Monthly Archives: December 2010

Buying Local Grown-the True & the False of Your Wreaths & Poinsettias

 Two of the most popular purchases for the Holiday beside trees are wreaths and poinsettias.  Historically only available at florists and nurseries and today sold everywhere in the oddest places that really… have no business doing so.  All big box stores from hardware to grocery to convenient stores and gas stations offer them both in mass –at amazingly low prices.   Poinsettias sit packed on racks, in cold doorways and fruit departments, while the wreaths are hung out for sale in late October.   How resilient they are and for so little money-the modern age-a real deal.

Here in the US, approximately 15% of the evergreens are grown and cut on the West coast with the other 85% cut and grown in Canada.  Canadian single faced, wreaths are factory made from evergreens cut in October and stacked, crated and held for shipping to the US.   Ever notice how they are a bit flat and dry?  If we were left without water and crated for a month-well we would be too.  This is why they shed so many needles and have a very short life.

Nearly all the poinsettias you see here are grown in the Canadian Provinces. They are plastic packaged and sent on a bumpy, cold, journey from their protected greenhouses to the states and then displayed with little to no care in the stores.   Which is why, by Dec. 24 they all look pretty sorry-and on clearance with curled, and wilted leaves.  This is not only from lack of proper care-but from the trauma of their trip.  Ironically, when displayed near fruit-their life is cut even shorter from the ethylene gas the fruit emits.  As a tropical plant native to Mexico; poinsettias are very fragile and temperate creatures-more so than even your favorite houseplants.

So- we have products cut and made too early; products roughly shipped and cared for, products using a tremendous amount of energy and fuel to get here;  products of poor quality and longevity;  and money not only leaving our county-but our state-and our country.  In my mind; when we make these purchases it in effect means we accept sub quality and condone the failure of our local and US growers.

We have several local farms within 30 miles of us that I have purchased all of our made to order, double faced, wreaths and poinsettias from for 20 years.  There is no comparison in quality.  The large poinsettias are nothing short of wow, and the thick wreaths are huggable.   Every year I worry as they close another greenhouse or downsize their workforce.  I fear for them and refuse to purchase anywhere else; which earns me a grateful thank you.  Local/US grown evergreen wreaths will stay green fresh for up to 2 months with a weekly misting.    Healthy, local grown poinsettias will last until planting outdoors in the spring.   We have forgotten how things used to and still should be.   So my Grandmothers words; “you get what you pay for” is in fact…. the real deal.

Buying local is about more than supporting your local farms and growers; it’s keeping the money in our own country;  the huge amounts of energy and fuel used getting it here; and getting a long lasting, quality product for your money spent.    When you send a poinsettia gift wouldn’t you like the recipient to remember you into February?   I can’t imagine you would want it otherwise.

I have nothing against Canada; in fact I absolutely love it there.  They are part of North America, our neighbor, I love the landscape, I love the food, and I love Celine Dion and Bryan Adams.  I just wish Canada would keep their products for themselves.   America has become the land of import, and it is costing us a fortune in ways that go beyond money.

This year before you buy, please read the tag or just ask where your wreath, tree, and poinsettia were grown; especially if they display a gazillion of them because then it’s just fuzzy advertising if claiming local grown. Better yet, search out the small nurseries and farms that grow their products-it’s a great day out in the spirit of the Season, and buying local is the spirit of the Season.

Check out the 3/50 project and learn why you should pick 3 local businesses and spend $50.  Then visit Independent We Stand  and see what spending $10. a month at your local business instead of bigbox chain does. You’ll be amazed at what the numbers calculate to our town.

Do good…Feel good,

Lynn