Checking the MarketFresh™ Flower Pulse Before Valentine’s Day

A Pre-Valentine Flower Farm Report

by Joe Barnes, Marketing Manager, Kennicott/Nordlie

Valentine’s Day 2018 is heating up, and florists across the country are preparing for a busy week ahead of February 14th. The economy is doing well, and consumers are experiencing a nice uptick in discretionary income. Expectations are high for heavy Valentine’s floral purchases, but what can floral businesses expect in terms of overall quality and availability?

Our farm liaison in South America has given us a report on weather conditions, crop notes and postharvest processes to better inform florists on what to expect ahead of receiving their flowers.

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Optimal Weather Conditions in Colombia

After visiting 10 farms in different areas of the Savanna of Bogota over a recent 10-day window, our grower-liaison Elena Diaz offered her account of the weather. ”This year we didn’t experience any freezes or extreme hot weather during the first weeks of January,” Diaz reported. “That means head sizes will be large, without crispy petals or extreme blackening.”

Cloudy and chilly conditions in January, with lots of rain and intermittent sunshine has helped growers yield incredibly high-quality roses and other varieties, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Wet conditions do present challenges in keeping diseases (like Botrytis) from flourishing, but quality growers like those screened by Kennicott/Nordlie’s MarketFresh™ program adhere to strict practices to keep such maladies at bay. Avoid heartbreak on Valentine’s Day by sticking to a network of flower farms who take the proper steps to curtail hazards on the front-end of the growing process.

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MarketFresh™ Production

Most of the farms Diaz visited expect the timing of their harvest to occur imminently, ensuring ideal timing for seamless delivery ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Production-wise, a few farms have switched from using soil to hydroponics, a practice that allows for more control over the many stages of the growing process. The hydroponic method, in short, uses a customized solution (instead of soil) to deliver nutrients to the plants. This allows absorption of fertilizer at a constant, calibrated rate - giving a more consistent look and quality across all flowers, as opposed to those grown in soil.

Both methods, if properly executed, produce quality roses, but hydroponic production further perfects nature’s process with more “even” results and timing.

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Post Harvest and Head Size

Once your Valentine’s roses are cut, they are packaged in specially-designed boxes to avoid damages in transit. They’re immediately introduced to a closely-monitored cold-chain until they arrive at your local distribution center. From the staging process, through their journey to your shop, your Valentine’s Day flowers are never kept at a temperature deviating from 37.4°F to 39.2°F.

Most MarketFresh™ farms’ roses adhere to a minimum head size 0.5 cm larger than the standard required by Kennicott/Nordlie (one that is already a step-up from the typical flowers available on the market.) This boost in size will allow floral designers (and their customers) to enjoy bigger, better roses for their beloved Valentine’s Day creations this year.

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What is MarketFresh™?

Kennicott/Nordlie offers this (and other) special program(s) for its qualified customers as a means to order premium flowers each week from verified growers around the world. Offers are shared via email each Wednesday with a 2-day ordering window. Delivery occurs approximately 10 days later. Amazing value on roses, hydrangeas, callas and many more varieties are shared via the MarketFresh™ specials – all representing the very best products available industrywide.

We add value to the importing and distribution process by leveraging our strong relationships with the world’s best growers, bringing premium flowers to market at the lowest possible price. Kennicott/Nordlie serves 10 states from 16 distribution centers, and are experts in cold-chain logistics, direct-store delivery, and post-harvest processing.

For more information on receiving weekly MarketFresh™ specials, contact us today, or sign up to become an approved customer. All approved customers will automatically start receiving weekly MarketFresh™ and other emailed flower specials after being issued their verified account number.

Weaving Nature: How to Get The Most Out Of Fresh Garland

by Joe Barnes, Marketing Manager, Kennicott/Nordlie

Today’s wedding and event floral concepts are often accompanied by fresh garland, a charming accent that weaves natural textures and tones throughout any interior space. From table runners to backdrops and cake-wraps, fresh garland is available in a wide range of pre-fastened greens – all of which add unique qualities to the palette of your design.

fresh garland 1Photo: Modern Day Floral, Grand Rapids, MI

Adding fresh flowers to the mix

Whether you use white garden roses or pink peonies, fresh flowers can bring to life virtually any mix of garland. Think of the garland as your vase, and let the natural grandiosity of your bride’s favorite flowers complement the green bay leaves or blueish tones of eucalyptus within the garland itself.

fresh garland 2 rev1Photo: Ludema’s Floral & Garden, Grand Rapids, MI

Sometimes fresh garland serves as a useful canvas for adding fresh flowers to create arbors and large-scale designs. The team at Ludema’s Floral & Garden (Grand Rapids, MI) created this amazing arch without using any wire cages or foam.  “We ordered the extra full Sprengeri / variegated Pitt garland, and doubled it up,” said shop owner Allison Ludema. “Then we used corsage glue to attach all of the roses. It worked great!”

Things to know when buying garland for your wedding or event

Ordering Window: The “2-3” Rule: When ordering fresh garland, always remember the critical “2-3” rule.  The rule has two parts: a) place your order 2-3 weeks before your event, and b) plan a delivery date at least 2-3 days ahead of the big date. This allows for assembly, product availability, and gives time for your chosen greens to reach their full visual (and, in some cases, aromatic) peak.

Customize your Size: Your garland is put together by the even foot. Before ordering, take the time to determine how many pieces you’ll need for the job, and at what length.  For example, you may require (17) eight-foot strands, (10) two-foot strands, and a single strand that is 36 feet in length.  DO NOT CUT the garland after receipt, as doing so could cause it to unravel.

Keep Your Garland Cool and Misted: Upon receipt, be sure to mist your garland every couple of days with water.  This will provide longer-lasting freshness leading up to your event. Store the garland in a cool dry place, away from heat and direct sunlight. Shedding is normal, so plan for a small amount of cleanup as you work with it.

Which garland mix is right for me?

Ask your wholesale representative about the wide selection of garland available from California and Florida. There are too many types and combinations to fit into one blog post, but here are a few examples, just to get you started.

Bay Leaf

fresh garland bay leafPhoto: Ludema’s Floral & Garden, Grand Rapids, MI

Bay Leaf garland has a wonderfully sweet scent; a pleasant herbal fragrance that captivates guests and induces a naturally-relaxing atmosphere. Casting a classic green hue, Bay Leaf garland serves as wonderful backdrop for added flowers, or on its own. Typically, the fresh bay leaves are still drying upon your garland’s arrival; they will completely dry out within 1-2 weeks, unless misted periodically.

Silver Dollar & Seeded Eucalyptus

fresh garland eucalyptus 1Photos: Ludema’s Floral & Garden, Grand Rapids, MI


fresh garland eucalyptus 2Photo: Modern Day Floral, Grand Rapids, MI

Eucalyptus is beloved for its greenish-blue color and lush texture.  The curved leaves and unique aroma have secured its place as a top-choice for wedding and floral designers everywhere.  Eucalyptus will maintain its color, even after the foliage completely dries out, adding to its versatility.

Nagi, Podo & Green Pitt

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Photos: Modern Day Floral, Grand Rapids, MI

For a cornucopia of texture and variety, consider garland with a triple mix of different greenery. One popular option includes the strong scent and grayish green leaves of Pittsoporum with the thin leaves of Podo and the large, deep green leaves of Nagi.

For more info on fresh garland, contact your Kennicott or Nordlie sales representative.