Flowers for Valentine’s

Emily von Trapp Tulips

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, which means many of us are thinking about flowers. Whether it’s the traditional rose that calls to you or the allure of locally-grown flowers (in February!), the Co-op has got what you need.

For the last few years, Emily von Trapp and her parents, Tobi and Sally von Trapp of the von Trapp Greenhouse have supplied Hunger Mountain Co-op with 95% of the flowers we sell. “When you buy a bouquet of flowers grown and arranged by von Trapp Flowers, you are buying fresh, local, and beautiful blooms that are sustainably grown only 20 miles away from the Co-op,” Emily says. “We source the highest quality bulbs, seeds, and tubers and grow them using sustainable growing practices in Waitsfield, Vermont. We plant our flowers in compost amended with organic fertilizer, without dirty things like pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, making them safe to have in your home. The only thing we want in our soil is soil, organic nutrients, and beautifully growing flowers, of course. Our goal is to bring more beauty into the world to share with our neighbors, and in doing so, we are committed to only using clean ecological growing practices.”

Emily notes that, while their flowers are not certified organic, she follows many organic growing practices. “We are also committed to sustainable harvesting and packaging practices in honor of Mother Earth, this beautiful place we call home,” she adds. “The paper sleeves that protect our blooms are 100% recyclable.”

Von Trapp Flowers strives to offer their beautiful blooms year-round and employs some innovative growing techniques, especially during the winter. At this time of year, Emily is focused on growing of one of her favorite flowers, tulips.

“One of the sustainable and low impact growing practices we use involves something we created called a ‘Snow Bunker.’ Essentially, it’s an above ground cold storage box designed around a frame of pallets. Once the frame is complete, we fill it with hundreds of crates of planted up tulips. We then harvest lots of snow, the best cold storage natural resource, and pack it all around the frame, creating a thick layer of insulation that will keep the tulips insulated from low temperatures, and also keep the temperature low enough that the bulbs remain in animated suspension. These crates of tulips will hold in the cool storage of the snow bunker for months, allowing for significant season extension that will give us the very last tulip blooms of the season.”

If roses are what you seek for Valentine’s Day, we will have those as well. At the Co-op, our roses come from Ecuador, purchased through a company called Bloomingmore, based in Miami, Florida. The roses we buy come from Fair-Trade Certified farms, which use more environmentally sustainable methods and promote social justice and economic development in farming communities. For every order, the company pays a 10% Fair Trade Premium back into a workers’ fund. In addition to ensuring fair treatment of flower workers, Fair Trade certification also means some of the worst chemicals are banned from use. Most conventional flower growers use about seven times the chemical applications that are applied to conventional food crops. Fair Trade farms are encouraged to work towards organic practices, ensuring a safer environment for workers and cleaner flowers on your table.  

You can find our Fair Trade Certified roses at the Co-op throughout Valentine’s Day week (arriving Tuesday, Feb. 11) and Emily von Trapp’s gorgeous flowers year-round.