Favorite Chrysanthemums Guide
Watch Growing Floret
Home About Meet the Family

Meet the Family


Erin Benzakein

Erin Benzakein

Founder of Floret & New York Times best-selling author

Erin is Floret’s founder and is honored to be considered one of the nation’s leading “farmer-florists”—a term used to describe those who specialize in both growing and designing with seasonal flowers. Erin’s work has been featured widely in numerous books, magazines, and websites. Her first book, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: How to Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, published in 2017, won the American Horticultural Society’s Book Award. Her second book, Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers: Designing Gorgeous Arrangements for Every Season, published in 2020, made The New York Times Bestseller List. Her third book, Floret Farm’s Discovering Dahlias: A Guide to Growing & Arranging Magnificent Blooms, is now available from booksellers everywhere. Growing Floret, a documentary television series about the farm, debuted on the new Magnolia Network in the summer of 2021.

A researcher at heart, Erin conducts extensive field trials on a wide selection of flowers and foliage, including many varieties that are highly fragrant, delicate, and not commonly available in the flower industry. She regularly shares her trial results, plus growing tips and photos of her lush fields, via Floret’s popular blog and social media channels. Erin also teaches a six-week course on small-scale flower production to other farmers, designers, and enthusiasts from around the world through the Floret Online Workshop.

Known for her lush, airy, romantic designs, Erin is drawn to old-fashioned blooms. She is constantly pushing the limits of design and broadening the range of material that can be used in arrangements—work that landed her a Martha Stewart American Made Award for Floral and Event Design.


Chris Benzakein harvesting grass

Chris Benzakein

The Heart of the Operation

Chris is the rock that underpins our family. He supported our household when Floret was in its beginning stages, working full-time and helping with the operation evenings and weekends. He taught himself photography and is almost always the one behind the lens, capturing the beautiful, flower-filled images that have been central to our storytelling and our success. He also does the videography for the Floret Online Workshop and all our educational programs. Chris has an amazing work ethic, overseeing construction, soil work, and irrigation repair. He is full of encouragement and great at finding the silver lining in any situation, and he can literally fix anything.


Our Extended Family


Jill Jorgensen

Jill Jorgensen

Production Director

Jill takes things from good to great. With a background in writing, event planning, and floral design, she oversees all new product and content creation, coproduces educational resources and books, and helps bring ideas to life. Jill has played a key role in every phase of Floret’s growth: She was the first florist to buy blooms in the farm’s earliest days and has worked side by side with Erin ever since. Everything Jill touches, she polishes to a shine, and she cares so deeply for the work we do. The phrase most often heard from workshop participants is, “I need a Jill!” She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young kids and has never met a garden rose she didn’t like.

Nikki Boyce

Nikki Boyce

Operations Director

Nikki came to us with a unique mix of farming and operations management experience. After taking Floret’s 2018 workshop and putting what she learned to use on her own farm in Reno, Nevada, she moved to the Skagit Valley, where she manages our Farm Crew and Shop Crew—which means she’s constantly working behind the scenes on workflow, training, inventory, and financials to make sure all of the beautiful things going out into the world are perfect. Her favorite flower is the dahlia, and in her spare time Nikki loves to create by sewing, doing watercolor, exploring, and finding all the best places to eat. Nikki appreciates the agricultural abundance of the Skagit Valley, where everything from flour to produce can be sourced locally. 


Angela Strand

Angela Strand

Marketing & Customer Experience Director

If you’ve ever sent an email to Floret, you’ve likely heard back from Angela with a helpful response. In addition to providing great customer support, she champions our marketing efforts, acts as our press liaison, helps facilitate the Floret Online Workshop, manages our Farmer-Florist Collective, and organizes special projects and events. She has a soft spot for the first spring daffodils and fields full of lupine. A lifelong Washington resident, Angela loves being active in her community, connecting with others, and encouraging positivity wherever she goes. She is a mother to three young children and a menagerie of cats, dogs, chickens, and ducks, and in her spare time, she loves to hike, garden, and work on her family’s 2-acre homestead.

Laura Davis holding white hydrangeas in a row of sweet peas at Floret

Laura Davis

Creative Director

Laura plays an essential role in developing and directing creative work, thoughtfully managing projects to ensure everything goes out into the world with as much beauty as possible. She also oversees all things tech-related, including our educational programs, website, and the Floret newsletter. Before joining our team, Laura helped companies with their branding and digital marketing. She loves the abundance and late-summer magic of dahlias—and how they promote sharing—and she is constantly inspired by the care, beauty, and positivity put into everything the Floret team creates together. You’ll find Laura reading, cooking, gardening, and spending time with friends and family when she’s not at work. She lives with her husband, two girls, and two crazy cats in the Pacific Northwest.


