lets use a flowers as an example. When there’s the necessity to buy flowers most people know where to go — the local florist, the grocery store, whatever. Somewhere, is a place that you know that has flowers.

Seldom do we know exactly where they came from or how they got to be in that neat little bouquet you’re giving your prom date or the in the vase you got mom for Mother’s Day (by the way, that’s next Sunday). It’s an afterthought, really. To be fair, we probably assume that the flowers we purchase are from some gigantic factory farm like where we get our mass produced tomatoes from the big box stores.

And, that’s no doubt true for some places. But others, like Fleurish in Downtown Champaign, have relationships with flower growers much like that of a chef meeting with a farmer for a farm to table restaurant. Sarah Compratt owns and operates Fleurish and as an ex-California resident has been lucky enough to foster relationships with West Coast flower growers.

“It was a unique experience, living out there,” she said. “Most of my favorite farms are places that I’ve visited and I think knowing where the flowers come from leads to the quality.”

Compratt’s experience as a floral artist makes finding the right flowers crucial.

“You can notice the South American industrial farmed flowers. Not that they’re not beautiful flowers, but you can tell the difference between one that was grown with a little more care. Maybe it sounds creepy new-agey but I think the customers can feel the vibe off of the flowers.”

Fleurish isn’t only working with California farms, though. Compratt has a relationship developed with a very small family-run farm in Japan known for their chrysanthemums. Her relationships with these farms extend throughout the world, much like a Chef bringing in the best ingredients on the planet to put together the highest quality meals, Compratt and the folks at Fleurish are doing the same thing with floral art.

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