Brentwood magazine

Flower supply chain issues prompt some BC shoppers to seek local produce

VANCOUVER — It was stubbornness that led a Vancouver Island family farm to continue growing roses when competitors left the industry or shifted production to marijuana years ago.

VANCOUVER — It was stubbornness that led a Vancouver Island family farm to continue growing roses when competitors left the industry or shifted production to marijuana years ago.

Today, Kristen Bulk says international flower shortages combined with the Valentine’s Day crisis are creating increased demand for local roses from Eurosa Farms, which bills itself as the only year-round producer of standard cut roses in the world. Canada.

“It’s all on deck, so to speak. We’re certainly moving as quickly as possible to get our product out to everyone,” said Bulk, who works in Eurosa’s accounts in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia.

Supply chain issues and fluctuating demand during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen players in the flower industry strap in for a roller coaster ride like so many other industries since 2020. Between the ban weddings and the difficulty of securing space on cargo planes before flowers wilt, flower supply and demand calculations have been a moving target for retailers and wholesalers.

Vince Van Randen, a cut flower buyer for West Coast Floral in Surrey, said B.C. was somewhat protected thanks to local growers and a major flower auction site in Burnaby, but the province doesn’t is not spared.

The price of imported flowers has risen dramatically and it has been difficult to secure supplies amid limited cargo flights and problems with truckers crossing the border, he said.

The demand has also driven up the cost of local flowers by around 30%, he added.

“Overall it’s been, I wouldn’t say difficult, but it’s been different to what we’ve been used to so far in accessing flowers for sale,” he said, adding d other trends like people buying houseplants at the start of the pandemic. misplaced request.

The wholesale distribution company, which also has a small retail center and greenhouses, pursued a mixed strategy of pre-booking orders and replacing international suppliers with local suppliers, Van Randen said.

The disasters have added another challenge, with flooded farms in the Sumas prairie making tulips especially hard to come by, he added. The darker, wetter fall weather didn’t help either.

Roses, which grow best in southern climates, have traditionally been cheaper to import, but many California growers switched production to crops like vegetables when faced with an uncertain future at the start of the pandemic. , did he declare.

In other parts of the world like Ecuador, Van Randen said, growers were queuing at the airport to get flowers on a cargo plane, but after waiting five days in one case, the flowers fell off. withered.

Pre-booking orders with vendors has become essential to ensure the business has flowers for its customers, he said.

“It definitely changed the way we do things,” he said. “It has dramatically changed our industry over the past two years.”

Vivian Liu, owner and chief florist at Arbutus Florist in Vancouver, said while prices are up, she hasn’t noticed a shortage of flowers beyond exotic blooms like ranunculus and anemones. The boutique’s pre-booking of roses happened this Valentine’s Day, she said.

The price of roses nearly doubled for Valentine’s Day, but she said the store only raised prices by 25%.

Christmas was tougher, when flooding and landslides cut off all major road connections to Metro Vancouver, she said. This meant that flowers and hardware like vases couldn’t make it to the store.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 12, 2022.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes