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At Grower Direct we realized very early on that in order to stand above our competitors we had to do things different than they did….A LOT DIFFERENT.
In the last two decades since we first appeared in the retail flower market we have always tried to set the trend in flower retailing by searching out the newest and the best products for our customers. However we also realize that simply finding these products is not enough, we had to develop methods of bring them to market that ensured our customers were receiving the freshest flowers possible. We have accomplished this by;
Dealing with only the finest growers of fresh flowers and taking possession of our flowers as quickly as possible after they are harvested at the flower farms. You can learn more about one of the quality flower farms we work with by viewing this video
Developing and operating our own Cold Chain transportation system from Miami (our North American port of entry from the flower farms in Colombia and Ecuador) right up into Canada. This ensures that our flowers are maintained at temperatures optimum for longevity and arrive at our stores as quickly as possible after the time of cut. In the life of fresh cut flowers and their eventual longevity every hour counts!
The introduction of walk-in coolers in our retail outlets ensuring that proper temperatures and humidity are maintained while our flowers are on display to our customers. By keeping our flowers in a controlled climate we ensure that the largest part of the life span is not used up sitting on a supermarket floor, but is saved for our customers
Strict adherence to the latest in Post Harvest Care methods and treatments, both in our stores and the homes and offices of our customers. Fresh Cut Flowers like people prefer a clean environment and require proper nourishment, and like people when they have these conditions they flourish.
When discussing fresh cut flowers and how to help them reach their maximum potential an extremely critical part of the cycle are the methods and techniques of Post Harvest Care that are used starting at the time of cut. Too often flowers are harvested at the farms and transported to retail outlets only to be subjected to poor or non-existent post harvest care when they arrive. The end result for the customer is often flowers that droop or die literally within hours or days of purchase. So here are the Post Harvest Care steps that are taken within a Grower Direct store to ensure that every flower we sell is ready for our customers
Flowers are known to thrive in an environment where there are few bacteria, plenty of food for energy and continuation of the life cycle, and water uptake is encouraged. So we try to ensure we pay close attention to providing all three in our stores.
Flower shops like restaurants must be kept bacteria free! Why? Flowers like food, simply do not do well when exposed to bacteria. Not only will bacteria cause problems with the actual flower but it can lead to “clogged plumbing” in the stem, thus preventing water uptake. So all flowers buckets, work benches, and floral tools are washed and sanitized on a continuing basis. Cooler buckets are NEVER reused prior to being washed and sanitized using the latest products specifically designed for the floral industry.
On arrival to our stores our flowers never sit waiting around, they are the first priority. Every flower is cut immediately and placed into a clean pail (see above) containing fresh water and flower food (see below) specifically designed for use in our stores coolers. The importance of this process can’t be stressed enough. Flowers like people go through a “healing process when cut, so after the flowers were cut and given a drink at the farm, the cut end sealed over (healed). If we simply placed the flowers in water without citing the bottom 1/2″ – 1” off the stems the stem would have great difficulty drawing water. For this reason we also recommend that you do the same when they arrive in your home or office.
Flowers need to be” fed”, both in our coolers and when they reach our customers homes and offices. When flowers are cut they no longer receive water, food, and growth hormones from the mother plant. So that the cut flower will still bloom and retain its form, colour, and scent we need to provide it with flower food dissolved in in the vase water. This needs to take place at each level of the distribution chain, starting with the grower, at the retail level, and finally with the consumer. Interruption of the “Flower Food Chain” will generally result in a decrease in vase life.
Commercial flower food generally contains a mixture of, sugar (food), an acidifier, an anti bacterial component, and an agent for drawing out debris in the water and keeping the stem (plumbing) free flowing. However the food that flowers require at different stages of their life while similar does have a number of important differences.
In our Store Coolers: Our stores use a fresh flower food formulation designed to provide a minimal amount of sugar (food), and a higher amount of both anti bacterial and agents for drawing water while they are being held in our coolers. The reasoning behind this is simple, the lower level of food slows down the life cycle ( we are trying to save as much of that as possible for our customers) while the higher levels of the other two make sure they get lots to drink and keep any stray bacteria at bay.
In our Customers Homes: With every purchase from Grower Direct we include the right amount of flower food to ensure that our flowers perform to their potential within your home. The little packets of Grower Direct Flower Power flower food we send home with our customers contain a higher level of sugar and less of the antibacterial and the agents to draw water. Again the explanation for this is very straight forward, the higher level of sugar “wakes up” the flowers in your home, and since our flowers have already had their immediate thirst quenched within our stores the need to drink is not as urgent. This way our customers get to enjoy as much time with their flowers as possible.
Now, most of us have heard the “old wives tales” about using aspirin, bleach, seven-up, and a host of other common household items to treat flowers, all we can say about that is… Don’t believe it for a moment! Decades of research has gone into the development of fresh cut flower food to ensure it provides the perfect balance of all the things your flowers require to do their best.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for fresh cut flower care