Before there were flower shops, people either grew their own flowers in a garden, or picked them from the wild. But today’s “flower fancier’ has many different ways to acquire beautiful flowers. In this short article, we will review the pros and cons of the various ways that consumers can purchase fresh flowers.
Where Do Flowers Come From?
Up until about twenty years ago, it was common to see small businesses with a name like, “Susy’s Florist & Greenhouse.” “Susy” usually had a small facility in front with a work bench, display cooler and cash register. When customers came in, it was common to see Susy go back into the Greenhouse to cut some flowers for a custom-made bouquet.
However, as land and energy costs increased, it became less and less practical for this type of operation to survive.
Today, a large portion of the flowers consumed in the US and almost all the roses -- are grown in the highlands of Colombia and Ecuador. The soil is rich, there is ample water, labor costs are low, and the growing season is 365 days long. And by non-stop jet airliner, these locations are just a few hours away from “gateway” cities like Miami.
From these cities, the flowers are distributed to wholesalers, large retailers and a scant handful of retail florists like the Flower Hut, a Charlotte Florist.
Unfortunately, all these processes take time. So there is a genuine risk that once-fresh flowers may deteriorate to the point that their vase life is shortened – sometimes dramatically!
So… How can growers ship fragile flowers worldwide without having them DIE prematurely?
The solution to the problem already exists. It is the reason why we can enjoy FRESH fruits and vegetables even when they were grown and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles from farms to the supermarket.
Cold Chain To The Rescue!
From the moment that vegetables are picked until the time they are purchased by the consumer, vegetables and most fruit are kept under refrigeration. This process is cold the Cold Chain.
It has been adopted, for the most part, by the Floral Industry.
But… there are problems!
In order to keep flowers as fresh as possible, they must be kept as close above freezing (32 degrees F) as possible. (Except for tropical flowers, like Orchids, that are best stored at around 45 Degrees.)
It is potentially dangerous to store fresh flower at 33 degrees. Even a slight malfunction in the cooling system will FREEZE the flowers. So most Floral Coolers are set to keep the flowers at about 36 to 40 degrees F.
That’s what we do at the Flower Hut, and we have an excellent reputation for providing Charlotte Flowers with outstanding freshness.
A broken Cold Chain
There are at least two flower distribution methods that FAIL to maintain proper temperatures.
The first failure is found at many RETAIL establishments that use Open-To-The-Air floral displays. These typically maintain the flower stems at about 40 degrees. The flower heads however are nearly at room temperature! Shown below are some actual Ryobi Laser temperature measurements that the author obtained at some local stores:
A. Air temperature: 78 Degrees F
B. Flower Temperature: 54 to 68 Degrees F
2. Harris Teeter:
A. Air temperature: 72 Degrees F
B. Flower Temperature: 58 Degrees F
A. Air temperature: 72 Degrees F
B. Flower Temperature: 42 to 66 Degrees F
Clearly, if flowers are stored at these elevated temperatures, flower life will be dramatically reduced!
The second failure is found with establishments like 1-800-flowers or ProFlowers that ship in-a-box flowers direct-to-customers. With this distribution method, the cold chain is broken – often dramatically.
That’s because delivery companies like Fed Ex and UPS do not maintain temperature control in their aircraft, distribution centers nor their vehicles. Even worse, if the recipient is not home, the flowers will be left at the door.
And that means that the flowers will quickly “cook” in warm weather or “freeze” in cold weather.
Local Florists Are Your Best Choice
Local florists, like the Flower Hut, are aware of these issues. They do their best to maintain the cold chain as intact as possible. And FRESHER FLOWERS is ultimately what all of us want!
For additional information, please visit the Flower Hut website http://flowerhut.com From there, you may purchase Charlotte Flowers from a REAL Charlotte Florist!
BUT, if you do not want flowers delivered to Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill or Pineville, NC, please do NOT order from us! Take the time to find a REAL florist in the town where you need flowers delivered. You’ll be glad you did!