Among the thousands of Valentine’s Day arrangements we’ll be making this year is one called Thoughts of You, which this team was handcrafting in our central design department in Lebanon.
This arrangement features shades of pink comprising a rose, alstroemeria, carnations and mini carnations, as well as lavender button poms and stems of bupleurum, all contained in a 5.5-inch pink mason jar.
To send one to someone you love, click here.
Day 3 found Tom Royer and Geoff Royer again in Bogota, again inspecting Valentine’s Day roses, this time at the Multiflora farm.
“The quality was very good from what we saw,” Geoff said. “It’s impossible to look at every bunch we get, but we make sure we go through the process with them about the cut point, again.”
As noted in our Day 2 entry, cut point is crucial. It’s the stage in a flower’s life when it is cut from the plant. The cut point has to be just right to ensure that our customers get the best quality and most value from their flowers.
Multiflora has invested in its processes to make them more accurate and efficient. Workers used to grade flowers in the field, so it was not as accurate as it could be, Geoff said.
Now the only thing they do in the field is sort the roses, long-stem vs. short stem. Now there’s a post-harvest building where the roses are graded more accurately, prepped and packed in boxes for shipping to customers such as Royer’s.
Multiflora now cools its loading dock, so there is no break in the “cold chain” between the post-harvest building, the loading dock, and the refrigerated trucks that will transport the roses to the airport.
“The better that flowers can be kept cold, the longer they will last throughout the process and for our customers,” Geoff said.
Multiflora is switching to a hydroponic growing system, so the plants are growing in raised beds rather than directly in the ground. This gives the farm more control over the nutrients the plants receive — and increases the yield by 50 percent.
Tom and Geoff also visited the Hossa farm, which provides us with spray roses (multiple small blooms per stem). But the focus of this stop was Hossa’s lilies.
Hossa has developed new varieties that produce more blooms per stem. And like Multiflora, Hossa has improved its processes, namely packing.
“They tightened the lilies into the boxes better so during transport they don’t shift,” Geoff said. “If the lilies shift in the boxes, it damages the buds and leaves bruising and creasing once the flowers open up.”
Their farm tours completed, Tom and Geoff are going their separate ways. Tom will fly to Miami for another inspection of the Valentine’s Day shipments, ensuring the highest quality before the flowers are packed on our truck for delivery to our Lebanon distribution center.
Geoff is headed back to Pennsylvania, arriving in Lebanon in time for the start of Valentine’s Day production Saturday in our central design department.
There, teams of Royer’s employees will handcraft thousands of holiday arrangements using the roses, carnations and other Colombian-grown flowers that Geoff and Tom saw firsthand only days earlier.
We started Tom Royer and nephew Geoff Royer’s trip to Colombia, South America, in the city of Medellin. Day 2 found them some 335 miles southwest in Bogota, the nation’s capital.
Bogota sits in the center of Colombia, on a high-altitude plateau that provides year-round steady temperatures that help make it one of the world’s great flower-growing regions.
Tom and Geoff visited two more farms. The first was Elite, one of the largest growers in Bogota and our source mainly for roses and alstroemeria (lilies).
“Today was an inspection day,” Geoff said. “We examined some of our roses and discussed the cut point of the flowers.”
The cut point is, as the term suggests, the stage in the flower’s life cycle at which it is cut from the plant. There is an art to this, as we have to factor in the amount of time from farm, through customs in Miami, to our distribution center, to our stores and, finally, to our customers.
“Roses cut too open will blow open more quickly and not last as long,” Geoff said. “Roses cut too tight may not open at all. We are very critical of this part of the process and work with the growers to ensure that they have our cut points correct so we can provide the best possible product to our customers.”
While Elite has machines to help newer employees with grading the roses for head size and length, all of Royer’s roses are hand-graded by Elite’s experienced crews to ensure the best quality.
From Elite, Tom and Geoff visited the Geoflora farm, a carnation grower whose quality, Geoff said, is second to none. Besides inspecting the mini-carnations and carnations that Geoflora is growing for us for Valentine’s Day, they got a glimpse at some of the new products the farm is developing with its breeder.
“They have developed a carnation head size that is almost in a class of its own,” Geoff said.
You could be Cupid’s wingman for a day or two.
Royer’s is seeking independent drivers to help with Valentine’s Day deliveries on Feb. 13 and 14, with the potential to earn as much as $100 per day.
