Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers gets ready for na­tion’s big­gest day for blooms

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY LES­LIE STEVENS

Search­ing for the per­fect rose for your Valen­tine? Look no far­ther than Nipomo. Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers, based in south­ern San Luis Obispo County, is one of the na­tion’s pre­mier grow­ers of pre­mium cut roses. The award-win­ning com­pany’s beau­ti­ful blooms have graced such pres­ti­gious events as pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tions, the Ken­tucky Derby and the Pasadena Tour­na­ment of Roses.

Founded in 1984 by six­th­gen­er­a­tion rose grower Andy Koch, Eu­flo­ria now pro­duces 4 to 5 mil­lion rose stems a year in 350,000 square feet of green­houses. The com­pany em­ploys 35 to 40 work­ers.

For the past cou­ple of months, Eu­flo­ria’s staff has been busy work­ing to bring their hot­house di­vas to per­fec­tion just in time for Valen­tine’s Day — the na­tion’s No. 1 flo­ral hol­i­day, when roses make up 84 per­cent of U.S. flower sales.

Eu­flo­ria’s of­fer­ings go far be­yond tra­di­tional red roses, said Andy Koch, the com­pany’s owner and founder.

“Eu­flo­ria is dif­fer­ent types and col­ors of cut roses” fea­tured in art­ful flo­ral ar­range­ments, he said. “Mixed bou­quets — that is who we are.”

Eu­flo­ria grows about 150 dif­fer­ent rose va­ri­eties, from tra­di­tional teas to old-fash­ioned, English gar­den-style roses in col­ors to suit al­most any taste.

In­creas­ingly, Koch said, clients are mov­ing be­yond clas­sic red to pick­ing col­ors that match their home dé­cor or their per­sonal tastes.

Eu­flo­ria’s most pop­u­lar sellers this sea­son in­clude True Love, a strik­ing pink rose with a hint of yel­low open­ing to re­veal a ruf­fled cen­ter, and Mata­dor, a deep red, old-fash­ioned rose, said Sylvia Ba­le­rio, Eu­flo­ria bou­quet maker. Also a hit is Grande, a deep bur­gundy/wine­col­ored rose.

Ac­cord­ing to Koch, Valen­tine’s Day is no longer Eu­flo­ria’s top-sell­ing hol­i­day. (That ti­tle now be­longs to Mother’s Day.) Cheaper South Amer­i­can im­ports have made huge in­roads into flower sales over the past decade and now ac­count for about 90 per­cent of cut roses sold in the United States.

“Our busi­ness peaked in 2000,” Koch said. “It’s not com­ing back.”

In fact, Eu­flo­ria is now the sole re­main­ing Amer­i­can com­pany to ex­clu­sively grow cut roses.

In­creased la­bor, wa­ter, and nat­u­ral gas prices are putting ad­di­tional pres­sure on do­mes­tic grow­ers. For ex­am­ple, Koch said he shelled out $60,000 for gas heat­ing in De­cem­ber 2018, when gas prices in­creased three­fold.

Rather than strug­gle to com­pete against sub­si­dized for­eign im­ports, some lo­cal grow­ers are find­ing it more prof­itable to sell or lease their green­houses to cannabis busi­ness own­ers, Koch said, not­ing that the value of his prop­erty has in­creased since the ar­rival of mar­i­juana grow­ers in the South County.

In his eyes, it’s like “our govern­ment is telling us to grow mar­i­juana,” he said.

To stay afloat, Eu­flo­ria has ex­panded into the re­tail trade through a to­tal of 14 farm­ers mar­kets in San Luis Obispo County, Santa Maria and Los An­ge­les. The com­pany also sup­plies flow­ers to the wed­ding and event trade – now its top sales cat­e­gory.

In ad­di­tion, Koch said, he’s in­vested $1 mil­lion over the past two years on new equip­ment — re­plac­ing green­house roofs, adding en­ergy cur­tains and re­cy­cling 100 per­cent of Eu­flo­ria’s wa­ter. The busi­ness touts its sus­tain­able grow­ing prac­tices, which in­clude a co­conut fiber hy­dro­pon­ics sys­tem and in­te­grated pest man­age­ment.

“Our fam­ily’s been grow­ing roses go­ing back 200 years start­ing in Den- mark,” Koch said, but he’ll likely be the last gen­er­a­tion to do so.

Koch said he’s not en­cour­ag­ing his chil­dren to fol­low in his foot­steps, believ­ing they’ll find bet­ter busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties else­where. In­stead, he hopes his em­ploy­ees will con­tinue the com­pany he started.

HOW TO KEEP ROSES BLOOM­ING LONGER

For beau­ti­ful, lon­glast­ing blooms, fol­low these tips from Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo.

Fill your vase about two-thirds full with fresh wa­ter. Add the flo­ral preser­va­tive that comes with your roses, fol­low­ing mea­sure­ments on packet.

Trim at least one inch off bot­tom of each stem at 45-de­gree an­gle us­ing a sharp knife or shears be­fore you add flow­ers to the vase.

Strip any leaves be­low wa­ter line to min­i­mize bac­te­ria.

Avoid bac­te­rial growth by chang­ing wa­ter ev­ery one to three days, or when­ever wa­ter gets cloudy. Wa­ter may need to be changed more of­ten on warm days. Keep roses in a cool place, away from heat sources and out of di­rect sun­light.

EU­FLO­RIA FLOW­ERS

For more in­for­ma­tion about Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo, visit eu­flo­ri­aflow­ers.com. Les­lie Stevens lives in San Luis Obispo and has been gar­den­ing and writ­ing about the area for nearly 20 years. If you know of a spe­cial gar­den or gar­den­ing event worth shar­ing, please con­tact her at leslo­[email protected] Please al­low a min­i­mum of six weeks from the event.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo grows about 150 dif­fer­ent rose va­ri­eties.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Mata­dor, a deep red rose, is a pop­u­lar seller for Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo. The busi­ness spe­cial­izes in pre­mium cut roses.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

A van­load of roses awaits de­liv­ery at Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo. The busi­ness spe­cial­izes in pre­mium cut roses.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­news.com

True Love, a pink rose with a ruf­fled cen­ter, is one of the most pop­u­lar sellers for Eu­flo­ria Flow­ers in Nipomo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.