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The Portrait

Erin Benzakein

Erin Benzakein - The Portrait - Hero - PANAMY - Florist Geneva Switzerland

With a contagious passion for the natural world, Erin grows flowers on a two-acre organic farm. Meet the Flower obsessed owner of Floret Flower Farm from Skagit Valley, north of Seattle.

Writer Debra Prinzing interviewed Erin for Sunset, and shares a bit of their conversation below. Click here for the full story.

Erin Benzakein - The Portrait - Harvesting - PANAMY - Florist Geneva Switzerland

Why are sustainable flowers important?

Eighty percent of the cut flowers we buy in the U.S. are imported from countries that do not have worker safety or pesticide regulations. I don’t think we should sacrifice the health of our earth, or that of the farmers, their children and animals, just to have a bunch of pretty blooms on our kitchen tables. If you buy your flowers locally – at a farmer’s market, from a roadside stand, or a grocery store that sources bouquets from local growers – they’re probably sustainably grown. You’ll help eliminate the use of jet fuel that flies flowers to America, keep money in your local economy and enjoy healthier and fresher blooms.

What’s the easiest way to bring flowers into your life?

Go into the garden you have—right now! Give yourselves permission to cut an awesome bloom or a few sprigs of this or that. You can grab greens from your hedge and pick up local tulips from the farmer’s market. It’s kind of addicting. Yes, I love flowers, but when I give them away, I see how powerful and moving they can be for others.

Erin Benzakein - The Portrait - florist - PANAMY - Florist Geneva Switzerland

Yes, I love flowers, but when I give them away, I see how powerful and moving they can be for others.

What inspired you to farm sustainably?

The most important reason is my children’s health and safety. Our home is in the center of our little farm and my children basically live outdoors during the growing season. Their days are spent among the flowers as they build forts in the raspberry patch, make elaborate doll picnics out of bits from the garden and race up and down the paths while we’re harvesting. I am aware that anything I might use on the flowers, such as herbicides or pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, will be directly in contact with Jasper and Elora. This reality has prompted me to only use organic practices to grow my crops.

What are some of your favorite flower crops for bouquets and other arrangements?

My main crops include sweet peas, ranunculus, peonies, ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas, old garden roses, Oriental lilies, sunflowers, and dahlias. But I harvest from spring to late fall, so there are some months when I cut branches, vines, berries, thistles, grasses and pods for my arrangements.

Erin Benzakein - The Portrait - with bouquet - PANAMY - Florist Geneva Switzerland
Erin Benzakein - The Portrait - Flower Field - PANAMY - Florist Geneva Switzerland

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