The Journey Of Flowers - On Valentine's Day
What would happen if you asked all the corn farmers in the United States to deliver all the corn on October 15th, no earlier or later? As a little girl I remember sitting with my Dad in the grain truck at the grain elevator for hours on end, and helping pick corn on Thanksgiving Day. It would be pretty much impossible for every corn farmer to deliver his entire crop on the same day. Yet flower farmers from all over the world deliver their crop a couple days before February 14th. They prepare the entire year for Valentine’s Day and always get it done beautifully.
Where do all the flowers come from?
Most of the flowers you see around Valentines Day come from the South American countries of Ecuador and Columbia. These countries on the equator provide the ideal climate for floral production of roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, and so many other flowers. While South America is a major player in the floral market the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, Kenya, etc. are providers for the holiday too.
How do they grow them?
Precision agronomy for corn, wheat, and soybeans has boomed in the past few years. But the Horticulture/Floriculture world has been doing it for a much longer time, because of the diversity of species the industry handles. With technology and many years of practice, flower producers are able to trick flowers of many varieties into blooming at nearly the same time each year. Still all flowers are hand picked the old fashioned way. Some flowers are harvested up to three weeks before the holiday and held in coolers until they are shipped to the floral shop.
How do they get here?
South America to South Dakota is a long way to travel, especially for a fresh flower. Flowers are flown to Miami, FL (or other US ports) to go through Customs inspections then are dispersed nation-wide to wholesalers and flower shops by plane, train, or refrigerated truck.
How to make my flowers last longer?
Flowers travel a long journey to your home. Once they are picked they begin to die, yet they still ‘should’ last around 3-7 days in your home. Amazing!
To ensure longevity of your flowers buy them out of a cooler. Flowers are preserved when kept at cool temperatures; it puts them to ‘sleep.’
Use flower food. Flower food is specially designed to slow down the dying process.
Replace water and give a fresh cut to the stems at a 45° angle everyday. When water gets cloudy or leaves drop into the vase, bacteria grows and then kills the flower.
Keep flowers away from heat vents and direct sunlight.
When the flower heads begin to droop take the flowers out of water and hang upside down to dry. Dried flowers are great for crafts! Be careful not to allow flowers to dry up in a vase with water or they will mold.
I hope this article shed some light on where flowers come from and increases your own love of flowers. The next time you pick up a bouquet remember someone picked those flower for you from across the world.