Over the years I’ve been flooded with countless emails and messages asking what I recommend for boots, raincoats, tools, books, jewelry, and camera gear.
With the holidays coming up, I thought it would be fun to put together a big list of things I use on a regular basis and highly recommend. These trusted companies and talented artisan makers inspire me with their commitment to quality, their heartfelt stories, and the way they run their businesses with such integrity and passion. Today I’m happy to share some of them with you.
I hope you enjoy this list and take the time to share some of your own favorites in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
Boots, clothing & jewelry
In our part of Washington, where it stays cool and wet for two-thirds of the year, keeping dry and warm is essential. The team and I have been wearing Bogs for many, many years, and we’ve found them to be the only insulated boots that hold up over time with heavy use.
My personal favorite is the Neo-Classic Mid, and I recently got a pair of the Arcata style, which are great for wet, cold days but are cute enough to wear into town. Chris loves the Classic Ultra High, and the rest of our team members wear a variety of different styles. Our barn entrance is always lined with so many of their boots!
I order men’s sizes since I’m tall and need the extra length, plus the women’s have a bright pink logo that I don’t particularly care for, but the other ladies on our team don’t seem to mind. Our whole team is outfitted in this durable, long-lasting gear, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I have been a collector of Block Shop Textiles for so many years. Sisters Lily and Hopie Stockman started with a small collection of scarves in 2013 made in Jaipur, India, with the goal of supporting and celebrating the Indian hand block printing tradition.
Their business has since grown tremendously, and they now offer a wide range of beautiful textiles including scarves, quilts, wall hangings, and rugs.
For jeans and overalls, I absolutely love Carhartt, especially because they offer long sizing which is hard to find if you’re tall and you can bend over and work without your pants falling down. When I discovered their durable and flattering Double Front Jeans I got worried that they would discontinue them so I bought eight pairs!
For overalls, I have a pair of every style and color they offer but my very favorites are the Rugged Flex Bib Overalls. They are very well-made and super comfortable and they stand the test of time.
I first discovered this jewelry made by Eduard Oganov back when Jasper was a tiny baby and have slowly been adding to my collection ever since. Each piece is handmade out of silver and the semi-precious stones contain healing and supportive energetic properties based on your own needs.
These pieces are a bit of an investment but I’ve found that the benefits far outweigh the cost, plus they are tough and I wear them every day in the garden and they barely show signs of wear.
You can learn more about the jewelry and read descriptions of the different stone properties here.
Tools & supplies
My farmer-florist tool belt is hands down my all-time favorite tool for gardening and flower farming! I’ve been wearing the original prototype of this belt for more than 7 years now and it’s still going strong. This handcrafted tool belt, custom-designed and handmade for Floret by talented leather worker Wheeler Munroe, has revolutionized the way we work here on the farm.
After years of tearing holes in the back pockets of every pair of pants and misplacing phones, pens, and flower snips throughout the day, we’ve found that this custom-designed belt changed everything.
With room for both heavy-duty pruners and flower snips or scissors plus a cell phone, a pen and pencil, and a roll of flagging tape, this tool belt has been a total game-changer. It rests comfortably on your hips, keeping essential tools within reach without adding any extra weight or strain on your back.
This belt is not only a tool but also a keepsake that will serve you for many years to come. Over in the Floret Shop, you’ll find these belts in five beautiful colors.
Finding the right flower snips for the job has been an ongoing quest here at Floret for many, many years. All throughout the season, the team and I spend long hours pinching back plants and harvesting both fresh and dried flowers for seed. We have quickly learned which snips are sub-par. Far too many dulled easily, would stiffen up, were too heavy, or would simply fall apart after moderate use.
After trialing dozens of different pairs, both in the studio and in the flower field, I’ve finally found what I believe to be the perfect flower snips which we now sell in the Floret Shop. Our flower snips are lightweight, they stay super sharp, and last for years. No more aching wrists or sore hands at the end of the day like with other types. Their thin pointed blades are ideal for harvesting delicate flowers like sweet peas and ranunculus but also handle thicker stemmed varieties with ease.
Weeding is one of my least favorite farm chores, and I’m always looking for ways to make this task easier and faster. My three favorite weeding tools are the collinear hoe, the Japanese hand hoe, and the hori hori knife.
The collinear hoe allows you to stand up straight while cultivating. Its thin, sharp blade glides just below the soil surface, cutting off weeds at their roots. The lightweight, upright design turns the tedious task of weeding into a speedy, meditative joy. The ultra-sharp Japanese hand hoe is my all-time favorite short-handled hoe. It’s well balanced, lightweight, and sturdy and makes the process of hand-weeding a breeze. Both of these tools are available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Japanese for “dig-dig,” a hori hori knife is a versatile tool that can be used for digging, sawing, and dividing plants with ease. It is also great for transplanting, weeding, opening plastic bags, and cutting twine. You can find them at A.M.Leonard.
