Mother’s Day is one of the top holidays for flower sales each year. So, with Mother’s Day this Sunday, I decided it is the perfect time to share with you a behind-the-scenes look into the flower industry.
Did you ever think about the journey a flower takes before it ends up in an arrangement in your home? When we were in Holland a few weeks ago, Mr. Spring and I visited the International Flower Market near Amsterdam where 40 million individual flowers pass through each day. It is the size of 60 football fields and has the largest footprint of any building in the world.
The flowers are grouped and then sold according to color and category. Despite all of the flowers, there is only a hint of floral scent in the air because they are grown for their looks rather than for their fragrance.
It looks like organized chaos with loaded carts going in all directions. We actually saw an accident of floral carts while we were there.
There are four different auction rooms, and each flower goes through at least one of the rooms on a conveyor belt. This is truly a Dutch auction where the prices start high and go down.
This is the screen showing the sale of the orangish rose shown in the lower right hand side. Buyers and brokers from all over the world bid on the lots of flowers.
Most of the flowers are in protective boxes with pictures on them, like these anthuriums, for their long journey.
These flowers have been sold and are ready to go to the airport. The auction building is located right next to Schipol International Airport, outside of Amsterdam. A flower can be picked from a field in Africa or South America, be flown to Amsterdam where it goes through the auction, and then be at a wholesale house in New York City within 18 hours.
These roses are in a quality control room where they are checked for disease, insects and fungus. An outbreak of any one of these could affect the entire industry.
This long tram is delivering flowers to the auction rooms. To learn more about the floral industry, read Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart.
After seeing the process that flowers go through, I have an even greater appreciation for them. So, if you are buying or receiving flowers this Mother’s Day, think about the journey they have been on before they came to you.
First photo from ultimatepartyline.com and remaining photos by Mr. Spring