WFCF Storybit: Alaska Beauty Peony Co-op

Close your eyes and imagine these colors; alluring corals, pristine white, and luscious reds.  Both beautiful and calming to the mind. Can you think back to a time when you received an arrangement of flowers or walked past a colorful bouquet and how it made you feel?  It probably put a smile on your face or made you feel good inside.  To keep you in the spirit, we are brightening your week with incredible arrangements from the Alaska Beauty Peony Cooperative.

The Story
Five peony farmers founded the Alaska Beauty Peony Cooperative in December 2013 with a goal of creating sustainable cut flowers.  They knew setting themselves apart from others in the flower industry would be key.  With the help of shared marketing resources, infrastructure and education in the Homer area they “grew,” no pun intended, into a sustainable flower farm.

Their growers cooperative now includes eleven family owned farms. That’s five generations that actively participate in the co-op operations today.  Several of the farms are even located on homesteads established prior to Alaska’s statehood.  Needless to say, these farms have been around for a while.

These farmers are dedicated to bringing you premium peonies all through sustainable practices.  That means they follow specific farming practices including using chemical-free design techniques.  Being sustainable isn’t only for food practices, but flowers too!  Whether you’re planning for a wedding or need some flowers for that special someone to brighten their day, Alaska Beauty Peonies Co-op has you covered with sustainable options. To learn more about their varieties you can visit their website.

Certified American Grown Certification
All of the farms are American Grown Certified. That means they follow specific practices and policies to ensure everything is grown and processed in the United States. Where Food Comes From conducts the audits for all Certified American Grown flowers. By partnering with a third-party verified program, Alaska Beauty Peonies Co-op is able to provide the trust you need when purchasing flowers with specific claims.

Alaska Beauty Peony Co-op is also a member of the California Cut Flowers Association and Alaska Peony Growers Association. In addition to the mentioned certifications, the growers are considering Salmon Safe, Sustainably Grown and Organically Grown certifications.  They want their product to be identified with the high standards associated with these locally grown labels because they know that is important to those that purchase their flowers just as much as it is important to them. 

Why Certify
There is a growing consumer trend for brands to carry specific certifications as consumers start to seek them out when they purchase all types of products.  This means certain grocers are very interested in supplying their stores with brands that carry these certifications. Alaska Beauty Peony is considering additional sustainability certifications to acknowledge practices that they already implement today. Their plants benefit from cover crops, use of animal manures, and the gifts of the local marine environment where fish by-products and kelp, are used extensively to feed their flowers. They believe these certification programs help tell you the story of farmers and what they represent.

How to Order
Alaska’s cool summers and midnight sun aid their farmers in cultivating peonies of extraordinary size (6-8″ blooms!) with intense color saturation. They are able to supply farm fresh flowers starting in late June through early September (the longest harvest period for fresh cut peonies in North America) and they are the only source for fresh cut peony stems in late Summer. They harvest at the mature bud stage, so their flowers travel well through the cold chain. They ship flowers direct to doors across North America and can-do air cargo for large orders.  To check out their floral inventory or to place an order, check them out online, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram at @alaskabeautypeony.

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