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October, 16 2018

The PickUp 2.0

Tags: The PickUp, Hilarious, Open Studio, Routine, So Local

The LoCoFlo PickUp has been improving flower loversí lives for a few years now. PickerUppers signed up in the winter. After great anticipation, the PickUp revved up in April. LoCoFlo cranked out locally grown bouquets of flowers once per month through October for pick up at the shop. Floral joy for all.

So, what about version 2.0? How can the PickUp improve your life even more?

Imagine this: A dark auditorium. Standing room only. Steve Jobs walks across an empty stage in his black mock turtleneck tucked into unbelted jeans with white sneakers (I know, but itís just not the same with Tim - where was Queer Eye anyway?). Edge of our seats, mystery, nerding-out, etc. what is THE NEXT BIG THING?

Oh yeah the LoCoFlo Seasonal PickUp!

We are now offering the PickUp not just once a year. More than twice a year. Not even only thrice a year. But fource a year - the PickUp every season! You can now PickUp all year. No more waiting through the dreary winter months. No more missing the PickUp during the holidays. Non-Stop PickUp. Lit!

But thatís not all. We totally BK'ed the PickUp. You can have it your way. Choose the dates you want (as long as itís a Wednesday). You can pick up every week during the season, or every other week, or every Wednesday for just one month, or go old school and pick up every third Wednesday (that would be weird, why every third Wednesday? whatever). You get the idea. The options are endless - well not really - but you get to choose your PickUp dates. Sick!

Stick around after your PickUp for our Open Studio event, every Wednesday 4:00-8:00. Make an arrangement with your PickUp or enhance your bouquet with some extra.

So, there it is. Kinda like when cheese showed up inside the pizza crust, you thought the PickUp couldnít get any better and BOOM!

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July, 27 2018

Art at the Shop

Tags: Friends, So Local

We love local art and artists. Many of our designers are graduates of art school - mostly MICA including current designer, farmer and aquatic artist Jess Rowe. Weíve commissioned paintings, purchased paintings, even painted some graphics on our walls. Our art represent our values, challenge our industry, establish identity, inspire our visitors, provide income, express our gratitude and more.

Here are some the paintings and other art we have collected over the years, the stories behind them, and artists who provided the work.

Matt Muirhead (https://www.instagram.com/mattmuirheadartist)

We met Matt when he modeled for our flower beard photoshoot. When Matt had an exhibit at the Creative Alliance featuring paintings of massive flower bouquets overwhelming Baltimore city buildings, we commissioned two of this theme for beloved long-time employees who moved on from us - Carling who continues to work for us from her home in Michigan and Irene who opened Dylanís Oyster Cellar with her husband.

Matt also painted an image of our shop on top of a Robert Furber botanical print which was commissioned as a birthday gift for Ellen.

Annie Howe (http://www.anniehowepapercuts.com/)

Lucky Ellen was the recipient of more art for another birthday. Ellenís thoughtful husband approached Annie with a request for a floral papercut. Annie made this fantastic and intricate design which depicts varieties grouped by season.

We were so pleased with the papercut, we had Momentum Printing make t-shirts and hoodies with the image.

Barbara Wolfe (comeonbarbragetawebsite)

Barbara is our friend who is an artist, musician, hobo, flower peddler, and floral designer among other vocations. We met Barbara through Locust Point Flowers at the 32nd Street Saturday farmerís market down the street from our shop. She designed for us for a while, delivered weddings, and one day- just like dust in the wind - she was gone.

Barbara re-appeared in our lives as she was preparing for a show at Alchemy of Art in Fells Point. She used our flowers as the object of some of her paintings including the one we bought for the shop.

Graphics on our Walls

Our interpretation of Rage, the Flower Thrower by Banksy.

If you are not familiar with street art, Banksy is among the most famous graffiti artists. One of his more well-know stencils is a protester throwing a bouquet of flowers. We altered the image by wrapping the bouquet in burlap to support burlap freedom and our flower friends who were threatened with legal action for using burlap.

Our Shepard Fairey - via Barbara Kruger - inspired LOCAL graphic.

