Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Share Your Love with Whole Trade Flowers

RosesThis Valentine’s Day I suggest having more than one valentine. I know I will. Before your partner – or my husband – gets upset, hear me out. If sharing is indeed caring, then why not give Valentine’s gifts that use your buying power to improve the lives of others?

Care for Others

Roses are the tried and true favorite when Valentine’s Day rolls around – just look at our floral department! It's blooming with roses grown in the US and beyond, so why not put a new twist on this traditional favorite? This Valentine's Day choose Whole Trade® roses to show your loved one that you care about them and workers in the developing world. The Whole Trade® Guarantee seal means these flowers meet specific criteria including:

. The Whole Trade® Guarantee seal means these flowers meet specific criteria including:

  • Meets our product Quality Standards
  • Provides more money to producers
  • Ensures better wages and working conditions for workers
  • Cares for the environment
  • Donates 1% of sales to Whole Planet Foundation®

They also give back more to the communities they come from. Thanks to the Whole Trade® Guarantee, a “social premium” amount is paid for every case of flowers Whole Foods Market® purchases directly from Whole Trade growers in Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica. The social premium funds support community projects, many of which involve schools and education opportunities such as these in Colombia:

  • A school for the younger children with a schedule matched to that of their farm-worker parents
  • A special inclusive education program for hearing-impaired students at public schools
  • A unique project to enhance academic skills, achievements and competencies for adolescent girls in a local high school

See the positive impact for yourself in this short film by our friends at Dark Rye.

Spectrum of Sentiments

While the type of flower says a lot (Whole Trade = a whole lotta love), so does its color. There is a long-standing language of flowers said to have been finely tuned in the Victorian era when flowers were used to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. Today flower colors continue to be coupled with specific emotions and wishes.

RosesI suggest brushing up on the meaning of a rose so you can send the right message.

RED—true love, passion and respect
DARK RED—beauty, perfection and adoration

PINK—romance and admiration

DEEP PINK—appreciation, gratitude and sincerity

LIGHT PINK—sweetness and gentleness

ORANGE—desire, passion and excitement

WHITE—spiritual love, purity and new beginnings

YELLOW—warmth, joy and friendship

LAVENDER—love at first sight

Care for Your Roses

While I can’t answer questions on how to make love last, I can help you prolong the life of your roses. Here are my four go-to strategies for stretching the life of flowers:

  • Cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches from stems
  • Remove any leaves that will be under water line in vase
  • Fill a clean vase of fresh, room temperature water mixed with floral food
  • Recut stems and change the water every 2-3 days

  • Keep them away from sunlight and extreme temperatures

How do you take care of your roses to make them last longer?

Post Updated 2/6/13: This post was updated to reflect the fact that our stores do offer flowers grown in the US, as well as Whole Trade flowers grown in other countries. Whether you choose to support Whole Trade or your local flower farmers -- or both! -- our floral department team members can help you pick the best bunch for your Valentine's Day or every day.

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103 comments

Comments

Kelly Rivard says …

I try to support American growers when I can. The carbon footprint of these flowers is so much lower because they are grown closer to us. I know flower growers both in California and Illinois and imported flowers not only take tons of fuel to get here, but they also hurt more local growers like the ones I know.

Rita Jo Shoutlz says …

Was disappointed to see a company I've admired supporting 'foreign' flowers over American Grown. Surely, someone in your company has made a mistake with these statements. I won't waste my time or yours with all the reasons why you should be supporting America as I think you surely know all the many, many reasons.

Shari says …

Whole Foods should support local farmers! Local flowers will be the freshest too, as they have not been shipped thousands of miles and stressed during transport. Support your local farmers-buy local!

Doug Trott says …

I understand many Whole Foods stores support local flowers, but if any are having trouble finding a local flower farm, they should visit the web site of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (http://www.ascfg.org). You can search for growers by location, or even by the varieties of flowers grown, and you will be amazed at the tremendous variety of fresh, local flowers available.

Marcie Wolf says …

There are many hidden costs associated with outsourcing jobs...including jobs such as flower farming. Without much more specific information regarding environmental issues I feel uncomfortable. The statement "Cares for the environment" is rather meaningless. There are crops that we do not produce in the United States, and I appreciate the fair trade laws when trading with countries that we purchase those crops from. But in some cases...local is better. Help your local community and buy from them first.

