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The Men of Grace Rose Farm

Grace Rose Farm

June 28, 2021

I’m writing this late Sunday night. I’ve had a long, emotionally difficult week and another week begins tomorrow. As I contemplate my exhaustion, I’m reminded of the blessings that are Bulmaro and Fermin, who allow me to get my rest while the farm work continues. When I say our farm couldn’t exist without them, I mean it. We would not be here without them.


I’ll take you back to the beginning, four years ago when Fermin came to our former farm to inquire about a job. We had just moved to Santa Ynez and were hiring an entire new staff for our third year in business and first year at that farm. In prior years I did all the harvesting, but the physical toll wore on me. I would work 8-10 hours in the field and then spend hours every night on my computer doing the business side of our farm. I knew I might need help and Fermin had 7 years experience at another flower farm, so I took his number and said I’d call him. He was trimming trees at that time, but said he loved working with flowers, which I thought was endearing. He was sweet, cordial and had a great smile. I really liked him. A few days later I called to see if he could work and he said something I’ll never forget… he said he’d love to work for me, but he needed to give the tree trimming company two weeks notice. In a world of employees quitting without notice or not showing up for work without calling in, this guy wanted to make sure his boss had a replacement for him. He won me over right then. Fermin started in April and pretty soon after he joined us the roses began to bloom. I thought I was pretty great in the field, but I was in for a shock! This guy could carry a pile of hundreds of harvested roses on one shoulder all the while clipping with his right hand. Little ol’ me - with 5 stems in one hand while trying to maneuver the clippers with my other hand- was in awe. Fairly quickly that spring I cut back my time harvesting and let the professional do most of the work.



Even though I no longer had to cut all the roses, I loved to work with Fermin in the fields. I would join him for his jokes, laughter and just to watch him at work. He has always been such a happy person to be around, someone who comes from a past he is proud to have conquered so he could become the doting family man he is now. There is a tender, caring side of him, often asking how I am and I cannot tell you how much that means to me. From the moment we met, I felt a closeness to Fermin and call him one of my best friends. We’re Cancers so we get each other. We are an unlikely pair, but my heart bursts for this sweet man who is so devoted to our rose farm and his work. I have never met anyone with a better work ethic or more loyalty.


One day, about a month after Fermin joined us, he asked if his brother-in-law could work. I wasn’t sure what to think because bringing on family members can be sticky. We said yes, nevertheless, and Bulmaro showed up soon after. Bulmaro is married to Fermin’s sister and the two guys couldn’t be more different!



Bulmaro is quiet, shy and likes to do his thing by himself. He’s slim and unassuming, but he is shockingly strong! And he knows his roses!! Bulmaro has a visual memory of plants that is difficult to explain. He, like Fermin, came from a flower farming background (11 years!) and knows the names of dozens and dozens of roses by sight. He can tell you what they smell like and how they grow. He’s an encyclopedia of roses. For as reserved as Bulmaro is, that’s not so when it comes to roses. Just like Fermin, Bulmaro can harvest roses like no other. The armloads he’s able to carry and the smile he has when he’s with the roses is a sight. The two brothers in law come alive as soon as the roses begin to bloom each spring.


With the addition of Bulmaro, there was no reason for me to harvest roses anymore. I couldn’t keep their pace and I moved to post-harvest where I could oversee production and shipping. As of today, four years later, Fermin is our foreman at our previous farm in Santa Ynez, and Bulmaro is overseeing planting of our new crop of roses at our new farm. Fermin is harvesting our roses there until we dig them up and move them this winter. Bulmaro and Fermin are separated this season, but Fermin will be moving to the area at the end of this season and I can’t wait to see them in action again next spring. I miss watching them harvest. Its one of my greatest joys and my eyes well up with tears thinking about how much I love these guys.


On any given week Fermin and Bulmaro harvest 45,000 roses. They walk 10+ miles daily back and forth in the rose fields. They never complain about the heat and actually prefer it to cold. We’ve had a few men try to step in to relieve them so they can take time off and we have never found anyone as competent. Growing and harvesting roses is an art form. Not just anyone can do what Fermin and Bulmaro do, and with each passing day and month, I’m more grateful for them. We have scaled our business every year and it would not be possible without these two men. Ryan and I hope to have lifelong relationships with them. We are striving to help Fermin and Bulmaro become homeowners and our goal is to send their four sons to college. When I go to sleep at night, and especially at times like this when I’m teetering on the brink of exhaustion, I think of how grateful I am for the men who are the backbone of Grace Rose Farm. In case you’re wondering what Fermin and Bulmaro’s favorite roses are…Fermin LOVES Francis Meilland. He says Francis is the best to harvest because it has long, straight stems. Bulmaro can be found in the Princess Charlene of Monaco gardens because he adores her fruity scent!








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