Susi Murillo

Susi Murillo

Nursery & Greenhouse Manager

Susi keeps the farm crops thriving, and in addition to sowing, transplanting, propagating, and feeding the plants, she also heads up the important jobs of irrigation and integrative pest management. Whether she is overseeing farm tasks, taking deliveries, or brewing compost tea, she is constantly learning and growing as much as possible. Susi has so many favorite flowers but she is especially drawn to Iceland poppies in the spring, celosia in the summer, and chrysanthemums in the autumn. When she’s not busy at Floret, Susi loves being close to the water, swimming, crafting, gardening, and reading.

Francisco Gonzalez

Francisco Gonzalez

Facilities Manager

Francisco works hard to keep the fields in ideal shape. He maintains the irrigation systems, low tunnels, hoophouses, and farm equipment, in addition to preparing beds and caring for the berries and the orchard. Before Francisco came to Floret, he harvested vegetables and drove a forklift at a local farm. He loves all flowers that grow on vines, especially clematis and sweet peas. He enjoys spending time with his three kids, traveling, and fishing. Francisco loves the Skagit Valley because it’s close to the mountains and the sea.


Brenna Estrada

Brenna Estrada

Shop Customer Service & Compliance Lead

Most days you’ll find Brenna in our shipping department, staying busy with inventory, customer care, and a million other tasks. Before she came to Floret, she was a 911 dispatcher for 16 years and prior to that served in the U. S. Marine Corps. Brenna says working at Floret is magical; the farm is full of color, and she feels a closeness to the soil. Her favorite flowers are peonies, and in her free time she enjoys being part of a search and rescue team, hiking, working in her garden, and spending time with her three boys at home on Camano Island. 

Eric B Floret

Eric Budzynski

Seed Production Manager

As Floret’s “seed person,” Eric helps guide the planting, roguing, harvesting, and cleaning of our seed crops. Prior to his work at Floret, Eric was a vegetable seed farmer, beginning in Oregon at Wild Garden Seed and then moving to Uprising Seeds in Bellingham. His favorite flower is orach because it’s wonderful in arrangements and bridges the world between vegetables and decorative flowers. Eric lives in northwest Washington and enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, gardening, hiking, live music, and traveling to Vancouver for its vibrant food scene.


Alicia

Alicia Gonzalez

Cultivation & Seed Packing Lead

Before coming to Floret, Alicia had never seen a dahlia, so you can imagine how awestruck she was during her first dahlia season at the farm. As she’s falling in love with new flower varieties, Alicia leads the team in the complex and monumental mission of keeping weeds at bay across the farm, and she also leads the work of the seed packing team. Each day is different. When Alicia isn’t at Floret, she enjoys spending time with her family, being involved with her church, and meeting up with friends. 

Rosario Lopez holding white hydrangeas in a row of sweet peas at Floret

Rosario Lopez

Shop & Harvesting Lead

Rosario came to Floret when we were up to our ears in seed to pack. She jumped right in with her wonderful smile and love for fast-paced work. She enjoys packing and shipping orders in the Floret Shop, keeping the farm tidy, and is always happy to step in wherever she’s needed. Her favorite flowers are red dahlias, and she’s excited to learn all the flower names on the farm. Rosario loves the Skagit Valley weather, particularly summer, when everything is still green and beautiful. When she’s not at the farm, she loves spending time with her 3-year-old son and being at home. She also enjoys going to school and learning to speak English.


Nina Foster

Nina Foster

Creative Support Lead

As a flower farmer and designer in the Skagit Valley, Nina considers Floret her second family and is thankful to take part in the team’s work of bringing beauty into the world. In the early days of Floret she was instrumental in our on-farm workshops, acting as the hostess and making sure that all attendees felt warmly welcomed. Today she assists with photo shoots, book, video, and design projects. She also helps us plan and carry out on-farm events and host farm visitors. Her favorite flowers are narcissus and dahlias, and in her spare time she loves to cook and bake for her family. She grew up in Vermont and remembers searching for trilliums with her sister as they ventured out after long New England winters. Flowers have played an important role in her life ever since.

Floret's Timmy the cat

Timmy the Cat

Loyal Companion

Timmy is Erin’s constant companion as she walks the fields taking pictures and cutting flowers. Timmy first showed up on the farm as a stray, and it took many months of feeding her to coax her into being held. Since orange female cats are rare, we assumed Timmy was a male, and before we realized our mistake, her name had stuck!

Stay in the loop with our updates

Close

Join Us

Join the Floret newsletter and stay in the loop on all the exciting happenings here on the farm

Close