As florists, decorators, and even a wholesale house it is important to stay current with our farms, in regards to production, grading standards, and quality assurance.
Equiflor, one of five leading independent fresh flower growers and importers to North America has shared some of their company’s growing and grading process. As a special bonus Equiflor shared with us Rose Facts and Rose Handling Protocols – special care tips for Roses.
The story about Roses begins with Breeder
The thousands of different roses available today all trace their heritage back to the twelve dozen or so species roses, the ones that grow in the wild. The process of obtaining new roses is called hybridization. In this process, the pollen from one plant fertilizes the ovary of another. The plants from the resulting seeds will all be different and will then be grafted to a wild rose root stock until it is ready to be sold and planted. American Rose Society.
Once a rose variety is ready to become commercial, it is marketed and sold to farms all over the world. The growing regions vary, due to this; greenhouses are made of various materials. In South America, greenhouses are made of metal or wood frames and covered with polypropylene and kept open. The climatic and soil conditions in South America are quite consistent and do not change much in the growing regions of Colombia and Ecuador. The new young plant is then planted in the greenhouse, it will take approximately 9 months before it will produce its first flower. It will not reach full maturity until the plant is about 2 years old.
Once the rose is ready to be harvested by a harvester, each flower bud is inspected for its petal opening stage. Once the bloom is at its peak of maturity it is then cut and immediately hydrated in the fields and brought to the Post harvest.
The Post-harvest is a building which contains coolers and rooms where roses are placed in post-harvest hydrating solutions of citric acid and water with a proper PH and are then cooled , process and graded then packed in boxes and cooled again until they are taken to the airport to be shipped.
Roses are mostly air-shipped from South America to the United States and are cleared by customs and inspected for pests. Once the shipment is cleared they are brought into the facility in Miami and pre-cooled again , inspected by Equiflor team of Quality inspectors and shipped to you !
Quality Control for Rio Roses©
Stringent Grading Specifications
- Unique cut stage requirements for EVERY variety –Every variety is different, and each should be cut at a different time to yield the best possible bloom for the end consumer
- Minimum head/bud size standards –Each grade and variety is measured against its ideal bud size.
- Consistent stem length for each flower in a bunch –Unlike other growers, bloom height is not included in the measurements of the stems
- Foliage removal –Each stem is conveniently pre-processed with 12.5 cm of foliage stripped.
- Even stem cuts –All stems are cut evenly to ensure proper hydration.
- Roses gain considerable bud size in the final 4-7 days before harvest
- Tests prove the more open the cut point—the longer the vase life of roses.
- Offering flowers with open cut-points ensures consumers enjoy huge blooms and great vase performance.
- Petals are super-charged with a high carbo-load for vibrant color and maximum longevity
- Let guard petals GUARD!
- Resist the urge to peel guard petals off roses.
- Peeling hastens opening and starts the internal production of ethylene in the bloom. Rough handling and impact damage happens when boxes are dropped onto pallets or bunches dumped onto work table (think SHRINK!)
- Stresses blooms. Triggers internal ethylene production.
- Bruises petals increasing chance of secondary problem: Botrytis infection
- Keep roses away from ethylene sources: cigarette smoke and car exhaust leaking into front door or back dock, rotting green trash, fruits and veggies. (No food in flower coolers)
Rose Handling Protocols:
- Prep all rose buckets using a hydration formula (no sugar) It kicks start flow, flowers firm up and look great on display
- Fill rose vases with flower food so flowers have energy to open and hold
- Get the dose right. It’s on the label of each bottle
- Use cold water when prepping buckets.
- Fill 1/3—1/2 full. Keep leaves out of solution
- Add ice to bucket solutions 50% ice, 50% cold water
- Do not pour old solutions together when consolidating display
- Refresh buckets with fresh solution
- Cut off 1-2” each stem to remove the bacteria gunk that’s blocking flow.
- When the wrap includes an inner cardboard collar and outer clear sleeve, remove
- cardboard to get air flow inside package
- Let bunches sit out of cooler for 20-40 min. This allows condensation to evaporate
- Use sharp, clean shears or choppers. Avoid ragged ends that advance bacteria explosions
- Keep cooler floors dry (avoid incidence of Botrytis)
- Stack boxes on pallets for good air flow. Also avoids soggy bottoms in case bucket spills
- Avoid standing boxes on end in department. Flowers shift, smashing tip of blooms Temperature
- Respect the cold chain
- Check cooler temperatures–Use a kitchen thermometer and check temp of solution in a cooler bucket. Set point = 34–38F (no higher than 40F)