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Best Flower Shop: Do the Alice Waters thing with flowers 

Freshly Cut

This is a tiny store in a charming North Berkeley neighborhood, filled with seasonal flowers that make the place smell like a wild Sierra Nevada field in spring. It's no wonder Janet Farina's shop has survived more than twenty years: Her floral creations are spectacular. In fact, her arrangements grace many Bay Area restaurants, such as the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, Oliveto in Oakland, and the Kensington Bistro. She has also done flowers for many celebrity weddings in Napa and Sonoma over the years. Here, nothing is refrigerated. Instead, the shop is stocked daily with fresh-cut seasonal flowers. These days Freshly Cut has garden roses, peonies, lilacs, rhododendrons, pale-yellow bearded irises, and long branches of white blossoming spirea. Arrangements are garden-style, which means they look natural and lovely, as if someone had taken a walk through a blossoming garden and filled a vase along the way. The blooms are then wrapped in beautiful floral green and white paper before being delivered to anywhere in the Oakland/Berkeley area for an additional $12-$18. Loyal customers visit the store once a week with vases in hand to get arrangements made to take home. The store sells glass and ceramic vases and can adorn any gift arrangement with a colorful ribbon. Farina does floral arrangements for weddings and other occasions; just be sure to book several weeks in advance. Her vase already is quite full.

Readers' Pick:
Ashby Flower Shop
3000 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley,
510-849-3121

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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