How We Guarantee the Durability of a Flower
Flowers travel a long way from their place of origin —the most remote places in the world—until they reach the United States. Discover our process of receiving and shipping the best flowers, and how we guarantee their durability until they reach our customers. At Virgin Farms
we take daily measures to provide the highest quality of fresh-cut flowers to our clients. We maintain alliances with farms that guarantee top grade flowers that have been harvested under certified and sustainable processes.
A Lengthy Vase Duration
Our flowers go through many operational stages, and for this reason, it is vital to handle a standard process during this path because this guarantees that the flowers remain fresh and therefore have a lengthy vase duration. However, this path of travel does not end when the flowers arrive in the United States. They go through a process of customs and pest control in order to maintain the biodiversity of our country and avoid the introduction of any type of pests or insects that could ruin an entire flower lot or harm local species. We have compiled the most frequent questions that our clients ask us so that you can learn firsthand about our operation and distribution process.
Q: How is the process of receiving flowers, once they arrive from their place of origin to the United States?
"Holland, Colombia, and Ecuador are our main suppliers of flowers. The flowers we receive at Virgin Farms make their journey from many parts of the world. Our tulips, ranunculus, cymbidiums, hyacinths and some hydrangeas, among other flowers, are imported from Dutch growers in Holland. Garden roses come from our top farm provider in Colombia, Alexandra Farms. Virgin Farms is known for its high-quality roses, which are exported from Ecuador via UPS Air Cargo to Miami International Airport. Once the cargo arrives the product is then transported to our facility."
Q: What are the most common problems you have when receiving flowers and how do you solve them?
"We have a strict customs and inspection process to ensure that there is no pest that could affect the flowers. At times we may face issues that are out of our control. When the shipment arrives in Miami the flowers must go through clearance and pass inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for pests and diseases. During this process, boxes are randomly selected and inspected. If the flowers do not pass the inspection they are held (PQ) by the department or the product selected may be damaged in the inspection process.
At our facility, our Quality Control team inspects each bunch upon arrival. We may encounter flowers with botrytis (fungus) for instance, in which case the flower is deemed non-shippable and discarded. Any other defects that we check for include falling heads or petals, moldy petals, and damaged stems. These defective flowers are also discarded."
Q: How long does your process of receiving flowers take to deliver to your customers?
"It takes between 48 and 72 hours for the flowers to reach our customers. The process of receiving the flowers at our facility and shipping the order to a customer takes 48 to 72 hours. For instance, the farm will ship roses from Ecuador and it arrives in Miami. Then we ship the custom packed box via FedEx Priority Overnight and it arrives to our client the next day."
Q: How much volume of floral shipments is handled at Virgin Farms?
"We handle an average of 2,000 weekly boxes of flowers to supply the great demand that exists in our country. The volume varies depending on the week; it can be as little as 700 boxes to as much as 2,000 boxes. This includes all the different types of products we distribute: roses, fillers, Dutch flowers, garden roses, and others. Throughout the two weeks of Valentine’s Day shipments, we will move between 4,000 and 4,500 boxes."
Q: What is your quality control process when you receive the flowers?
"All flower bunches are inspected to ensure quality and verify that variety is correct. When the flowers arrive at our facility, Quality Control Managers check the product before receiving it into the inventory management system. Each box of flowers we receive from the farms is placed on a conveyor inside the cooler which is maintained at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the documentation from the farms and our receivers, we check that the quantities and varieties shipped are correct. Then each bunch is inspected for quality assurance making sure there is no mold or damage. If the product meets our standards, then we receive the flowers in our inventory system. Each box is labeled with a barcode listing the expiration date, the quantity, the variety, and the farm lot. This allows us to track our daily floral inventory."
Q: What is your flower distribution process once these are already in the cooler?
"From its origin, until the flower reaches our customers, we guarantee the cold chain. Once the flowers are in the inventory, the product is available to our customers. When a customer places an order with our sales managers, a pick list is received in the shipping department. The picklist indicates the customer, the shipping address, the floral varieties, the quantities for each flower listed by lot number, and the total item quantity and total cubic weight. Our employees in the cooler use the picklist to pack the order. The varieties are picked by the bunch in our inventory cooler and taken to the adjacent packing cooler. Depending on the size of the order (in weight) the flowers are packed into one of our four box sizes. Each box is precooled and insulated to maintain the temperature of the ice packs within the box. Each bunch is strategically packed into the box to ensure the flowers are snug and protected during transit."
Q: How can an order be placed with Virgin Farms?
"We adapt to the needs of our customers; we have products to supply the wholesale and retail market. Professional florists and event planners may order from Virgin Farms by calling our toll-free number 1-888-548-ROSE to speak to a sales representative. We like to call them our floral experts. Each account manager is trained on all products and is highly experienced in the floral industry. Although some companies may offer eCommerce, we prefer to speak to our customers when they place an order because our inventory is live, and our flowers are fresh from the farms. We do not carry over products. Customers may order varieties and quantities by the bunch. We accommodate the customer’s needs and custom pack the order whether it is for a small flower shop or a large wedding or event."
At Virgin Farms
we have an established process to deliver variety and quality in flowers, we manage strategic alliances with the best floral farms in the world with whom we have exclusivity and direct representation. We also have the best suppliers of courier and transport of flowers. We have all the technology and adequate facilities to keep the flowers in perfect condition. The most important factor is that we have a committed and trained sales staff to meet the demanding needs of our customers.