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Erin Benzakein - Floret  Farmer-Florist, writer, teacher, living and growing in WA State, USA. My first book: Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden now available. #growfloret

If you're just joining in the fun, this week on Instagram I'm giving gifts from my favorite brands to show my gratitude to the many loyal customers, flower friends and fans who have helped make this one of the most abundant and beautiful years ever for our little flower farm. If you’re in any way connected to the flower scene then you most definitely know of Sarah Ryhanen and SAIPUA. Her work has inspired an entire generation of floral designers and has helped elevate the art of natural floral design and seasonal flowers. Sarah left Instagram earlier this year and while her presence has been missed by many, I’m happy to report that she is back to blogging over on the Saipua Journal (link in profile). You’re in for a real treat! Sarah is such a talented writer and photographer. In addition to designing some of the most beautiful flower arrangements in the world, Saipua is also famous for their handmade soap. Today, I’m giving away 3 treasured bars from my yearly supply. It’s equivalent to gold bars at my house - I don’t even let the kids use it! To enter, leave a comment telling me whether or not you still read blogs, and if so, what are your favorites? Photos by Sarah Ryhanen.

Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to @ashrod and @notwithoutsaltshop. Ashley Rodriguez is the talented Seattle-based chef, author and entrepreneur behind my favorite food blog, Not Without Salt (link in profile). Ashley also served as the guest chef at many of our on-farm floral design intensives, where she dished up the most beautiful and delicious farm-fresh feasts for workshop attendees (swipe to see photos). Ashley's beautiful new book, "Let's Stay In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish the People You Love" is all about sharing meaningful and memorable family meals together at home and this lovely book a must-have addition to your cookbook collection. I'm delighted to give away a deluxe gift set of Ashley's creations which includes copies of both her amazing books plus a curated collection of her Not Without Salt products including Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Salty Sprinkles and Vanilla Salt. To enter, follow @Ashrod and add a comment below telling me your favorite meal to make with your family. Good luck! Please note: giveaway can be shipped to U.S. addresses only.

Frosty morning walk in the blueberry field. If you have the sound up you can hear the snow geese! Our new farm has acres of berries and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them all. A ton of people have suggested that we have a u-pick or sell the berries, but honestly there’s no way we can add one more thing to the plate. Also, I’ve been banned from adding any new ventures to Floret to awhile 😂 I’ve spent 6 months trying to find a farmer who wants them but since the plants are so established, it’d be a huge job to dig them all up and transplant them. I can lease them to a local berry operation but spraying is part of their approach and we are organic. I haven’t yet found an OG berry grower that’s interested. What do you think we should do with them? We can sell some of the fruiting branches to designers, but we have acres (thousands of plants). #growfloret

Today we're partnering with @bogsfootwear to give away a pair of Bogs boots to FIVE lucky winners 🎉 I absolutely adore Bogs! Keeping dry is essential, especially in our part of Washington where it stays cool and wet for ⅔ of the year. The entire team and I have been wearing Bogs for many, many years now and they are the only insulated boots that hold up over time with heavy use. My personal favorites are the Ultra Mid Rise (picture 1, left) for farm work, the Alexandria waterproof leather boots (picture 2) for going out, and Chris loves the Classic Ultra High (picture 3) for everyday. To enter to win a pair of Bogs, follow their account and leave a comment below, telling me your least favorite garden task or the one that you most struggle with. I'm guessing that dahlia digging and dividing might get the most votes. Good luck! Note: giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Tagging, harvesting and digging out the chrysanthemums we want to keep today. We did a 70+ variety trial this year and it was a pretty even split between dogs and beauties. I already have a wish list of new varieties going for next year. I want to grow a ton more of the spiders! Also, note to self: do a better job netting and staking them next time. #growfloret

Soaking in the last of the chrysanthemums today. The ladies are harvesting the remaining flowers and digging up plants to tuck into our heated greenhouse to overwinter. These are the last flower blooming on the farm and we’re all sad to see them go! #growfloret #floretbook2

If you missed my earlier post, this week I’m giving away some of my favorite things from my favorite brands. Today I’m featuring Mary Heffernan of @fivemarysfarms in Northern California. Mary’s Instagram is one of my very favorite and if you don’t already follow her then you’re in for a real treat. Over on the blog, you’ll find my full interview with this inspiring woman. If you’re in need of a serious dose of inspiration, be sure to set aside some time to read it (link in profile). We’re giving away a deluxe box of Five Marys goodies here on IG and if you would like to enter to win, go back to my previous post. Five Mary’s is also helping in the California wildfire relief by sending meat to host families opening their homes to the displaced. Check out their feed for details!