Candidates must have:
For more information, call or stop by your nearest Royer’s store and ask for the delivery room manager.
While they’re getting ready to play a big football game in Houston, Royer’s is gearing up for its version of the Super Bowl with our annual pre-Valentine’s Day trip to South America.
Tom Royer, our senior vice president and chief operating officer, has been making the trip for decades. In recent years, he has been joined by his nephew, Geoffrey Royer, who is a Royer’s area manager.
Their trek allows them to ensure that the roses and other Valentine’s Day flowers growing specifically for our customers are of the highest quality.
Day 1 found Tom and Geoff at the Liberty and Mira Monte farms in Medellin, Colombia, from which Royer’s mainly purchases daisies and cushion poms.
“The thing I took from today was how very technical it all is and the precision and detail needed to make it all work correctly,” Geoff said.
Conversation at both farms turned to propagation, or the process from seed to mother plants from which cuttings are taken. The cuttings beget plugs that are planted into vast beds and become the flowers we buy.
Geoff noted that while we’re focused on Valentine’s Day, the farms are planting for Mother’s Day.
“Planting any later than the next week or so could cause the crop to be too late for Mother’s Day,” Geoff said.
He noted the multiple variables that play roles in how flowers develop, from minerals such as phosphorus and potassium to sunlight and temperature.
Whatever their current products, the farms aren’t resting on their laurels. They work with breeders to create the varieties of flowers that Royer’s and other florists purchase.
“It’s not a simple process,” Geoff said. “Hundreds of thousands of seeds are gone through and test to see which ones produce plants and products that could be valued in the marketplace.
“They are then propagated and tested over time to see if they have issues with disease or how well they produce. If they have a winner, it takes time to then create enough cuttings to have a large enough production to make an impact.”
One Royer’s Kids Club event is in the books, but four more are to come this year.
Kids club events are free to children ages 5 to 12. We typically have sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Here’s the rest of the 2017 schedule with each event’s theme:
March 25: Easter (see photo)
June 17: Stems Hunger food drive (nonperishable food donation requested)
Sept. 9: Grandparents Day
Nov. 11: Bouquets for Books (new children’s book donation requested)
We also encourage you to register for the kids club as you’ll receive a membership card, our quarterly Buds newsletter, and opportunities to enter contests and win prizes.
We look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Love was in the air — and many children were in our stores — on Jan. 21 for the first of five Royer’s Kids Club events in 2017. Children ages 5 to 12 made a special “Be Mine, Valentine!” arrangement and received free balloons, as you can see in the photos below.
If you joined us, thank you for taking the time. If you missed out, please note that we have events scheduled for March 25, June 17, Sept. 9 and Nov. 11.
Finally, if you aren’t official members of the kids club, you can sign up for free by following this link.
Employees of Royer’s Flowers have donated $990 to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
The contribution reflects the employees’ fall purchase of pink polo shirts bearing Royer’s logo. The sale of each shirt raised $10 for the Lebanon-based nonprofit.
The coalition (pabreastcancer.org) represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants.
Photo: From left, Candace Oliver, manager trainee at Royer’s Flowers in Lebanon, and Kristen Snoke, community outreach director, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. Oliver is wearing one of the pink polo shirts Royer’s employees purchased to raise money for the coalition.
We’re kicking off the 2017 Royer’s Kids Club schedule with a free event on Jan. 21 in all stores.
Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a special “Be Mine, Valentine!” arrangement, featuring a teacup with a heart on it and a red wire stick-in heart. Participants also will receive a free balloon.
Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Registration is required by calling your nearest Royer’s store.
We spread holiday cheer. We have a busy workshop. We deliver to peoples’ homes.
Royer’s has more than a little in common with Santa, and we like to show off our version of the North Pole. That’s why we have a standing offer for the news media to visit our central design department in Lebanon and our stores to capture a flavor of the season.
LEBANON DAILY NEWS
On Dec. 7, we welcomed the Lebanon Daily News to our Lebanon complex. The resulting video, set to a jaunty tune, shows how we decorate our Tartan Poinsettia:
69 NEWS BERKS EDITION
Within hours of the Daily News visiting, so, too, did WFMZ-TV/Channel 69 from Berks County. The TV station toured central design and interviewed our store managers in Lebanon, Erica Bixby (photo, top), and Reading, Amy Michalski, for their takes on the busy holiday season.