Another street artist, Faireyís ubiquitous OBEY stickers gave us the idea for LOCAL. This fair use graphic has also been a popular t-shirt for us, The flower icon comes from the Noun Project. The rest was rudimentary Photoshop skills.

Come by the shop to check out the art (and flowers) in person! Saturdays 8:00AM-12:00Noon or Wednesdays 4:00PM-8:00PM

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April, 02 2018

Improve Your Life for Only $210 (plus tax) - The PickUp!

Tags: The PickUp, Open Studio, So Local, Hilarious, Routine

Imagine you could go back in time to make a different choice. Maybe you would make a decision with your heart, instead of your brain - like selecting UMBC for a first round win on your bracket. Maybe you would go against the crowd and keep your online personal data secure by never joining Facebook. Maybe you would act like a normal human and not use a secret home equity loan to get your super-rich buddy out of a bind.

We canít go back in time. We live with busted brackets, busted data, and busted leaders. But we can imagine a future where todayís decisions make our future selves not busted - decisions for an improved life.

Fast forward to next New Yearís eve. You are totally smashed and get reflective while Auld Lang Syne is hazily sung in the background. You ask yourself: What did I do this past year that was awesome? What decision could have I made that would make me say right now - Sweet Baby James, that was the best thing I did all year and I am better for it!

Let me help you out. The answer is The PickUp. This game-changing, canít miss, no regret, best thing you will do all year panacea is a monthly subscription of locally grown flowers offered by LoCoFlo. It isnít even difficult to obtain this sweet elixir. All you need to do is fill out this form and fork over a little scratch, or you can just show up at the shop each third Wednesday of the month April - October. (Update: now seasonal and available year-round - check out our The PickUp 2.0 post.)

Here are some made up quotes overheard at The PickUp last year:

ďIíve lost weight since joining The PickUp - I wasnít even trying. In fact, I am eating more and exercising less. Plus my hair is thicker and less grey. Itís magic!Ē

ďIíve been feeling real frisky since my partner signed me up for The PickUp! Iíve been showing how much I appreciate it with some special attention." (Iím pretty sure that means sex.)

"The flowers have a calming affect on my children. They are delightful - the flowers, not the kids. The kids are still monsters, just a little more bearable.Ē

ďAfter I joined The PickUp, my boss gave me a pat on the back and raise! Thanks LoCoFlo!Ē

ďIíve traveled the world, met with shamens, gurus, holy people. Nothing could cure my ills - then I found The PickUp.Ē

ďEverything is better! Everything is wonderful!Ē Then fancy-pants actually started signing ďPure ImaginationĒ from Willy Wonka and twirled out of the shop.

Joining The PickUp makes you the kind of person who says ďHell yes I picked the Retrievers, totally called itĒ, ďno way Iím giving that nerd my infoĒ, and ďyeah, youíre on your own with that Stormy chick, broĒ.

Join The PickUp. Your future self will thank you.

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November, 01 2017

Pablo Escobar Started LoCoFlo

Tags: So Local

Thatís right. THE Pablo Escobar. And I donít mean some dude with the same name as Pablo Escobar. Not Pablito from down la calle. The real Pablo Escobar from Columbia. The guy Narcos is about. The biggest drug dealer in the world is the reason our little flower shop exists.

I know what youíre thinking: No way. How could he have done this?

Alright, Iíll admit he didnít do it by himself - he got some help from the Bushes - H. W. and W. But, before I tell you how Don Pablo started a small locally grown flower shop in Baltimore 15 years after he died in Medellin, there are a few crazy things you need to know about cut flowers and cocaine.

The cut flower business is a hyper-efficient 100 billion dollar a year world-wide industry. Today, 80% of flowers sold in The United States are grown in other countries! Truth. Almost all of those delicate, dying blooms come from a far off land. They are chemically preserved, packed, and shipped thousands of miles every day. Of all those imported flowers, three quarters come from Columbia.

Q: Why do Americanís buy so many flowers from Columbia?

A: Pablo (and the Georges).

