Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wildcrafting, Green Giving Make Holidays Feel Good at the Farm

Bill Batstone checks out his incense cedars.
It's a season for giving, and many of the beautiful evergreen products at Lynch Creek Farm are good examples of how environmentally friendly holiday decorating and gift-giving can be.

All the fragrant boughs of various kinds of cedars (really cypresses), noble fir and other evergreens are sustainably harvested. Wild species like Western red cedar, Western white pine, and noble fir from the Cascade foothills, as well as the salal that's used as accents, are harvested by specialists with permits from landowners or state or national forests.

Other greens, like the incense cedar and other boughs grower Bill Batstone produces at his farm on Oakland Bay, are plantation grown, with boughs harvested on a rotation so the trees keep producing. In all cases, the sustainable harvest of boughs is managed so that the trees continue to grow and thrive.

Another example of wildcrafting is the harvest of Ponderosa pine cones. The pine forests in the foothills of the Cascade yield an abundance of cones; these are gathered from the forest floor as soon as the trees begin to drop them. They add design interest and texture to the fresh, natural wreaths and swags and some of the centerpieces as well.

Ponderosa pine cones, gathered from
the forest floor in foothills woodlands
 like those the left in the Cascades,
lend textural interest to holiday
 wreaths and centerpieces.

Gifts of decorative evergreens are green in terms of the environment. Once they're no longer fresh and fragrant, they're biodegradable. They don't take up space in the landfill like faded plastic greenery. (Neither do they take up storage space like that vase or figurine from Aunt Ella that doesn't go with anything, but which you have to keep and haul out when she comes for her annual visit.)

Maintaining healthy forests in the area from which the Farm buys its greenery is only part of the story. Lynch Creek Farm ensures that all the noble fir boughs purchased for fresh Christmas wreaths and swags, garland and holiday centerpieces have been certified free from the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum or Sudden Oak Death. This pathogen can affect noble fir and other ornamental and lumber tree species across the country, so it's important to protect those resources with precauationary measures. 

And of course, there's still another aspect of green. Jeanne, a happy customer in Texas, focuses on the figurative sense of the word when she wrote, exulting over her gorgeous, fragrant wreath, "My front door is making all of my neighbors GREEN WITH ENVY!"

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Product Update: Centerpiece is Called 'Home for the Holidays'

The fabulous centerpiece Home for the Holidays.
It's official. It's got a name.

That fabulous, unnamed centerpiece is now called Home for the Holidays. Thanks go to Lynch Creek fans Gail, Joan, Michelle and Rita, all of whom contributed the suggestion of the title.  Each of them got a centerpiece for their bright idea.

And thanks, too, to the contributors of the other four titles and to those who voted on Lynch Creek's Facebook page.

So here it is, abundant and beautiful. It combines fragrant noble fir and Western white pine, accented with faux rose hips in shades of wine and red and a scattering of ponderosa pine cones, encircling a pair of burgundy-colored candles. A burgundy bow with gold edges completes the luscious banquet-sized arrangement. It's the biggest and most elegant of Lynch Creek's centerpieces.

This bouquet is six pounds of holiday cheer, and a bountiful 20 inches across. It reflects Lynch Creek Farm's commitment to the natural environment and to high-quality evergreen decorations. During this celebratory season, this bouquet is so nice to come home to.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fundraising's Fantastic with Lynch Creek Farm Holiday Evergreens

Fundraisers from Olympia show off the new Country
Christmas Wreath, a favorite in their campaign.
Fundraisers are faring fantastically this year in cooperation with Lynch Creek Farm. In its second year of operation, the fundraiser program at the Farm has grown by more than 400 percent.

Across the country, nonprofit groups—faith communities, schools, humane, and philanthropic organizations—are using Lynch Creek's fundraiser program to provide funds to meet their goals.

"We're finding that social media like Facebook provide a really good way for group members to reach out to friends and family members to support their causes," says Lynch Creek partner Mike Maddux.  "It's as easy as posting their Lynch Creek fundraising URL on their Facebook wall so everyone they're in touch with can see it."

The new Golden Pine Wreath is another fundraiser favorite.
Some groups, he notes, are combining the traditional approach with indirect, online sales. They do direct sales and take orders; some even go door to door; but they also encourage  friends and supporters to identify them for credit when ordering their holiday wreaths, evergreen swags, fragrant garland and seasonal centerpieces online or by phone from Lynch Creek.