Heidi Joynt says …

I appreciate this conversation happening, and the fact that Whole Foods is considering better labor practices than conventionally grown flowers, though they do carry those as well. I appreciate that most of these flowers are labeled as such so we can make the choices we want to as consumers. I think purchasing Fair Trade from Ecuador/Columbia is a far cry from a socially and environmentally responsible purchase, however. I know that Whole Foods does work with some local flower farms, even here in IL...but please, highlight THOSE farms. Show your customers that you care about the social fabric of the rural communities right HERE. Most of those farms are on average 1,500 miles away or more from most of the U.S. That is a lot of jet fuel...not a very romantic thought on Valentine's Day.

Dolores says …

Whole Foods is a proponent of Whole Trade Roses grown in South America? Interesting, is Whole Foods also a proponent of the Oil Industry? Shipping for these roses requires additional quantities of fossil fuel, refrigeration to keep the flowers fresh for a longer period also uses additional energy. Plus shipping the flowers from a central warehouse once they arrive in the USA to the Whole Foods Markets in the United States adds another link in this process. I believe it would better serve everyone if Whole Foods purchased their flowers locally thereby supporting the florist that make up a percentage of local Whole Foods customer bases, and providing scholarships to the children of the growers in South American. Instead of growing roses, perhaps Whole Foods could train the flower growers to grow food sustainably that can be sold in their local markets on a continuing bases and not roses that are just for a Valentines Day celebration in the United States.

Buy Local!! says …

As a former WFM floral buyer, I know how local the company actually is. The Whole Trade thing is out of fashion and a distraction from what's really important, and as you can see from the other comments, not whole at all when you consider the loss of U.S. flower farms as a result of nonsensical continued importing such as this. Please reevaluate your purchasing budgets and help your regional and store buyers support local farmers and highlight actual "whole community" local flowers instead of putting a brand name on nature and telling them what to sell from an office.

Jeanie McKewan says …

Why aren't you promoting USA grown flowers? WFM is a real dichotomy between local/organic and Our Brand (Whole Trade) whether or not it is local, sustainably grown, organic, domestic. Best price right?. Why not be sincere to your mission to promote the best local products grown and produced? California and Oregon have gorgeous flowers for Valentines Day, I am certain they are not within your price point but they are a heck of a lot more local and less of a footprint than those lovelies from Columbia. Regards, A WFM Cut Flower Vendor

marcia cox says …

How much will roses cost before and during Valentine's Day?

melody pearson says …

Boohoo! Buy American promote our farmers and support our economy!

Jeremy Jordan says …

My experience is that locally grown flowers not only last longer, but look better due to their freshness, as compared with imports. Please support the hard working American Flower Growers and boost our economy. Jeremy

cleis jordan says …

We have supported Whole Foods and its idea of fresh, locally grown and organic starting with your first store in Austin, TX. Now living in New Mexico in a tiny village of 50 we are big supporters of the idea of healthy living thru our Farmer's Markets. Because Whole Foods is 180 miles from us and accessible only when we get to Albuquerque, we rely on Farmer's Markets in the area with their locally grown fresh vegetables and flowers. We are also helping our neighbors in the community this way. Having always viewed Whole Foods as an extension of this idea it was surprising and disappointing to see your article on Roses for Valentine's day. I realize we live in a world economy but when there are so many needs right here at home, would have expected Whole Foods to be supporting those in their own backyard first. Local flower growers also have needs for their families such as better schools and day care, better hospitals, low interest home improvement loans, transportation for their children, and much needed water and electricity to grow their flowers and vegetables. Let's help those here at home in the U.S.A. first with the 1% you are generously giving to the growers beyond our borders and support our local growers.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

Sorry for the confusion, everyone! We have updated the blog post to reflect the fact that we do feature local and US flowers at our locations as well. The WTG flowers are an additional option for customers but buy no means is the only option. Check with your local store to see what other flowers options they have in stock!

Thea Folls says …

I think a better alternative to buying imported flowers is to buy from local growers if you have any, and if not, how about a gift certificate for locally grown cut flowers or locally owned garden centers? As a cut flower farmer I appreciate each and every one of my customers and their choice to buy locally.

Sally Scorzetti says …

I am a regular customer of the Whole Foods in Devon, Pa. While I understand your mission I cannot support it. We have so many farmers in the US that work so hard and need us as customers to survive why would you turn your backs and import flowers. Please stick with your principals.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARCIA - Most stores will have special floral prices during Valentine's day but the prices can vary between locations. Check with your local store for quotes!

