A Lompoc flower farmer and the fields he oversees will be celebrated this weekend as the national American Grown Field to Vase Tour makes its first-ever stop in the Lompoc Valley.

The event will take place throughout the day Saturday, Sept. 7, at Ocean View Flowers, 1105 Union Sugar Ave. As part of the festivities, up to 200 guests will embark on a tour of the company’s farms led by farm manager Frank Costa and also enjoy an evening of dinner and wine within the flower fields.

Lompoc will be the fifth of six stops on this year’s Field to Vase tour, which aims to highlight American flower farmers. Other stops on the sixth annual tour were in Virginia, Alaska, Ohio and the California cities of Sacramento and Carlsbad.

“Most flowers we see are imported, so this is really kind of celebrating the American farmer and elevating the American flower farmer,” said Cynthia Signorelli, one of the event’s coordinators through AmericanGrownFlowers.org.

Bank of America, located at 215 North H St., will close its doors for the final time on Nov. 5. While the loss will surely be felt by the bank’s local customers, who will have to travel at a minimum to Santa Maria or Goleta to step inside one of the bank’s financial centers, many other longtime residents are lamenting the move due to its historical significance.

One of the guests for Saturday’s stop in Lompoc will be celebrity florist Debi Lilly, who will lead a morning workshop on floral design and also will provide the floral arrangements for the evening dinner. Among Lilly’s list of famous clients is Oprah Winfrey, and her work has also been featured in Vons and Albertsons stores.

At AmericanGrownFlowers.org, which is putting on the tour, the event is described as offering attendees a chance to “make a personal connection between flowers and agriculture as part of our country’s farm landscape.”

“Along with lively conversation among dining companions new and old, guests will share platters of delicious, seasonal and local food,” read a portion of the experience description. “You’ll meet others who are passionate about preserving American Grown Flowers, farmland and our country’s floriculture roots. While enjoying this artisanal meal, all eyes will be on the botanical beauty of the petals, stems, foliage, vines, buds and berries at the center of the table — artistically arranged to bring sensory pleasure to the experience. The attention is on our flowers, our farmers and their farms, and the floral designs they inspire.”

Ocean View Flowers reported that it harvested 40 million flower stems over the past year.

Signorelli, who grew up in Lompoc, said she was excited to see Costa and Ocean View Flowers put under the spotlight.

“It’ll be a fun-filled day,” she said.

Registration is required for each portion of the event, some of which may be sold out. For more information, visit the aforementioned website, call 916-441-1701 or email info@americangrownflowers.org.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.



Willis Jacobson covers news and other issues, primarily those that affect the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg Air Force Base for the Lompoc Record. He is a graduate of The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.