Customers of florist BJ Dyer, AAF, AIFD, consider him their resident rose expert.
When they ask about color variations, Dyer explains the amount of sun a bud was exposed to can alter coloring. When they ask about pricing for red and white roses, he shares that those colors are more labor intensive to grow — red because they need shade to avoid scorching and white because they bruise easily and require extra care.
That knowledge came from Dyer’s trips to South American farms, and he says those visits have given him a deeper understanding and a better appreciation for what it takes to get a rose to his Denver, Colorado shop, Bouquets, a two-time winner of the Society of American Florists’ Marketer of the Year award.
“Those are things I would totally be unaware of if I hadn’t gone down there,” he says.
Traveling to farms in the U.S. or abroad isn’t practical for many floral professionals and that’s why the Society of American Florists has organized a panel of experts to present a flower’s journey from breeder to vase at the association’s Next Gen LIVE! event July 31-Aug. 2 in Miami, Florida. The session, “The Life of a Flower,” will give attendees an industry overview of breeding, cultivating, harvesting, selling and transporting flowers.
“We take for granted the product that we sell and promote,” says SAF President-elect Oscar Fernandez, director of sales at Rio Roses-Equiflor, and one of the panelists. “A lot of times we lose sight of the fact of what it takes, and all the work that goes into creating a variety and bringing it to market. The amount of steps that occur along the way is something that, as you start learning about it, opens your eyes to a new world.”
Understanding the life of a flower ultimately helps everyone in the industry understand pricing, availability, quality, variety and more, Fernandez says, which is especially relevant given the challenges of the past two years. During the session, Fernandez will give an overview of the importing business, from how the flowers make it to the U.S. to how importers estimate flower needs months in advance.
The panel also includes Santiago Brown, director of research and development at Ball FloralPlant, who will discuss how a new flower variety is created and how much time and effort is spent on development; Rodi Groot, director of sales at Sun Valley Floral, who will discuss how the company decides which flowers to grow, the costs associated with production, and how the flowers are harvested and prepared for shipping; and David Armellini, president of Armellini Logistics, who will discuss what it takes to receive, sort and transport flowers from Miami and farms in California, all while keeping the flowers in the cold chain.
“It is mind-boggling,” Fernandez says of the process. “It gives you a great appreciation for our industry.”
Mercedes Castro, marketing manager at In Bloom Florist in Orlando, Florida, is attending Next Gen LIVE! because she says sessions such as this will give younger floral professionals an opportunity to understand the industry on a larger scale.
“This industry is ever-evolving and I believe this event will give our generation insight on how we can make this industry bigger and better than ever with fresh ideas,” Castro says. “I’m eager to learn more about the process of farming, transporting, and logistics in the floral world.”
For more information on Next Gen LIVE!, including registration information and a schedule of events, click here.
Amanda Jedlinsky is the managing editor of SAF NOW.