Colombia--Dozens of pairs of palms wearing thick, clumsy plastic gloves bundle thousands of rose bouquets in clear plastic sheets. More hands, these deft and ungloved, slide young buds still on the bush inside socks of protective red mesh to ensure standard growth. Nine hours invested bent over roses--clipping thorns, measuring stems, wrapping, and shipping the vegetal sign of love--this is the daily reality of the rose farmers of Pasarela Piedra. Colombia is one of the world's main producers of flowers, conveying $1 billion per yr and growing. In 2013, 65 percent of most cut flowers imported to the Oughout. S. were from Colombia Greenhouse Effect, up from 55 per cent a decade earlier. Unique species of orchid, anthurium, and bird of heaven are regularly shipped to the U. S. Yet the ubiquitous rose is, by far, the state's biggest flower seller. The growth in flower export products was partly influenced with a 1991 U. S. government-backed move to curb coca farming and spur job growth in Colombia by eliminating import duties on the country's flowers. Inside the 1970s, the You. S. grew more plants than it imported. By 2003 that trend has reversed, and the Ohio International Airport now techniques around 187, 000 plenty of flowers every year. Puente Piedra, meaning "stone bridge, " is a tiny farm town found in the shrinking savanna outside of the welcoming capital of Bogot?. Typically the capital city of practically 8 million inhabitants carries on to swallow its borders, where modern shopping centers have replaced dairy facilities.
But the rose plantation I visit still keeps a certain pastoral ideal. With 70 hectares situated amid tree-lined pastures, the farm is small by flower business standards. At the access is a brightly painted ceramic shrine honoring the Virgin Jane. Milk cows graze 2 hundred feet away, and broken tractors lay waiting and dusty underneath a simple awning near to the management workplaces. Resident cats stretch lazily in the sun. Additional top features of the farm are considerably less quaint. This particular procedure supplies Miami-based wholesale distributor Fresca Farms and is outfitted with custom-designed dethorning machines, refrigerated storerooms, and automated conveyor belts. The packaging warehouse is a choreographed race to cheat death. Their own photosynthesizing talents severely crippled, cut roses are categorized into uniform stem measures by dozens of staff in lines, dipped in an antifungal preservative solution, and hurried off by the churning belts into storerooms set at 34 levels Fahrenheit. The freshly harvested specimens then sit freezing under bleak neon lights in a plant morgue of sorts, their rotting processes delayed.
The arresting cold is the reason why it possible to walk to a corner bodega in A queen, New York, and purchase a Valentine's bouquet of roses grown 2, five hundred miles away. Refrigerated pickup trucks bound for refrigerated aeroplanes take the farm's daily bundles, around 100, 000 flowers a day, destined for impossibly far locales. A courier of land adjacent to Puente Piedra was lately purchased to be developed into a modest airport terminal for the sole reason for shipping flowers and other goods produced in the savanna.