The Mellano and Castellano families, a group of longtime flower farmers and dedicated industry volunteers, were named the 2019 Flower Farm Champions by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) at its recent annual meeting. The families are the fourth recipients of this prestigious award. 

Mike Mellano Sr., Sharon Mellano and Mike A. Mellano accepted
the Flower Farm Champion Award on behalf of the Mellano and Castellano families for their impact over generations on the flower-farming industry. Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

The Mellano and Castellano families were recognized for their enduring and active involvement in the cut flower industry, and for having hosted an American Grown Field to Vase Dinner for a record-setting five years in a row. Mellano & Company CEO Mike A. Mellano was also acknowledged for being a past CCFC chair and for serving on the board of the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation. 

In presenting the award, CCFC interim CEO & Ambassador Dave Pruitt said, “It’s an honor to award the Mellano and Castellano families the 2019 Flower Farm Champion award. The Mellanos are a proud third generation flower-growing family who have dedicated their lives to the floral industry. Family members serve on multiple industry boards, committees and the California Cut Flower Commission. We’re also proud to honor them for being a Field to Vase Dinner host and sponsor for five years in a row. That’s every year since the event started!”   

The Mellano family came from a small mountain town in Italy and moved to Southern California in the early 1920s to grow fresh flowers of exceptional beauty. Photo provided by Mellano & Company

Present for the awards ceremony were Mike A. Mellano, Mike Mellano Sr., Sharon Mellano and members of the Castellano family. During the presentation, Mike Mellano Sr. narrated a slideshow and shared stories about the family’s history and adventures in flower farming. 

The families were presented with a crystal vase inscribed with the words “Flower Farm Champion Award,” and each family member received a bouquet of California Grown Flowers. 

Photo by Linda Blue Photography.

The ceremony also included an extended Field to Vase Dinner Tour video that featured the tour stops Mellano & Company has hosted at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad and comments from Mike A. Mellano that were captured during the events. 

The Flower Farm Champion award has become a steadfast tradition for CCFC – a chance to honor influencers and givers to the homegrown cut flower cause. 

In 2018, the Flower Farm Champion award went to Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Fisher. Crystal Hedgpeth, floral sales manager for Safeway’s Northern California Division, earned the award in 2017; and in 2016, the recipient was Lois Capps, former U.S. Representative for California’s 24th Congressional district.

For more information:
California Cut Flower Commission
PO Box 90225, Santa Barbara, CA