Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers was one of the first three farms in the country to earn BloomCheck certification when the program started in 2013. In another first, they’ve become one of the earliest farms to renew their certification.
“I really felt that it was important that our customers realize that we’re dedicated to sustainable farming, that we respect the land and we’re environmentally friendly,” Diana Roy business manager for Resendiz Brothers, said of becoming an early adopter.
Flower growers seeking BloomCheck certification undergo a rigorous third-party audit to ensure they are using best practices for sustainability when it comes to water, air and soil quality; wildlife protection; and social impacts on workers and the community. That means reducing energy use, recycling water, deploying biological pest management and taking care of employees.
Protected Harvest, an independent nonprofit organization that certifies the sustainability of agriculture operations, does the on-site auditing to ensure growers are meeting the standards.
Resendiz Brothers has about 180 acres under cultivation and grows more than 200 varieties of flowers and foliage. The biggest challenge in receiving BloomCheck certification, Roy said, was the documentation of the farm’s operation, things like detailed records of water and electricity use. But the recordkeeping helped the company be better able to review and evaluate its use of water and electricity.
Other requirements came a little easier. Protea doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer, Roy said. “They like to be left alone. So when it came to chemical use, that wasn’t a big hurdle for us.”
The location of Resendiz Brothers contributes to its sustainable practices. The high cost of land in Southern California forces the company to make the most of what it has. Much of its growing is done on steep hillsides, so mulching and erosion control are already necessities.
“A lot of the reason for growing in these types of areas is that the land would otherwise be unusable,” she said. “So you’re able to buy a piece of land at a fairly good price and turn it into a floral paradise. That in itself is sustainable. It makes for a more beautiful, flourishing environment for the people around it. And it’s also really great use of the land.”
As for community involvement, Resendiz Brothers has always reached out by donating to local causes, helping garden clubs or inviting the public in for tours, Roy said.
Having undergone the process twice, BloomCheck certification underscores Resendiz Brothers’ commitment to sustainability.
“These kinds of programs have really made us go in and look at how we do things so that we can be better farmers,” Roy said.