Long before our first mid-April blooms, we are busy preparing for our growing season. On January 2, after our holiday break, we begin the long process of pruning our roses, cutting back last year's growth, and cleaning up our farm for spring. The seven weeks we spend pruning the roses and clearing the property set us up for a great season.
In Mid-March, once the roses begin their spring growth, they require constant care, especially since we only use organic methods. Managing diseases and pests in the face of the cold, wet spring weather, means that we have to maintain our vigilance. The wet California spring months are challenging, but investing in strict disease and pest control sets the stage for a robust nine-month growing season!
Unlike crops that are harvested once a year, rose farming is very intensive when it comes to harvesting. Once the roses start blooming they don't stop until late November, which means 9 months of 7-day-a-week harvesting! The roses are cut throughout the day, transferred to our coolers to hydrate, processed, bunched, and arranged in bouquets to prepare them for shipping. From April through November, we're in a constant cycle of harvesting, which means timing is crucial so that the right roses are blooming at the correct time to fill each and every order. There's no downtime when it comes to cut flower farming!
While two team members cut 6,000 roses daily, an additional four team members are needed in the field to maintain the roses, deadheading the plants constantly so they keep blooming. Our irrigation process is a full-time job that requires hand mixing organic fertilizers and rotating the watering every few hours.
From the field, the roses come into our barn, where ten team members work full time during the day, and six team members work through the night. There is a team member devoted to each of the following: cutting the ribbon, making boxes, ordering supplies, tracking inventory, freezing ice packs, bunching roses, printing labels, making bouquets, and finally, putting it all together with the correct shipping label. At least twenty sets of hands will help each order along its journey. We even have a full-time team member devoted to writing a personal note to every single client. And while all of this may feel pretty standard for any business, Mother Nature adds in an element of complete surprise. We are always using our best judgment and hard-won gardening experience to determine exactly when our roses are going to bloom!
Our farm is more than three hours from a major airport and one hour from a regional airport. To ensure each order gets onto our local FedEx plane, we drive our boxes to the airport every single day and watch each box as it is scanned and placed onto the conveyor belt to the plane. You can imagine after all of the labor and love that go into each order, how hard it is for us to load our carefully packed roses onto a FedEx plane and hope beyond hope that they are treated with the same care once they leave our hands.
By the time our roses arrive on your doorstep, they have taken quite a journey. We're so thankful for every single order, and we hope you've enjoyed a behind-the-scenes peek at all that goes into each and every order here at Grace Rose Farm.