For several years I have been working with a broker on the Dutch Flower Auction to get flowers directly from Holland. During the winter months when it is not possible to use local flowers I get the majority of my flowers from Holland since they are both the most beautiful and are raised in an ecologically conscious manner. The process has always seemed kind of magical. I order flowers via email on a Tuesday they show up early Thursday morning at my door or I order on a Friday morning and they show up on Sunday.
The quality is extraordinary since the flowers are coming directly to me instead of making an additional in between stop with a DC flower wholesaler. By cutting out the middle man the price is also better. Additionally, I have access to all of the cut flowers available at the auction. I work with a company called EZ Flowers, Fred and Martin always answer my endless questions…for example, “ I am looking for the best quality parrot tulip in a hot pink can you tell me what looks great today and send me photos if there is a choice of varieties…”
After years of working this way today I visited the auction in Aalsmeer Holland, about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam. It appears that everything at the auction happens very quickly and efficiently to ensure that the perishable flowers get to their destination as fast as possible. We sped around the acres of flowers with Martin on a fast and agile small golf cart like vehicle, stopping regularly to walk through racks filled with seemingly endless beautiful flowers. Martin had worked raising tulips before coming to work on the auction and his knowledge about the individual flowers, origin of different flowers and the operation of the auction was immense.
I learned that the auction (which includes 5 other smaller sites) is run by FloraHolland, which is a cooperative of approximately 6000 growers that has been run with a similar structure for over 100 years. About 48 million flowers and plants are sold on the auction daily. Having a chance to see the highly complex bidding and distribution systems was eye opening.
Before going to sleep tonight I will place my order for Thursday morning delivery.