I recently got back from a trip to San Diego, California which was fantastic! On the final day of our vacation I had prearranged for us to take a tour of a flower grower in Oceanside, California called Mellano & Co. This family-owned company has been growing flowers since 1925 and are still going strong! Michael Mellano, (one of the owners), was nice enough to take took time out of his day to take us around their 300 acre farm so I could fully understand where my flowers come from.
Since we live in Illinois and our climate is too harsh for year-round growing, I usually order all of my flowers through a wholesaler (Kennicott Brothers) so it was hard to imagine how large a growing operation would have to be to sell a given item to me and thousands of other florists on a daily basis. It just seems like the flowers would have to run out or something–which is certainly not the case as I know now!
Mellano & Co. were currently growing an assortment of foliage including myrtle and eucalyptus as well as flowers like solidago, asters, and one of my all-time favorites–ranunculus!!! They change out their beds seasonally and hand-pick flowers daily for distribution mainly to California as well as surrounding states but also out here to us! I actually just used their myrtle in my vintage Christmas holiday shoot a few weeks ago!
I am so glad that my friend Tim at Kennicott’s set up this tour of the fields and operations of Mellano & Co. for me and that Mike kind enough to show us around. I may just be a small, independent wedding & event florist, but I really have a passion for this industry and its nice to see where & how our flowers are grown.
Here are some photos from Mellano’s website showing the fields, picking, and packaging process…