Others, especially small organizations or those whose members are too busy to work at direct sales, rely entirely on e-mail contacts, using the special URL issued to them when they sign up to raise funds with Lynch Creek Farm.

With a 25 percent share of each sale generated in their campaign, the groups raise some significant money without a lot of effort. Best of all, their friends and supporters get beautiful, fresh evergreen products to enjoy during the holidays.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New, Unnamed Centerpiece Gets A Great Response: Stay Tuned

The about-to-be-named nameless centerpiece.
When the creative folks at Lynch Creek Farm began putting together centerpieces for the current season, they combined fragrant evergreens, faux rose hips, burgundy bows and candles, and ponderosa pine cones for a big, beautiful banquet-sized arrangement.

At that point creativity failed, and no one named the new creation.

It made its debut in our blog on ways to get creative and make your centerpieces span the season from Thanksgiving into the office-party regimen, Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, appearing as a "grand, but not-yet-named, centerpiece."

Autumn leaves can set off the burgundy tones of candles,
bow and berries in the Farm's newest centerpiece
decked out for the Thanksgiving table.
Trouble is, without a title, people can't order it.  So creativity emerged again. Lynch Creek fans on the Farm's e-mail list and on Facebook were encouraged to submit titles. More than 100 people took the time to come up with names.

The next stage is voting. You can join in the fun; go to Lynch Creek's Facebook page and look for the announcement of the finalist names. Choose the one you think is best and vote. Voting will only last a day or two; by the weekend, the centerpiece will have a name.

For now, you'll find it on Lynch Creek's website, in the holiday centerpiece section, labeled as "The Unknown." Things can only get better!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get Creative: Lynch Creek's Centerpieces Can Span the Holidays

This grand, but not-yet-named, centerpiece
is perfect for Thanksgiving when paired with a
base of autumn leaves.
Your holiday centerpiece from Lynch Creek Farm isn't something for just one gathering or event. One fragrant evergreen centerpiece can do a whole lot of holiday decorating, especially if you apply a little ingenuity.

Created from fresh-cut greens, your Lynch Creek centerpiece will stay fresh for weeks with proper care. So you can span the season and create several different looks for different festivities.

You might, for instance, have ordered the Wildlife Centerpiece, with its cranberry-colored candle in a hurricane-lamp shade. Consider resting it on a base of real or faux autumn leaves in golden and bronze tones in the center of your Thanksgiving table.
The same centerpiece shown above
 is perfect for the Christmas table.

Then, for your pre-holiday gathering, make it the center of your buffet table, picking up the red tones of the candle and ribbon with a red table runner. You can do the same with the Farm's newest centerpiece (so new it doesn't have a name yet: watch Lynch Creek Wreaths' Facebook page for a possible naming competition).

Consider the possibilities offered by the Cascade Centerpiece, the Northwest Pillar Centerpiece or the Small Red Holiday Centerpiece (that's the Cascade Centerpiece pictured below with a bit of modification for the Thanksgiving dinner table). You could slip cream or pumpkin-colored candles into the arrangement, and perhaps pull out the picks with the glass ornaments for the time being.

The Cascade Centerpiece can start out
with autumn colors for Thanksgiving.
If you put the original candles and the ornaments aside until December, your centerpiece will take on a new holiday look when you replace the Christmas-red candles and cluster of shiny ornaments.

Some of Lynch Creek Farm's centerpieces, including the Tabletop Centerpiece, Executive's Choice and Bounty Basket, are designed to complement both a Thanksgiving decor and a Christmas one.

Each  of these  centerpieces and several others can harmonize beautifully with the rest of your decor, be it Turkey Day, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas or New Year's Day.

The Bounty Basket is one of Lynch Creek's
centerpieces that's equally perfect for
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To make sure your centerpiece stays lush and fresh, be sure it always has an ample supply of fresh water, and mist it lightly each day.  It's a good idea to remove the arrangement to the kitchen or utility room for the addition of fresh water since overflow might stain table linens or affect the finish of wood tables. For misting, get a spray bottle (available in grocery stores, drug stores and variety stores) and avoid spraying the ribbons on your arrangement.

Keep your Lynch Creek Farm holiday centerpiece in a cool place but out of drafts and strong light, and it will serve as the focal point for your decor from Thanksgiving through all the festivities of December and into the New Year.

