One of our most commonly asked questions at the flower shop is “Where do all the flowers we sell come from?” Helen Blakey Flowers.com
The answer is too lengthy to properly cover but I’ll touch on some of the more interesting points. The flower growing industry has changed quite a bit in the past 30 years that I have been in the flower business. While Holland is still the major supplier worldwide of cut flowers, there are new countries entering the market or increasing their share of it.
When I started most of the roses sold in Ontario were locally grown, now the vast majority come from Columbia and Ecuador with Africa starting to break into our market as well. The shift was mostly due to the expense of heating and cooling local greenhouses and the less than ideal quality of sunlight here. The result is that our roses now have much larger blooms and stronger stems producing a longer vase life.
In the 70’s Columbia was Ontario’s supplier of carnations, now they provide a selection of several other flowers as well. While it’s still a developing industry Columbia and Ecuador have benefited from assistance and investment from experienced growers in Holland. This has increased employment, especially for women, and most farms are trying quite hard to build, develop and invest in schools, daycare and health programs for their employees and their families and communities. Many have attained “fair trade” and sustainable practices accreditation.
There is still a strong grower industry in Ontario. Our flower shop’s mandate is to buy local whenever a local product is available. We carry local gerberas, alstromeria, chrysanthemums and different types of lilies year round as well as many other seasonal flowers through out the year. We always carry locally grown tropical and flowering plants to support local growers and avoid problems caused by acclimatization.
You’ll find the growers who supply our shop in the Niagara, Grimsby and Vineland areas.
Many florists in the Toronto area shop at “the clock” in Mississauga .http://www.ontarioflowergrowers.ca It is a much smaller version of the Aalsmeer flower auction in Holland. Local growers and importers sell their stock to florists at a reverse auction where the price goes down during bidding instead of up.
Our flower shop instead purchases our flowers from a variety of suppliers during the week. Debrimex, Staalduinen, Dick Ormel Inc, Vanderhout and Midland Flowers . We have standing orders with each supplier and can fill in with assorted other flowers as needed. Our shop chose this supply method because we can buy in more frequent, smaller batches, ensuring the freshest possible stock at all times. Having 2-3 different wholesalers delivering to our store every day provides the advantage of being able to get different flowers and colours throughout the day to fill last minute requests. The hard part is not buying too much, the selection is amazing, I wish we could buy them all.