For the past few years, fresh cut flowers are enjoying an increasing all year round demand. Fresh flowers have always been a commodity of necessity, be it in the form of a bouquet to cheer up an ailing friend, or to add charm to the beautiful new vase in the drawing room or buying bulk flowers online to decorate the venue for any occasion. The seasonal availability issues of fresh flowers are also wrapping up with extensive use of postharvest technology, so demand for most species of flowers is up all through the year.
Well, with florists all around your neighborhood and fresh cut flowers reaching your doorstep at just the click of your mouse, have you ever wondered how these beautiful blooms grown in some part of the country reach you so fresh and alive? Let’s take a ride through the postharvest procedures of the lovely blooms that we so love and admire.
Harvesting is the process of cutting the flowers from the mother plant for preservation and sale. Attention to proper care and details is prime in the process of growing flowers. Similarly, flowers are harvested with the utmost care at the right time at the proper length with a sharp knife. These bases for harvesting vary from species to species. On a general note, blooms are harvested at the early hours of dawn before the sharp sunlight can hit the fragile petals.
Soon after the harvest, these flowers are put through a process called conditioning. Here, the stems are shortened further for quicker absorption and dipped in a solution of silver thiosulphate for over 2 to 3 hours. This procedure is to prevent the blooms from the self-induced aging hormone ethylene. Ethylene is released by flowers and fruits in response to the heat generated from the environment in which they are kept. So conditioning is essential to curb early aging of the flowers.
Once the conditioning is complete, the flowers are then subjected to grading. This process is simple terms refers to quality check. Not every flower that was harvested meets the satisfactory quotient to be shipped and sold to consumers. Usually, these fresh cut flowers are graded according to the length of the stem which is in general 18 to 24 inches for a majority of species. This is done by a sorting machine. Also, faded and damaged flowers are sorted by hand and discarded.
Having found their way through the quality checks, these blooms are now bunched. Bunching is the processing of classifying and grouping the flowers according to weight, bunch size and the number of flowers as part of getting them ready to be shipped. Different flowers have different standards of being bunched. For example, roses are grouped into bunches of 25 flowers whereas chrysanthemums are bunched as a group of 10 to 12 flowers of equal sizes. These flowers are then wrapped with waxed or parchment paper for further protection in a process known as sleeping.
These bunches of flowers are now packed to be shipped to various destinations. This is a crucial process as the flowers are highly prone to damage and withering during transportation. To ensure that the flowers stay safe and fresh, they must be packed properly. The blooms are usually stacked in cleats and case of tall flowers, and hampers are used.
There are two different ways of packing the fresh cut flowers. They are the dry packing and wet packing. Dry packing is the packing of flowers out of solution at optimal humidity and temperature conditions. The flowers that are dry packed are immediately rehydrated on arrival with a solution of deionized water, citric acid, germicide and wetting agents. Contrarily, wet packing is ensuring that the flowers are dipped in the solution throughout the journey.
Shipping and delivery:
These packed fresh cut flowers are now shipped to reach the consumers spread across the globe. The flowers are shipped in storage coolers which are refrigerator units designed to maintain the ideal temperature to keep the flowers fresh, healthy and alive. The flowers are shipped short distances via trucksand flown too far away destinations.
The final step in the journey is the delivery of these blossoms to the consumers. The traditional route of distribution of these fresh cut flowers was from the grower to the auction, auction to the shipper, shipper to the broker, broker to the wholesaler, wholesaler to the retailer, and finally from the retailer to the consumer. These days, there has been an extensive elimination of the intermediaries, and the flowers reach the consumer from the farm passing through just two or three intermediaries.
Buying of wholesale flowers or bulk flowers online has further reduced the distribution chain. You can place an order of your specifications with the wholesaler online and have the wonderful flowers delivered at your doorstep. It has become as simple as that. Whole Blossoms provides the best fresh wholesale flowers.
With that, we come to the end of this intricate yet interesting process of bringing the fresh cut flowers from the farm to our home. So the next time you hold a pretty flower in your hand, you will know the journey it made to reach you!!