Locally sourced flowers are high quality. They are fresher and have a longer vase live than most conventionally sourced (imported) flowers. That doesn’t mean I don’t have quality issues with my orders. Sometimes flowers arrive in my shop in less than perfect condition. The most common problems I encounter are wilted stems, bugs, bug damage, short stems and harvest timing problems.

I have to let the farmer know when there’s a problem. Conventional florists might just throw the bad flowers out and chalk it up to shrinkage. That’s how dealing with a wholesaler works. There is an acceptable amount of bad product. Not with local flowers. Both the grower and I expect all of the stems in an order to be sellable. So, when there is a problem, it’s not an easy conversation. The growers have pride in there product and want to have a good relationship with me. I always feel bad when I have to make a complaint. But taking time to share feedback is a service. It’s a way for growers to quickly find a solution to a problem before it affects any of their other customers. My growers and I are partners. This partnership means being forthright so that improvements can be made. We’re in this together.

This week I had to alert a farmer that his feather kale wilted soon after it was delivered. I ordered a few bunches and the majority of them were too wilty too use. I sent a photo along with my email. Sending a photo is easy and lets the grower see the problem so he can diagnose the issue. In this case, the grower quickly apologized, issued a credit and let me know some of the things he was going to do to fix the problem including reviewing postharvest procedures. It happens. It’s business. It’s an opportunity to learn and improve and continue to grow together.

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