What happens when strict state regulations and the ever-increasing price of water squeeze profit margins; land values rise and buyers come knocking; and then a global pandemic comes along with countless new logistical headaches and costs? For a number of Golden State growers, the decision was easy: cash out and bid the floral industry adieu. Among the growers that exited the business were Ocean View, which specialized in stock, and Skyline Flower Growers, known for snapdragons.
The closing of those and other well-established flower farms is but one factor pinching the supply chain out of California, where as much as three-quarters of the flowers grown commercially in the United States originate. In the November/December issue of Floral Management, contributing writer Bruce Wright investigates the challenges Californian growers and their customers face, as well as new opportunities.
Among the current hardships is oppressive heat. In Fallbrook, California, just north of San Diego — a region traditionally known for its sublime climate — workers at Resendiz Brothers’ Protea Growers now constantly check drippers in the fields. “The water district is talking about increasing rates, which are already high,” says manager Diana Roy. “The frost lines are dropping, so we’re having to change where we grow some crops, and even take a hard look at what’s doing well and what isn’t. You’re not going to continue to water things that aren’t making it.”
One benefit of California’s climate and geography is the diversity, which supports a wide range of crops. From the chilly north of the state to the sunbaked south, California farmers can produce an array of flowers including tulips, lilies, snapdragons, gerberas, proteas and waxflower.
To learn more about the challenges and opportunities for California’s growers, read Up the Supply Chain in the November/December of Floral Management.
Katie Vincent is a contributing editor for the Society of American Florists.