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Love me, love the Earth

Valentine's Day goes green with eco-friendly flowers, treats

Eco-sensitive gifts for Valentine's Day include organic chocolates from Maya Gold. Eco-sensitive gifts for Valentine's Day include organic chocolates from Maya Gold. (Essdras M Suarez / Globe Staff)
Email|Print| Text size + By Ellen Wells
Globe Correspondent / February 7, 2008

You drive a hybrid, bring your own bags to the market, keep tabs on your carbon footprint. As an eco-conscious individual, you practice what you preach.

So, what are the eco-sensitive to do on Valentine's Day? What of the emissions created by flying and trucking those beautiful flowers (treated with who knows what) across the globe? What about the wine? The chocolate?

Turns out the floral industry's been listening to such concerns. Programs like Florverde in Colombia and VeriFlora Certified Sustainably Grown in the United States help ensure participating floral farms, handlers, and distributors abide by environmental and social best-practice standards. European flowers, too, have their own certification standards in place. Not every farm and flower is Earth-perfect. But the tide is turning.

Eco-conscious blooms are available if you look for them. Online floral retailers OrganicBouquet.com, 1-800-flowers.com, and others offer florals with a range of eco-conscious labels such as USDA Organic, VeriFlora Certified, and Fair Trade.

Locally, your search for "green" flowers requires work. Boxed flowers may arrive at a florist with certification seals, but once unpacked and sorted, one rose looks like any other. Piper Haggert of the KaBloom flower shop in Swampscott specifically orders VeriFlora-certified flowers for her store. Cass the Florist in Watertown also watches for the certified seals and keeps tabs on the originating farms. Even grocery chains may carry VeriFlora or Organic flowers without knowing.

The best bet is to ask your florist.

Like flowers, organic and biodynamic wines are available for the asking. Brix Wine Shop in the South End and South End Formaggio both carry a wide array of organic wines. Don't count on always seeing a USDA organic label though. Many of these wines come from France, Italy, and Spain where makers craft wines using long-held family traditions. A few to look for are: López de Heredia Rioja, Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier, Buondonno Chianti Classico, and Domaine Des-Fouques Cotes de Provence. On this side of the Atlantic, California's Coturri Winery is dedicated to producing wines that are 100 percent organic and sulfite-free.

Organic chocolate is easier to find, especially at chain retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and at local shops such as Flat Black Coffee Co., Savenor's Market, Cardullo's in Harvard Square, and Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge (and South End). Look for the USDA Organic and Fair Trade logos on chocolate from makers Dagoba, Lake Champlain, Art Bar, and Green & Black's. Endangered Species Chocolates puts an eco-twist on chocolate by donating 10 percent of its net profits to environmental organizations.

Somerville organic chocolate maker Taza Chocolate has a V-Day appropriate gift box emblazoned with a Mexican-style heart. It's carried locally at Formaggio Kitchen, the Wine Gallery in Brookline, Magpie in Davis Square, and Boston Organics in Charlestown. Taza will also host an Open House Saturday from 1-6 p.m. at 561 Windsor St.

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