By James Groh SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Flowers are a classic gift to give to a loved one on Valentine’s Day, but those flowers travel a long distance before they end up arranged in a bouquet in your home.
Joe Italiano, owner of Mary Jane Dougall Flowers, said that the majority of flowers he sells come from overseas.
“We’ve seen more flowers come from different places like Mexico and Israel.”
Mary Jane Dougall Flowers is no exception. Most of the flowers in the store come from international sources, he said.
There’s a logical reason for this. Flowers need warm and humid climates to grow, which is why South America is a major flower exporter.
“The ideal growing places for flowers are more in the tropics. Ecuador is probably the best. Colombia is very good,” he said.
This doesn’t preclude the United States from producing flowers, though. It just means that only certain states like California, Texas, and Florida have the appropriate climate to grow flowers.
In other words, if you don’t have the climate you don’t have the flowers.
These specific growing requirements have also kept the flower industry immune to the buy local movement. While people are increasingly concerned about where the food or product he is buying comes from, flowers aren’t subjected to the same scrutiny.
However, Italiano did say that he would like to see more homegrown flowers and believes the government should help.
“I think what needs to happen is our government needs to get involved and subsidize it like Canada does.”
The Canadian government offers specific grants and loans to farmers for greenhouses and costs associated with operating one. One of the biggest things the government does is provide heat for the greenhouses since Canada has such a cold climate.
In the end, Italiano said that it would be nice to see more flowers grown in the U.S. but doesn’t see it as a major priority.