Enjoy fresh flowers from Concord's Farmers Market and dry some for later

Enjoy fresh flowers from Concord’s Farmers Market and dry some for later

Enjoy fresh flowers from Concord's Farmers Market and dry some for later
Steve Fernandes, general manager of Sunrise Nursery.

CONCORD, CA—Valentine’s Day may remind us how lucky we are to have family and other loved ones close to us. But you can show them you care more than just one day a year. There’s no better way to brighten someone’s day than with a lovely bouquet of fresh-cut flowers.

We take enjoyment in the sensory pleasures of their fragrance, color and variety, and those from the local farmers market are exceptional in their just-picked freshness and seasonal options.

Stop by the Concord Farmers Market on Tuesdays and you’ll see a booth filled with gorgeous freshly cut flowers in almost every seasonal variety. Steve Fernandes, general manager of Sunrise Nursery, is usually there and loves to talk about his nursery and what his family grows.

After his mother started the nursery in 1992, the family has developed year-round production to keep customers satisfied through all four seasons. Sunrise Nursery has 30 acres of farmland and 6 acres of greenhouses, producing more than 30 varieties of flowers and greenery. Roses, alstroemerias, lilies, godetias, sunflowers, proteas and carnations are just some of the gorgeous blooms you’ll find at their booth each week.

Local flower power

Most florists purchase flowers from South America because they’re cheaper, but this doesn’t help our local economy. Local nurseries who are growing flowers for the farmers market can get their fresh-cut flowers to you within 48 hours, as opposed to one or two weeks for non-local growers.

In addition, these growers create a smaller carbon footprint because they deliver to markets within 100 miles instead of shipping across the country. The flowers will last longer once you get them home, having spent less time in transit.

You’re also supporting local farmers and your local economy, which helps them continue farming.

This month, buy extra flowers and dry press them. You can use your creations in a picture frame, pressed into a candle or on a pretty glass vase.

To get the best results, choose flowers that are fresh and haven’t wilted. Look for flowers that are flat faced, like pansies. Thick flowers are best cut in half to dry flat. Find a big heavy book that you don’t mind damaging, or use two concrete blocks or other heavy objects.

Place a few flowers between two pieces of printer paper. Then, place them between two pages of the book. Close the book and add a few more books on top to ensure that enough pressure is placed on the flower.

Replace the paper every couple of days. After about two weeks, your flowers should be completely dry.

Dried flowers shortcut

Don’t want to wait two weeks? Place flowers or leaves between paper and gently press with an iron (no steam, please) for about 15 seconds. Let paper cool for 15 seconds and repeat until flower is dried to your liking.

You can enjoy your dried flowers for a long time.

The Concord Farmers Market is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays year-round at Todos Santos Plaza. Parking available in nearby structures and on the street. For more information, visit pcfma.com.