Harvesting at the Right Time Ensures an Optimal Freesia Experience
At the end of the 19th century, the botanist Echlon discovered a special flower in South Africa. Echlon collected many plants in the Cape Colony. For the name of this flower, he was inspired by the family name of his fellow student German physician Friedrich Freese. Freesia is an exotic beauty that you can recognize by the unique 'comb' with flowers. Each stem thus has several small flowers. You can find Freesia in a whole range of colors. Very special and characteristic of the freesia is the unique subtle fragrance. Just like with roses and lilies... the question is how to let the consumer enjoy this special flower to the fullest. We consulted three specialists who each occupy a different place in the flower chain: Theo Akerboom, Freesia grower at Akerboom Freesia, Wout van der Gugten, manager of De Rijcke BVBA, a flower wholesaler in Belgium and florist Kurt Vercamer. The latter runs a beautiful flower shop in Kortrijk, Belgium together with his wife and daughter. “Freesia harvesting requires special knowledge,” says grower Theo Akerboom. “It is very important to cut the flowers at the right time. The harvest of the flowers should be done when they’re green, but they, however, have to be ripe. One to two days later in the chain, the first flower bud is open. If you don't harvest the flowers at the right time, so if they’re too green, they will lack sugar and energy to open up completely. ” Nursery Akerboom, therefore, chooses to harvest 7/7 and to deliver daily. Nobody has to take an inventory risk. Theo is convinced that a short lead time also ensures an optimal customer experience. "Speculating on prices and keeping the flowers in the fridge for longer may yield a few extra cents, but this does not outweigh the added value of fresh deliveries so that the consumer can enjoy the flower as long as possible." The freesias from Akerboom are easy to recognize by the Akerboomtape and Akerboom sleeves.
Wout van der Gugten at wholesaler De Rijcke also wants to offer his customers the best quality and prefers that growers deliver the freesia with one open flower. In that way, you can be sure that the flowers will all open nicely. It also has the advantage that these flowers sell much more easily if the color is visible. Wout notes that many florists like to buy flowers that are as raw as possible because they think that they will be able to sell the flowers longer. For wholesalers, it is really hard to sell freesias with two open flowers. Florist Kurt Vercamer has direct contact with the customer. “It’s a real pity that some growers cut the flowers too raw. I am in favor of offering freesias with one or two open flowers. Not only do they look much nicer in a bouquet, but they also give the guarantee that the flowers will all open. And freesias with one or two open flowers actually offer the optimal customer experience. ” Nevertheless, Kurt understands that packaging and delivery of green freesias bring forward advantages for the grower: transport is a lot easier and the flowers are also less damaged. But growers should understand that flowers that are too green or that are cut too raw do not ensure longer shelf life and certainly not ideal customer experience. If growers deliver freesias at the right stage, customers can enjoy the flowers from day 1 and see the entire comb open slowly. Can you imagine anything more beautiful? Kurt is convinced that it is up to the professional florist to pass this knowledge on to the consumer. It’s not always the case that open flowers last less long, on the contrary... This is not only the case for freesias., but also for roses and peonies... Every day, Kurt tells his customers that you can enjoy these flowers more if you buy them in the right stage and if they have already opened up a little.
Header image courtesy of FabulousFreesia by Flowerfactor