Califonia Bountiful

For an enterprising farmer, 'flowers say it all'

Brand Flowers is one of the leading cut flower and green nursery operations in California.

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In the quaint, coastal town of Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara, you'll find Wilja Huppe and Brand Flowers, the pet project of a lady who knows a thing or two about growing one of California's most prized commodities.

"I think I know a lot about flowers," Wilja Huppe said.

In addition to being owner and CEO of Brand Flowers, Wilja also chairs the California Cut Flower Commission, a group that strives to help growers market their flowers. It's all part of a dream that started years earlier for this green-thumbed businesswoman.

"I came to the country 20 years ago from Holland," Wilja said. "I was born in Holland and ever since childhood, I knew Holland wasn't big enough for me and that I wanted to explore the world. I lived in Germany, England and they were too small, so I thought about the United States. I ended up in California and started Brand Flowers in 1990."

Today, Brand Flowers is one of the leading cut flower and green nursery operations in California. It has more than a million square feet of cut flower production, specializing in Dutch flower varieties like tulips and lilies, as well as begonias and daffodils from England and hundreds of other flowers that originate all over the world and then come to Brand Flowers in the form of bulbs. More than 30 million of them arrive here every year, where they are then transplanted into the rich soil for Wilja and her crew to grow, market and distribute.

"You can always count on a flower to bring you happiness," Wilja said. "You don't have to get the latest wine or the most expensive car or the biggest diamond-- flowers say it all."

For more information about Brand Flowers, visit

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