From a mobile Southern general store dishing out blackberry jam, buttermilk biscuits, and bread and butter pickles to Croteaux Vineyards Rosé on the Run truck, we’re lucky to have some of the sweetest mobile pop-ups on Long Island. But the dreamiest of them all has to be the 1976 blue Ford F100 pickup truck that recently began rolling around the Island as a mobile florist.
Jaclyn Rutigliano and her husband Marc Iervolino launched Hometown Flower Co., Long Island’s mobile and digital florist, this past spring. They sell sustainably grown, local flowers exclusively through their pop-up flower truck, appropriately named Baby Blue, and through their website, directly to homes and businesses.
“It’s a passion project,” says Rutigliano, who, although she grew up in the flower industry—her grandparents founded Jack & Rose Florist in the 1940s which her parents scaled to a floral event production company now based in Woodbury—went into marketing and public relations as a career. “I didn’t have any interest in flowers in general but I started doing floral designs as a way to relieve stress, cutting them in my backyard and it became a form of meditation.”
The pair started talking about going into business together: “My wife is brilliant and I’ll follow her anyway,” Iervolino says.
When they found Baby Blue in Huntington the pieces seemed to fall into place to start the mobile florist business.
“We’ve always loved old cars and as soon as we saw Baby Blue—we pulled up it was in perfect condition, with 95,000 miles, the original color, it was love at first sight and just matches our personality,” Iervolino says.
You can catch Hometown Flower Co. at the Roslyn Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the Babylon Farmers Market on Sundays and at other places throughout the Island by following their Instagram. They offer several different sizes of arrangements, designed only from what they can source from 10 farms on Long Island and in Queens, including North Fork Flower Farm and Salt Air Farm that they formed direct relationships with and the arrangements are available as one offs, or as a weekly, biweekly or monthly subscription similar to a CSA. Each arrangement is completely different.
“We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” says Rutigliano. “We don’t make special requests but we’re finding that people like the surprise of seeing what we’re going to have.”
The flowers are also probably some of the freshest you’ve probably ever had. Years ago the United States had a vibrant floral growing industry with 80% of flowers sold coming from local growers but today, as more flowers come from overseas, that number is only 20%. All of the flowers Hometown Flower Co. sells reach their customers within two to three days of being harvested, according to Iervolino. And unlike your traditional flowers, which may have to get on a plane before they get to you, Hometown Flower Co’s flowers are not subjected to any unneeded pesticides or chemicals.
Throughout the summer, Hometown Flower Co. will also be offering floral design workshops including some on-farm foraging sessions out east. But the pair hope to be able to support the farmers year-round by continuing to design arrangements with what’s seasonally available.
“I tend to design with wild and natural things and we want to do it year round with evergreens, branches, berries,” Rutigliano says. “We want people to understand that you can source beautiful flowers right here on Long Island but you have to shift your expectations and embrace unique flowers.”
For more on Hometown Flower Co., please visit their website.