If you havenít seen Narcos on Netflix, you should. Itís pretty awesome. Iím assuming that some of the stuff is dramatized for TV but, Pablo Escobarís life was really incredible. He is most infamous for founding and running the Medellin Cartel which supplied the United States with 80% of all cocaine that came into the country in the 1980ís.

The scope of Pabloís cocaine business was so big he was listed on Forbesí international billionaires list for seven years in a row. He was making so much money he needed to spend $1,000 a week just on rubber bands to bundle cash.

Anyway, the US government wanted to shut the party down. So, as part of the fight to stop Pablo from exporting nearly 100 tons of cocaine each month into the country, Bush 41 enacted the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) in 1991. Bush 43 continued the effort with the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) in 2003.

These acts remove import taxes and promote many commodities, including cut flowers, from Columbia and its neighbors. The ATPT and ATPDEA are intended to replace the cocaine business with legitimate business. Good idea, right? It has been working for some industries. But for cut flowers, the Andean trade acts made imported Columbian flowers way cheaper than American grown flowers. Columbian flowers have flooded the market which has put great pressure on American growers. Remember that 80% imported flower number I told you about, it was only 46% before the ATPA.

Boom! Bolt of lightning! After learning about the proliferation of imported cut flowers and other flowers grown thousands of miles away from Baltimore (Columbia is closer to us than California), Ellen and some partners saw an opportunity. Local Color Flowers only uses flowers grown within 100 miles of the shop.

So that is how Pablo Escobar started LoCoFlo. Would we still be selling locally grown flowers if Pablo never exported cocaine here? Of course! We are friends with our growers. It is the greenest way to sell flowers. And it just makes sense. Shout out to Pablo and George and George for making the story interesting.

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July, 31 2017

Baltimore In Bloom

Tags: Friends, Farmers, So Local

Last weekend we were thrilled to host Dave Dowling, President of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers and Mimo Davis of Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers in St. Louis Missouri for a whirlwind tour of flower farming in and around Baltimore.

Weíre so proud of our Baltimore flower farming community and we were excited to introduce Baltimore to our out of town guests.

We started at the Sunday market to visit Elisa Lane of Two Boots Farm. Elisa started farming in Baltimore City when she co-founded Whitelock Community Farm in the Reservoir Hill. She and her husband now farm in Hampstead, Maryland. Each year she grows more and more flowers (because itís addictive!)

Next we headed over to Ananda Growers. Jen and Abhi are first year growers growing in East Baltimore in the shadow of Dr. Kingís image. In addition to Ananda Growers, Jen also runs a youth farming program called Common Ground Youth Farming as part of her OSI Fellowship.

Next, we traveled a few blocks east to visit Walker at Tha Flower Factory. A big sunny half acre in the middle of East Baltimore, Tha Flower Factory is in itís 2nd year of growing. Watch for big things from this urban farm.

Next we headed north to Hillen Homestead. Maya has been growing flowers in Baltimore City for five years. With two sites, she is the biggest producer of flowers in the city.

At her original plot on Hillen Road, we checked out a plethora of gorgeous blooms including lisianthus, zinnias, love in a puff, snaps and amazing dahlias!

After a quick stop at the Crown gas station for a snack (Turkey Hill lemonade and chips for everyoneÖjust call meÖthe hostess with the mostestĒ) we drove 45 miles west to visit our friends at PlantMasters. Mimo was especially excited to see Leon and Carol Carrierís farm because of all of the ways the extend the season for sales in early spring and late fall/winter. Their new hoophouse is filled with gorgeous Cafe Au Lait dahlias.

Of course, we couldnít be touring around without Bob Wollam getting in on the action. It was pretty great to see these two flower friends reunited.

Our last stop on the tour was Endless Row Farm, owned by Leon and Carolís son Lee. The name is so fitting! This farm is so beautiful! It reminded us all of the wide rows at Mel Heathís farm.

As we headed back to Butterbee Farm for dinner, my heart was so full. Iím beyond grateful to be part of this amazing flower farming community. From teeny tiny first year farms, to farms that have been producing local blooms for over 30 years, all of these growers play a crucial role in making the Mid-Atlantic such a special place for growing flowers.

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