For gloves, I’ve tried them all and always come back to the Atlas brand 370 Nitrile Gloves. They are my daily go-to’s because they are durable, breathable, and easy to clean. They wash up well in the washing machine, but to extend their life, don’t put them in the dryer.
Vases, vessels & flower frogs
For vases and pottery, some of my most treasured pieces were created by Frances Palmer. I first met Frances in 2015 when she came to our farm to attend one of our in-person workshops. We formed a strong connection and have stayed in touch over the years.
I’m in love with her pottery and her photography, and deeply inspired by how she’s grown a very intentional business centered on creativity and staying true to what works for her.
I’ve also amassed quite the collection of Farmhouse Pottery. Zoe and James Zillian are the husband and wife team behind this Woodstock, Vermont-based company.
Their team of artisan potters creates beautiful heirloom quality pieces utilizing old-world techniques. These heirloom quality stoneware pieces are perfect for the kitchen counter or for creating lush, loose, organic arrangements.
We also often receive questions about the metal and brass containers I use for arrangements. Over the years I’ve had fun collecting a variety of pieces from local thrift stores and antique shops. It’s been fun to find lots of second-hand treasures.
For unique vintage gems, repurposed garden, industrial, and farmhouse and barn finds, I’d definitely recommend Old Shed Vintage, Pam’s Past Time Antiques in Sedro Woolley, and the Red Door Antique Mall in Mount Vernon.
For more of my local favorites, be sure to check out the Best of Skagit Valley: A Visitor Guide blog post.
Creating loose, lush, natural-looking arrangements that don’t topple out of the vase requires a few special supplies that help keep flowers in place.
Two of my go-to’s are the hairpin flower frog and the pin frog, both available from Harmony Harvest Farm. These mechanics supplies are my secret weapon when making arrangements that seemingly defy gravity.
Be sure to keep an eye out at your local antique stores because they are a great place to find old flower frogs in every shape and size you can possibly imagine.
I’ve been collecting the little metal cage frogs for years now and they work great when you’re arranging with thick, branching materials.
Bigger farm investments
Over the years we have built nearly 40 hoop houses and greenhouses in half a dozen different styles, and each one has its pros and cons. This past year we discovered Farmers Friend, and I am so impressed with all of the innovative work they are doing to help small-scale growers succeed when it comes to season extension and production.
We recently purchased a 14 by 50 ft (4 by 15 m) Gothic Pro tunnel kit from them and I can’t say enough good things about it. The hoops are pre-bent and all the supplies you’ll need are included (along with great instructional videos) so it’s super quick and easy to assemble. It’s a perfect size for a small farm or big backyard.
Having a cooler to store your flowers or produce is a total game-changer for any farm, but professional coolers normally start at $10,000 and go up from there, which makes them out of reach for most people.
Years ago we discovered the company Store It Cold, which makes this ingenious device called a CoolBot that allows you to transform an insulated room or trailer into a super-affordable walk-in cooler using a standard window air conditioner that you can buy at the local hardware store. We’ve been using a CoolBot cooler set-up for more than a decade, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. You can find more information on the Store It Cold website.
We always get a lot of questions about which cameras we use. Over the years we’ve upgraded our equipment a number of times starting with a Canon Rebel when I was first blogging and then graduated to a Canon 6D.
Both were great, but once we started shooting a lot of video, we needed to upgrade even further. Now we use the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a 50mm 1.4 and the 35mm 1.2 lenses. All of the videos I share on Instagram are shot with my iPhone 10.
The list of books I love grows longer by the day so I decided to devote an entire blog post to them all organized by category including my top 5 favorites for gifting. Read Floret’s Favorite Books.
Family businesses to support
Family businesses to support
I’ve been a fan of Mary Heffernan of Five Marys Farms for many years after discovering her on Instagram, and we’ve since become real-life friends. Mary, her husband, and their four daughters, all named Mary, have a ranch in northern California where they raise Black Angus cattle, Navajo Churro lambs, and Berkshire heritage pigs.
They sell their pasture-raised meats and other farm-produced products direct-to-consumer. We’ve been members of their Farm Club for years and get a monthly box of their pasture-raised meats delivered from their farm to our doorstep—it’s a pretty amazing program!
I can’t say enough good things about the quality, taste, packaging, and customer service (which often includes handwritten notes in each box). Mary has also created a wonderful online business course for farmers and ranchers. She’s an incredible businesswoman and a wealth of information.
In the fall of 2020 Mary’s cookbook, Five Mary’s Ranch Raised Cookbook: Homegrown Recipes from Our Family to Yours was released. It’s one of the best cookbooks on my shelf. All of the recipes we’ve made have been delicious, and the stories and photography are top-notch. You can read my past interview with Mary here—and be sure to follow her on Instagram.
I’d love to hear about the shops, books, or entrepreneurs that are inspiring you at the moment! Please tuck them in the comments section below.
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Floret only lists companies and products that we love, use, and recommend. All opinions expressed here are our own and Floret does not offer sponsored content or accept money for editorial reviews. If you buy something using the retail links in this post, Floret may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!