Oregon Flowers is honored and humbled to win at the SAF Outstanding Varieties competition with Lilium Zelmira. Winning the Best in Show and Best in Class cut flower bulb was a big surprise to the family and business. To top it off, winning the People's Choice award at the end of the convention made it all that much sweeter. "Thanks to SAF for putting together such an amazing convention. We came home with new energy to produce our Oregon-grown flowers," says Tyler Mesker with the company.
Gabriel, Martin and Tyler harvesting the lilies Sunday morning before the show. Martin took the flowers as a carry on to Orlando Florida.
‘Zelmira’, a salmon Oriental Hybrid lily presented by Oregon Flowers, charmed judges with its vibrant (and in demand) coloring, perfect foliage, and consistent blooms to win the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition, held in conjunction with the organization’s 137th annual convention in Orlando.
“I was not surprised this took the top prize,” says judge Lani Callister, fresh flower manager for Ensign Wholesale Floral in Salt Lake City, Utah, who adored ‘Zelmira’s’ peachy-pink petals — a shade her customers request year-round. “You can’t find any flaws with it. The foliage is perfect. The stems are strong. The blooms are consistent. Oregon Flowers lives up to their reputation for quality lilies.”
The Best in Show win was a delightful surprise for Oregon Flowers, which has consistently entered the competition for more than 20 years. “We’ve had many blue ribbons and Best in Class ribbons, as well as a few People’s Choice wins,” says Martin Meskers, AAF, president and CEO of the Aurora, Oregon company. “But this is our first time getting Best in Show. It shines a light on all our flowers and our team back at home, who spent months preparing these lilies to be ready at just the right stage for this occasion.”
Meskers thanked SAF for hosting the competition. “It has done wonders for elevating our products and connecting us with customers, who provide valuable feedback,” he says. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”
Zelmira was among 220 entries from 27 companies.