This week I'm highlighting some of my favorite Instagram feeds and brands, plus giving away some of my favorite things from each of them. To kick it off, I'd love to introduce you to @fivemarysfarms. Five Marys is one of my all time favorite Instagram feeds to follow and one of the most brilliant small farm "brands" I've ever seen. They are featured in the latest issue of @oprahmagazine and Mary and I sat down for a wonderful interview over on the blog (link in profile). If you don't already follow her, you must! Through a beautiful blend of photographs and candid stories, Mary Heffernan shares her family's farm and ranch life in Siskiyou County California, which is just south the Oregon border. Each month we order a box of Five Marys pasture-raised meat which is delivered right to our door and have enjoyed hundreds of amazing meals thanks to these passionate ranchers. Five Marys ships anywhere in the U.S. (yes-Hawaii and Alaska too!). I can't say enough good things about this ranching family and if you are looking for great meat or a big ole dose of inspiration, then look no further. To enter to win a deluxe box of Five Marys goodies, including their delicious dry-aged steaks, chops and other premium meats plus their Golden and Spun Honey, M5 Sea Salt & Spice Rub, Tallow Balm, and cookbooks, simply follow @fivemarysfarms and add a comment below sharing at least one of your favorite farms that you follow. Winners will be announced later this week. Sorry, but this giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.

I have been trying to post little behind the scenes peeks while we've been shooting book #2 this year. While I would love to show you more of the magic that we're creating, I can't because it needs to be saved for the actual book pages. But I can tell you more about it! After doing some major digging (thank you to everyone who has answered our surveys!) it became really clear that the next topic that I needed to dig into was flower arranging. So many people struggle with color, technique, variety selection, sourcing local product etc. So book #2 is all about natural floral design, specifically working with all seasonal material. I'm sharing my favorite techniques that have been honed over the years plus so many of my favorite flowers and loads of pictures from our farm. My hope is that it will help demystify the process of creating beautiful arrangements and help you find your way with flowers. Books take FOREVER to create and while I wish I could speed up the process (we are on an accelerated timeline as is) is won't be out for another year and a half. It is set to publish in spring of 2020. I'm pushing for a valentines launch, but we'll see if our publisher can make that happen. I can’t wait to show it to you because it’s everything I wish I had learned when I started working with flowers. #growfloret #seasonalfloweralliance #floretbook2

The most beautiful sunrise this morning from the potato field bordering our property. I took so many magical, frosty pictures but had to finally come inside to warm up my hands. It’s freezing out there! #floretbook2

We visited our favorite pumpkin farm this weekend @gordonskagitfarms 🌾If you are driving distance from Mount Vernon, WA and are looking for a fun adventure, you’ve got to visit these guys. They have an incredible selection of pumpkins, ornamental squash and gourds (best in the state!) plus apples, cider and a corn maze. You won’t get out of there without a trunk full of treasures - it’s a goldmine!

Chasing fall with @copterchris this weekend 🍂We’ve been so busy with the farm and shop that we’ve fallen a little behind on writing and shooting the book.🍂 Today @jillmjorgensen and I broke the spell and wrote the fall essay and created and photographed a forage autumn wreath. Both turned out beautiful. Tomorrow we dive into a full day of writing and will hopefully be back on track with our deadlines by midweek. Wish us luck! Even though making a book is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, it is also one of the most rewarding. Especially knowing how many lives it will touch in the end. This one is for you guys. #teamfloret #floretbook2

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