Gjusta Flower Shop Spotlight: Dahlias
A conversation between Susannah Liguori and Ibby Anda
In this series, Gjusta Flower Shop’s Susannah Liguori and Ibby Anda highlight some of their favorite flowers and farms.
Ibby Anda: Hello, and welcome back to our Gjusta Flower Shop monthly spotlight!
Susannah Liguori: Welcome, we're glad you're here!
Today we're going to talk about dahlias. They're the flower of the season and a hot commodity.
Dahlias are really lovely, and they're in season from June to about late September. It's a pretty long season, so you can enjoy them for a while.
We just got our first crop a few weeks ago from McGrath Family Farm in Camarillo, California. It's a 300 acre farm composed of several specialty micro farms. Phil McGrath is the owner and his goal is to work towards more sustainable farming methods that benefit the environment. What's really cool about this farm is they have a multitude of different ways that they're working to be sustainable, be kind to the earth, and produce beautiful flowers. They experiment with different insect controls and composting techniques that complement an organic production system. And a fun fact is there was a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf by the farm, and Phil used to use the discarded grounds and filters from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to make his compost.
Another way he's working towards sustainability is by supplying lots of restaurants around LA, and restaurant owners offered to give him their used vegetable oil to help fuel his tractors. So now all of his gear and tractors and stuff runs off of like half of a blend of vegetable-based fuel and diesel. His plants are being taken care of by plants.
That’s amazing. What a well run system!
Another fun fact: their farm is part of a study at Berkeley that focuses on native bee populations, and they had some sort of bee delivery. Eight months ago, Phil set up what he dubs to be an island made up of some 15 kinds of plants on the edge of the family farm's field to attract bees, and now they have multiple new bee species on the property.
Wow, that's so cool. We love the bees. They are so important to the environment and to humans. We're going to have to go visit.
Bees are the nectar of life. They're essential. They pollinate food crops, they rely on other pollinators. Every three bites we consume relies on pollination.
They are such hardworking creatures.
Bees are dying because it's too hot. We've got to take care of it.
Certainly makes us appreciate the McGrath Family Farm and their bee care.
Yeah, the bees are happy there. They're developing.
So they grow these dahlias on one of their micro farms?
Yes. They're gorgeous. Their dahlias kind of remind me of heirloom tomatoes, you know? Like a beautiful, ripe heirloom tomato. Not one is the same. They're just incredibly poetic, if I do say so.
The folds in them are just stunning!
They're your favorite — you wanted to do this episode before lilies.
I really did. I'm fascinated by the dahlias.
You are, and you love to smell them even though there's no scent. Ibby likes to walk around the shop and smell everything. Like each flower, and I'm like, "Nope, not that one. Nope, not that one."
It's true. The dahlias just draw you in so much that I imagine them to have a scent. And it's okay, they don't need one because they're that beautiful.
They're really cool. Do you know what fractalization is? Dahlias kind of look like a romanesco cauliflower.
Yes, I love that simile. And the colors are so vibrant.
You can't even make up these colors.
People are so drawn to them when they come in.
People are loving them, and I love having them, and we're just gonna keep on the dahlia train until late September... and then Ibby's going to cry.
Yes, but for now, we're going to enjoy them, sell them, and bask in their beauty. So I hope you all enjoy, and we look forward to discussing our new flower with you next month!
Enjoy your summer!