George Hart says …

It appears that every purchase of Whole Trade flowers means American dollars are going overseas, where they benefit foreign workers, to the disadvantage of American farmers. Do you market any "local" produce?

Mary Jane says …

I appreciate that you have updated your post, but it still pushes for the purchase of "Whole Trade" flowers. While it's fine, in my opinion, to have this option for those who would like to support the initiative, I as an American consumer would much rather see you advocating for buying flowers grown in the USA on Valentine's Day (or any day of the year, for that matter!). We need to take advantage of every opportunity to support our American farmers and ranchers, whether they grow flowers, fruits and vegetables, cotton, or raise cattle. I hope you will actively promote buying flowers grown in the USA in your stores. Our American farmers and ranchers need our support.

Mark says …

It would seem to me that Whole Foods, in their infinite wisdom is completely off base on this promotion. I thought that Whole Foods stood for supporting local producers utilizing sustainable agricultural practices! Purchasing and transporting flowers from distant markets solely to support these farms and their farming families seems to be leaving the core beliefs of Whole Foods forgotten. It certainly does not gaurentee that sustainable agricultural practices are being met and it certainly leaves a giant carbon footprint behind! Perhaps, if it is so important for Whole Foods to support these farmers and their families, then maybe Whole Foods can kill two birds with one stone. Support local, sustainable farmers producing flowers, and then use the profits from these flower sales to support whatever cause Whole Foods so desires!

Robin Powell says …

South American and Canada have destroyed the domestic flower business. Stop promoting south american flowers and start buying from your neighboring farmers.

Dennis Westphall says …

At least 80% of all cut flowers sold in this country are imported. I hear you say that you offer local alternatives and it makes me wonder how you measure up with your domestic and import purchases. Can you tell us what your percentages are?

Linda VanApeldoorn says …

Shame on you Whole Foods. I do not understand your promotion of imported flowers. Whole Trade guarantee or not. This goes against just about everything listed in your "mission and values" statements regarding environmental stewardship. I see no reason for you to be importing anything that is readily available in the US. By the number of other posts that share similar views, I believe it is time you changed your blog to say "Share your love with US grown flowers" and promote the fabulous, hard working flower growers right in your own backyard.

Jordan Zecker says …

I saw an add today for 2dozen long stem roses for $19.99 is that available all week

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

We asked our Global Floral Buyer, Amanda Rainey, about other flower options and here's what she said: "For those of you looking for domestically grown flowers, we partner with an amazing group of farms and suppliers all over the country, many of whom are local to the communities where Whole Foods Market stores are located. Our tulips, for example, are grown in places such as Sumner, Washington; Arcata, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Stevensburg, Virginia; and McAdoo, Pennsylvania, just to name a few. Your store may have seasonally mixed bouquets with stems straight from Carpinteria, California, arrays of blooming branches from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, and beautiful Dutch Irises grown in Castle Hayne, North Carolina. No matter where they come from we work hard to source flowers perfectly suited to any occasion, supporting local producers when we can. While roses are the go-to favorite at this time of year – Americans bought more than $189 million stems last year! – domestic rose production is very limited and they’re frequently shipped from overseas. This is one of the reasons we’re very proud to offer another rose choice to our shoppers: the ethically sourced Whole Trade roses from Colombia and Ecuador. Whether you choose roses or another flower for Valentine’s Day, our floral departments are filled with buckets and buckets of all kinds of gorgeous blooms to pick from."

Linda says …

Whole Foods is doing a grave disservice by promoting imported fresh flowers... where is your support for local or USA or CA grown flowers?? Everytime I purchase something I always look at the label to see where it is produced and support USA made goods. The same goes for our flowers, our U.S. flower growers help keep America beautiful so I will definitely not be buying imported roses this holiday or EVER.

Erin says …

Sure, some of your stores sometimes have a few buckets of local flowers in the summer, but you can't "update" your post with misleading words and nothing to back it up: "It's blooming with roses grown in the US and beyond, so why not put a new twist on this traditional favorite?" I'm not aware of any regions that sell U.S. roses specifically (in Feb.) and you don't have Whole Trade flowers in the U.S. Of course I could be wrong, but it'd be easier for you to look up. Which regions/stores sell U.S. roses?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JORDAN - I believe I saw you post on another blog regarding the price in question for the Palm Beach location. If this is correct, I was able to confirm that this price is correct and will run through Valentine's Day.

