Do I love David Austin Roses? ABSOLUTELY!!!
So on my recent personal trip to San Francisco, it was a no brainer to make a day visit to Green Valley Floral run by second generation growers, Curtis and Janet Louie. The farm is located in the beautiful Salinas Valley, just about 1 ½ hour drive from the city. The climate there is perfect for cutflower production – warm sunny days and cool nights, which yield flowers of the finest quality. The area is known best for lettuce, artichokes, strawberries and ‘Yes’, wine grape varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Green Valley Floral has been in operation as a family fun farm for over 40 years. They started with growing carnations, to hybrid tea roses and currently garden roses, spray roses, gerberas and oriental lilies. They are the only licensed grower of David Austin garden roses in North America. They are also expanding their garden rose collection – got to see some amazing varieties being tested. Their gerberas and gerondos are to die for, and their spray roses and oriental lilies are exquisite!!
Green Valley has been growing David Austin Roses for 10 years. It is quite the process to become a David Austin licensed grower… In 2006, David Austin Jr. visited the farm 4 times to tour the facilities, inspect the growing and grading practices, and assess the business potential. The farm became licensed in 2007.
There are 200,000 sq. ft. dedicated to growing David Austin Roses. The 12 varieties in order of quantity availability – Juliet, Patience, Carey, Keira, Rosalind, Miranda, Darcey, Edith, Beatrice, Kate, Charity and Constance. Tess, Capability and Purity will become available in 2018.
At Green Valley, the rose crop is grown hydroponically. They propagate all their own rose plants (grafted) in the propagation greenhouse for 8 weeks in trays. The young plants are replanted into coco coir substrate in the production greenhouse with first flower ready to cut in 15 weeks. All plants are grown in bags or buckets in a gutter system. The drain water from irrigation is collected in tanks and disinfected using UV light. The reclaimed water is mixed with fresh water and re-used for irrigation again. They are all about environmentally friendly!! A commercial rose plant will produce for 5 years.
The harvesting and shipping practice at Green Valley is the most impressive EVER!! They call it ‘Seamless Post Harvest Care’. They cut the flowers and they go immediately into a post harvest solution to encourage uptake. Then they go to the grading shed to cool down to complete the hydration process. After the quick grading process, the stems are returned to water with floral preservative and placed in the cooler. The flowers are shipped vertically in water in Proconas. This significantly reduce damage – the blooms and foliages all look absolutely fresh and perfect upon arrival. AMAZING!!
Sustainability is a commitment at Green Valley – they are certified sustainable by the third party Veriflora program. Fair labour practices, reducing carbon foot print by reducing water and fertilizer usage through recycling, and environmentally friendly – they recently installed a one acre solar farm to produce their own electricity.
I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT GREEN VALLEY FLORAL!! Beautiful flowers produced in the way that is good for the planet!! Thank you Janet for an amazing tour and good education.