You’ve probably grabbed a quick bite from a food truck and may have even sipped a craft cocktail from a bar truck — but how about picking up a personalized, seasonal bouquet from a flower truck?
Mobile florist Hometown Flower Co., which began popping up at Long Island businesses, farmers markets and events last month, is offering customers the opportunity to do just that. The company aims to raise awareness and demand for locally grown flowers by providing access to them in areas where small-scale farmers are traditionally unable to reach because of transportation limitations.
Hometown Flower Co. is the brainchild of third generation florist Jaclyn Rutigliano, whose family owns Woodbury’s Jack & Rose Florist. In 1943, her grandparents founded the business in Fresh Meadows, but Rutigliano didn’t immediately take to the family business.
A public relations and marketing consultant by trade, Rutigliano’s desire to bridge the gap between flower buyers and growers was inspired after meeting Slow Flower Movement founder Debra Prinzing.
“The retail side of flowers was very uninspiring; it had a very massed produced feeling to it,” she said. “The Slow Flower Movement that Debra founded is about embracing locally grown, seasonal flowers. It got me interested in sourcing, and I immediately became fascinated.”
After years of self-education on the subject, Rutigliano co-founded the business with her husband Marc Iervolino in January. Seeking an on-the-go option, the Huntington couple went all in with a vintage 1976 Ford F100 pick-up truck as the platform for their sustainably grown, locally sourced floral business.
The truck, nicknamed Baby Blue for its whimsical coastal hue, was retrofitted with a retractable awning, Edison lights and three-tier removable shelving sourced from Lumber + Salt in Jamesport. Hometown Flowers sources its flowers from a collective of 10 Long Island farmers and greenhouses from Orient to Queens, including North Fork Flower Farm in Orient and Salt Air Farm in Cutchogue. The couple — who retain full-time jobs (he’s a commercial plumber) — make multiple weekly trips to replenish the supply.
“There is so much joy in sourcing seasonally to meet demand,” said Rutigliano, noting that any unused flowers are composted. “We get to work with so many flowers that you typically wouldn’t find at a tradition florist. Most of our farmers take pride in growing things that you wouldn’t find wholesale.”
Customers select the size of the arrangement and hand select individual fresh cuts from the onboard bounty while getting to know about where the flowers were grown. Because the variety available is entirely dependent on what’s in season, choice is limited to a few options, but that doesn’t bother shoppers who value the surprise of changing inventory.
“Most people love the interactive experience,” Rutigliano said.
Be on the look at for the Hometown Flower Co. that will be popping up at events, workshops and businesses across Long Island in addition to being parked at the Roslyn Farmers Market on Wednesdays and at the Babylon Farmers Market on Sundays.
In addition to its pop ups, Hometown Flower Co. also offers a subscription service through its website hometownflowerco.com. Customers can sign up for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deliveries starting at $35. A percentage of proceeds from all subscription sales benefits The Peconic Land Trust.