Kasey Cronquist says …

As the CEO/Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC), representing over 225 flower farmers in the state, it is heartwarming to see the many different voices in support of American Grown flowers. Eighty-five percent of consumers are not aware of the origin of the flowers they buy – and would be surprised to know that flower imports from South America make up approximately 80 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. This 20-year trend has taken a real toll on California family flower farms, and farms throughout the country – especially rose farms – yet this stream of comments certainly reflects the demand and interest that truly exists for American Grown flowers. The CCFC agrees that it would be in the best interest of consumers, the economy, the environment, and America’s farmers, if retailers would promote American Grown flowers versus promoting imports. And I would encourage consumers to let retailers know if they agree. On behalf of California's flower farmers, we thank you for your comments in support of our farms. If you would like to stay involved with the American Grown flowers movement, I'd encourage you to visit our blog at www.ccfc.org/blogs and join us on Facebook.com/CaliforniaGrownFlowers. @kaseycronquist

Erika says …

Is the sale for 2 dozen roses an instore deal only ? I went online to order and they had tulips for 19.99 but the roses were higher 29.99

Erin says …

As a cut flower grower I am more than a little disappointed that you are pointing your customers towards Whole Trade flowers. While I appreciate the sentiment behind supporting growers in other countries, I think it's important that you realize that while doing so you are taking away from the livelihood of growers such as myself. I think customers would be surprised by the variety available so close to home. For instance, while it is true that rose production has moved primarily to So. / Central America due to growing requirements, we have a large rose grower here in CT. I have had a relationship with Whole Foods for several years, and I would very much like to see your business come back to U.S. growers, supporting our hard working families here.

Myrna says …

What happened to locally grown? What about our local farmers...don't they need your/our support? Please re-think this one Whole Foods.

Kevin says …

I was just wondering if you where having the 2 dozen roses that you do every year for Valentines Day

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ERIKA - Typically the online price for each store location is going to be the same price if you were to go in to the store.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KEVIN - Each option is going to vary between locations. Check with your local store to see if they are offering the same price for 2 dozen roses.

kathleen says …

i chose whole foods to design my bridal bouquets and they were absolutely lovely! all they flowers were perfect!! i love love love the annapolis whole foods floral team - they were so professional and helpful to me! my whole foods bouquets were one of my favorite elements of my wedding!

Jenny says …

How much are half a dozen roses?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JENNY - The prices will vary between store locations. Check with your local store to see what they are offering!

Dreama Billups says …

Do you sell bunches of flowers in large batches? I need 100 Gerbera Daisies, in Orange with green centers; also several bunches of roses, filler flowers & greenery with lots of babys breath. Thanks in advance for all your help, Dreama

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DREAMA - Check with your local store to see what they offer for bulk ordering. The floral department would be happy to help!

Rebecca Langlet says …

I've been to your location in downtown Austin. I believe I saw a flower called Horton's clover? (Its a large green clover.) I was wondering the pricing for this.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@REBECCA - I called and spoke to the floral department at our Lamar store and they had never heard of the flower by this name. Sorry about that!

Holly Hilton says …

I am looking for flowers to give to a friend on her birthday this month. What type of flowers are in your San Jose store this month in the Floral Department? How much are your roses? Do you have any coupons fo r new customers? Thank you!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HOLLY - Our products vary between stores. Check with the local store directly to see what they have in stock and the pricing.

tanie pozycjonownaie stron says …

Your means of telling the whole thing in this post is genuinely pleasant, every one be able to effortlessly understand it, Thanks a lot.

Ella says …

Hello, I was wonder, do you do wedding flowers? Thanks,

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELLA - Most of our locations will offer floral wedding options. Check with your local store to see exactly what they offer!

Emily says …

I really love what whole food is doing by helping floral producers in other countries. There are many people out of USA that need more help than here, so if whole food supermarkets can help them, very good for them. I will defenitely buy Whole Trade products.

patty moore says …

I live in VT but have a friend that is new to Tempe and works at ASU, do you deliver?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PATTY - Most of our stores offer floral delivery but it can differ. I would suggest calling the Tempe store directly at 480.456.1400 to see if they offer delivery!

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