Ecuador Rose Grower Nurtures Flowers With Love

Ecuador rose farms were the destination of globe-trotting floral-industry expert Terry Johnson as he traveled to South America to report on the topic for Florist Chronicles. Here is the first of several stories describing his journeys.

I travel quite a lot. During flights from one city to another, invariably, a fellow passenger strikes up a conversation, which leads him or her to ask what business I’m in. When I say I’m in the floral industry, many times they ask, “Are you a florist?”

White Roses With Huge Blooms

White Roses With Huge Blooms | Image:

No, I tell them; I’m involved in helping to improve the methods by which flowers are handled from farms to their arrival in markets in North America. Then I explain that most flowers sold here come from countries in South America. My fellow passengers are almost always surprised. “I had no idea” is a common reply.

Ecuador Rose Insider View: Greenrose Flower Farm

My most recent trip had an envious destination: Ecuador rose farms. I joined a small group of people who specialize in handling, importing and selling fresh flowers who were traveling to this South American country, a representative democratic republic bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. After a four-hour flight from Miami, we landed in Quito, the capital, at an elevation of 9,350 feet — the highest capital city in the world. Quito is positioned in the northern central part of the country.

Red Roses Freshly Harvested

Red Roses Freshly Harvested | Image:

First thing in the morning, we headed north from Quito toward the Cayambe flower-growing region, which gets its name from the very prominent Cayambe volcano. Permanently capped with snow, the volcano — at 15,387 feet — is the highest point in the world crossed by the equator and the only point on the equator with snow cover. The 60-mile drive took us over mountain passes with scarce vegetation down into fertile valleys with tree-lined roads. Many of the trees were eucalyptus, said to have been brought from Australia by an Ecuadorian president about 150 years ago.

As we approached the Ecuador rose farms, we were informed that the surrounding villages are growing and prosperous because of the flower-growing industry. The flower industry represents a major export of Ecuador, totaling about $680 million annually, which is nearly one-quarter of all agricultural exports. The flower business is also a sizable employer, especially of women, who make up more than half of all flower-industry workers.

Fresh Roses Ready for Shipping to Florists

Fresh Roses Ready for Shipping to Florists | Image:

Ecuador Rose Grower Has Heart

As we pulled into Greenroses’s organic growing facilities, it was obvious that it was as impressive as any flower farm I had ever seen. The setting, with the Cayambe volcano in the background, was truly spectacular.

We were greeted by the owner, Jose Javier Pallares, who explained that his farm was the best possible place to grow flowers in the world. “At 10,000 feet, there is the right kind of light, moderate temperatures and, most importantly, a great water supply from the mountains and the volcano,” he explained. He mentioned that he had a great view of the Cayambe Volcano from his office window. I made a mental note, remembering that I had a similarly great view of Mt. St. Helens from my office window in Portland, Ore., in 1980. It was quite a shock when it erupted and sent ash everywhere. Of course, the Cayambe Volcano’s last eruption was in 1786.

As with all of the Ecuador rose and flower farms today, worker’s well-being, their safety, the environment and the surrounding community are very important to Greenrose. Javier is noticeably proud of his workers (many of whom have been with the farm since its beginning 16 years ago) and of the gorgeous roses they produce. And why shouldn’t he be? Every rose is a natural jewel with full blossoms, straight stems and lush, dark-green foliage wrapped in beautiful, protective packaging for markets in North America and countries as far away as Russia.

Fresh Cut Roses Being Processed on Farm

Fresh Cut Roses Being Processed on Farm | Image:

And each carefully grown rose comes with a sincere message: From Cayambe with love to you.

Episode two: Roses from Living Soil.

Written by

Terry Johnson


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Related posts:

  1. Roses from Living Soil
  2. Where Do Cut Flowers Grow & How Do They Reach Me?
  3. Secrets of Flowers Revealed
  4. Flower Grower to Consumer in 24 hours: FloraHolland
  5. Organic Flowers: The Greener Way

4 Comments to “Ecuador Rose Grower Nurtures Flowers With Love”

  • Great article Terry. I am waiting to read future stories about your travels.

  • Fascinating to read about the care and attention to detail that these flower growers spend on their crops. I love how they treat their staff as family! Just a great overall story! I’m looking forward to the next installment as well!

  • I have heard so much about ecuador and the quality of the flowers they give to the world. It is no wonder that they can offer so much as they have given more than enough of the care that is to be expected from a grower. Their flowers are bound to be what they are because of the care and passion these growers have.

    • It truly is amazing to see the size and beauty of their roses. The environment truly has an impact on what they are able to produce. People wonder why flowers cost what they do, but when you SEE their flowers, the value is so obvious!

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