A busy morning in the flower shop, especially when two of us show up wearing matching flannel shirts.

Getting up very early three times a week is the core of my life and my business. Being able to see and choose from what just arrived either off a delivery truck, came out of that box or cut from that field, is the best part of my day.

The flower shop in all its Spring glory with branches of cherry blossom, tall pink French tulips, lavender sweet peas, hyacinth and hot pink roses.

Freshly Cut Florist

It was 1982 when I noticed a new foundation being laid in a vacant lot that was previously owned by the produce market in my neighborhood. This small pie shaped wedge was home to a big billboard, empty cardboard boxes that produce arrived in, and best of all the huge pumpkin patch in October. They had outgrown their current location and were moving across the street to a much larger, vacant store. My husband and I stopped and I started asking a long list of questions about the upcoming building. By the time we drove away I was committed to a new adventure and was soon to open my very own flower shop.

I said it was my neighborhood because I already had a little history here. Previously I had worked at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery and loved shopping in the small food stores in the surrounding neighborhood. I really knew nothing about running or owning my own business, but with the help of my husband, we rolled up our sleeves and came up with a plan. My years at BHN got me hooked on growing perennials and deciduous flowering shrubs that grew best in our garden at home. One thing led to another, a class here and there, and Freshly Cut became a reality.

The flower business was much different in my early years than it is now. Grocery stores did not start selling cut flowers till the 90s, now all grocery stores do. And the San Francisco Flower Mart with its growers and wholesalers was male dominated. Women worked in the flower shops but men did the buying and owned the businesses. These days I think it is starting to reverse, we girls rule the roost.

Bean and Blue, two of our favorite furry friends. Installing a large flower arrangement on the mantle at the International House on the Cal Campus. Floral designer Gwynne holding a bouquet of dahlias at Freshly Cut.
One of the many fruit labels for California grown Flame Tokays from my Dad's produce business.

When I was a kid my Dad owned a packing shed in Lodi California, so the privilege of having seasonal fresh produce was special to me. He would come home with wood crates filled with asparagus in the Spring, followed closely behind with cherries, apricots and peaches, and ending his year with table grapes. We were a lucky family.

An early photo taken from inside one of the terminals at the San Francisco Flower Market.

The California Flower Market in San Francisco has been at the center of the wholesale flower industry in the Bay Area for over a century. Founded as a place to bring locally grown flowers to market by Japanese immigrant flower growers in 1912. Today the market is a bustling hub of early morning activity with local growers selling a wide variety of seasonal blooms and wholesalers selling flowers from around the world and shipping locally grown flowers to the world.

My 1982 market badge from the San Francisco Flower Growers Association.
I’m always seeking the freshest and best flowers available, the kind of flowers that my client’s can’t get from any other venue.

Today Freshly Cut has grown into the best flower shop in Berkeley with a selection of top quality flowers second to none. Because of the many personal relationships with growers, wholesalers and importers formed over time, I am able to offer the best that they grow. Very often every season only has so many special flowers available and it is because of these relationships that I get the best of the best.

Nothing is better than a ceramic vase filled with lilac and peonies at Freshly Cut.

Just wanted to write a note of thanks for the creation of such an exceptional bouquet. Diane received the flowers today and she sent a picture: absolutely breathtaking! My boyfriend and I live across the country and really wanted to send something special for her birthday—the bouquet of flowers you made totally fit the bill. I am now in nursing school but I was in organic farming for seven years; sweet peas were always my favorite flower to grow and my favorite to smell out in the field! So happy to see sweet peas in the mix. Thanks again!   Best, Alana

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A natural garland of orange abution, green hellebore and ruscus greenery.

1301 California Street
Berkeley, California 94703

510 525-3751

Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 6pm

Every season has it’s bounty and we will notify you when it arrives.

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