I met a florist today and I asked him if he was aware of flowers that can and can't go on a cake. He said, "Yep" and I said, "like hydrangeas?" and he said, "Hydrangeas?" I told him they were a toxic flower and he didnt' know that. I said, "My understanding is that the ranking is poinsettias, hydrangeas and then all others."
So do NOT depend on the florist do know food safety issues. They deal in flowers, not food. As the food provider, I see it now, more than ever, that it is our job to educate the brides and tell them the food safety issues involved.
Just an interesting conversation that I thought I'd share.
Good insight, thanks Debi!!
I would have thought they would be the go-to person to find what is safe and what isn't.
Boy, thanks for letting us know.
At least we can count on each other for help.
Hmmmm maybe it's just me, but you would think the florist would know what flowers are harmful.
Hey and I'm #1 on the plant list!
Don't forget, along with which flowers are poisonous or not, you also have to consider if the flowers they are using are pesticide free as well.
Wow! Thanks for that Indy! I do not do weddings or any cake with real flowers currently but I would have just assumed that the florists would know that.
I could picture it now...me assembling lovely cake I spent hours on and then placing very pretty flowers on it...only to poison the guests.
I trained to be a florist years ago and worked as a florist for a short time.
Poisonous flowers were never discussed that I can remember. Toxic flowers only hurt you if they are ingested or put on the skin - they are not expecting floral arrangements (back then anyway!) to be stuck in cakes or food.
Florist do not have to be sanitary either - flowers are quiet frankly, nasty. If someone is wiping their nose they just keep on going, if they sneeze or cough on the flowers it is not an issue. The flowers aren't going to get sick! The buckets they are kept in often are just that - a bucket with flowers that often had dirt on them or sand. UGH.
I have 3 times let brides put real flowers on my cakes - but never again. I met with a bride today that asked about real flowers on her cake and I very nicely told her that I used to be a florist and flowers aren't sanitary in any shape form or fashion (keep in mind though neither or potatoes, carrots, etc!!! but that is why we wash and scrub them before eating!) and that sugar flowers came in any color and shape she could imagine. I also said that if a florist messed up the cake, while I wouldn't be responsible, it would still reflect on me and my product. She understood and bought sugar!
That's crazy Indy! I would have thought they would know. Just goes to show you, that we just need to know the answer ourselves.
I actually have this clause in my contract- "you agree that XXXX is not responsible for placing fresh flowers on your cake. You also agree that fresh flowers are not a food item, may be toxic or poisonous, and may contain dirt, bugs, pesticides or other chemicals. XXXX cannot be responsible for issues arising from the use of fresh flowers."
I discuss this with them at the tasting, and I am constantly surprised at the number of people that still want fresh flowers.
I have three books on my shelf right now that talk about making lavender honey, edible flower salads, rosemary wreaths....I could go on and on. Maybe when Martha Stewart stops showing desserts and salads and drinks with little violet blossoms and pansies and nastursiums, and ROSE petals in salads....people will not think about it. I mean, I see these examples everywhere. Some flowers are perfectly safe for food (even cakes) and even are used as ingredients in some recipes. Clean, organically, properly prepared flowers that is.
I always tell brides about the issue of foreign-grown flowers, and the lack of regulations about what "fertilizers" (yes, let your mind go where that word takes you) that they can use in other countries. A florist I know tells his brides not to use fresh flowers on the cake at all just because of that, not even because of the toxicity issues, which says a lot. And just to clarify, yes, some South American countries let you use human waste (of every type) for fertilizer.
Czar....that was just nassssstyyy! I remember watching a movie once, can't remember what it was called, and I THINK the main part of the story was girls in Colombia being recruited as heroin mules (swallow condoms full of heroin and ummm, wait for them to pass once they reached the States) to the US. Anyways, the worked in these rose packaging factories....packed in there like sardines just cutting, de stemming, and wrapping roses all day long. Probably in real life, the conditions were much worse than portrayed. I don't think there is a lot of emphasis on hygiene in those places. Barf!
I don't use fresh flowers in my cake designs, for all of the reasons described here. I do, however, use some fresh flowers in my desserts and other recipes, but I get those flowers from my PRODUCE supplier, NOT a florist. These flowers are grown specifically for consumption. I would never let anything from a florist touch one of my cakes.