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Namesake Centerpiece is a Lynch Creek Signature Special

The Farm's new signature centerpiece.
Introduced this year to celebrate Lynch Creek Farm's increased impact on decorating for the holidays, the Lynch Creek Farm Centerpiece (the LCF Centerpiece, as it's known at the Farm and in the online catalog) is a brimful basket of fragrant foliage and holiday cheer.

"If we're going to name a product after ourselves, it had better represent us well," comments the Farm's marketing guy, Mike Maddux. "The new LCF Centerpiece does just that by overflowing its dark red decorative tin basket with noble fir, white pine and incense cedar."

The selection of the Farm's three most fragrant evergreens is set off with faux rose hips in red and burgundy tones and natural pine cones for a country Christmas look. A gold-edged velveteen bow adds just that bit of glitter.

Enjoy it yourself or give the LCF Centerpiece as a gift.
Priced just right to enjoy yourself or to give as a gift, the Lynch Creek Farm Centerpiece is one of those holiday centerpieces that can take you (or your gift recipients) happily from Thanksgiving to Christmas or Hanukkah or Winter Solstice.

And the attractive signature tin basket is one that can be re-used; plant some miniature Tete-a-Tete daffodils or Dutch crocus in a small pot and, once the holidays are passed, slip the pot into the tin to create a great planter to enjoy in your dining room or kitchen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Country Christmas Wreath Is a Bountiful New Design at the Farm

Members of an Olympia, WA church show off a Country
Christmas Wreath they'll feature in their fund-raiser .
Another addition to the 2011 holiday wreath lineup at Lynch Creek Farm is the Country Christmas Wreath with its delightful farmhouse look and a variety of fragrant evergreens.

This generous 26" wreath is a full eight pounds of noble fir, white pine, Oregon juniper with its purply-blue berries, and gold-tipped cedar, complemented by clusters of bright red winter apples and cranberries. Clusters of lodgepole pine cones and ponderosa pine cones complete the country look, and a red and green plaid bow finishes off the live Christmas wreath.

While the apples and berries are frankly faux, they're reminiscent of fruits traditionally used for decorating at Christmas time.

One lovely tradition involving apples, German in origin, is the Paradise tree, a fir tree decorated with apples that represents the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Perhaps it was an echo of this tradition that surfaced when the Christmas tree was introduced to England by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, from his homeland in Germany.

Colorful fruits and plaid bow create the country look.
Glass fruits, papier-mache fruits, and even fresh and dried fruits quickly became popular ornaments for Christmas trees.

In New England, when Christmas trees became a widespread tradition, people looking for a colorful addition to their Christmas trees strung cranberries in long ropes like dark-red beads. Today, cranberries are available nationwide and grow in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest as well as New England. They make popular additions to more than the holiday table; they add their color to holiday wreaths and centerpieces as well as Christmas trees.

The Country Christmas Wreath is priced at mid-range and is popular with fundraising groups as well as home decorators and gift-givers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Elegant Silvery Wreath and Centerpiece: Keepsake Items Get New Look for 2011

The new Winter Keepsake Wreath.
 Silvery elegance, fragrant evergreens, and seasonal good wishes: everything you want in a wreath or a holiday centerpiece is incorporated into the newly redesigned Winter Keepsake Wreath and Keepsake Centerpiece.  Fashionably understated and glittering with frosty silvertone decorations, these two items reflect the elegant look that's big in decorator circles this season.

The Winter Keepsake Wreath starts out with a combination of Lynch Creek Farm's most fragrant evergreens, white pine, incense cedar and noble fir. Clusters of silvered glass ornaments, silvered foliage, and silvered berries combine with Ponderosa pine cones, and taking center stage is the message "Happy Holidays" in polished nickel. A silvery bow completes the luxurious look on this eight-pound, 26-inch wreath.

Decorate your door with the Winter Keepsake Wreath or hang the luscious wreath over your fireplace for the ultimate in holiday elegance.

The new Keepsake Centerpiece.
Equally enchanting is the large Keepsake Centerpiece. Fragrant evergreens, silvery ornaments, foliage and berries, and polished-nickel greetings fill the base for two stately white tapers. The centerpiece measures 16 by 20 inches and weighs five pounds. It's perfect for the dining table or coffee table, and would serve as the perfect focal point for a buffet spread at your holiday party.

Each of these updated items would make the perfect Christmas gift for friends, family or corporate clients.

Ask the friendly folks at Lynch Creek for a bit of blue to make it the perfect Hanukkah gift or decoration. Whatever holiday you observe, this wreath and this centerpiece say it all for you.