Nice article about Alaska peony farmers!
Mike Williams was interviewed recently about peony markets. He said one of the biggest obstacles to the Alaska peony industry is not enough peonies and growers. World markets are in the millions of stems. Alaska is still in the thousands.
This article is not about peonies, but is about a major issue facing peony growers: lack of snow, ice encasement and more. It shows that, at least with tree seedlings, ice encasement is the most destructive force in winter injury. We have not completed anything like this research with peonies, but I believe it, as well as soil ice melting with roots sitting in wet, soggy soils, are the main reasons why roots die in winter. The whole article is available for download online: Snow and Ice
Read the latest survey from the American Floral Endowment. All ages of buyers are Cut Flower Survey
Here are some highlights as summarized by Green Profits Buzz
- Flowers are being appreciated more now by all three generations compared to the 2009 study.
- Local florists are the most widely shopped channel for both self and gift purchases when shopping in person.
- Farmer’s markets, online and toll-free phone purchasing have increased, while discount/chain stores, local florists via phone and home improvement centers have declined.
- Among floral matters, Gen X wants convenience, Millennials “want it when I want it,” and Boomers are traditionalists, purchasing flowers for the reasons you’ve been selling them for years and years—special occasions and so on.
- Fewer folks in 2016 consider pricing to be a barrier to purchasing than in 2009.
- 60% say being a locally owned business is very important when considering a flower purchase at a florist.
The USDA has revised its recommendations for post harvest handling of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and last, but not least, cut flowers. This chapter was written by Dr. Michael Reid and gives a very good overview of everything you need to know after the flower is cut in the field. The list of individual flowers does not include peonies, but the general discussion is great. Also, it might not be too far fetched for Alaska growers to diversity and consider other flowers such as delphiniums some time in the future..
Here is a link to a site full of information on soils and soil conservation. There are lots of webinars, recorded and ones available in the future, that cover everything from transitioning to organic to climate change. It is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Peony roots and seeds have been used for centuries as medicine in Asia. If you search for peonies and medicine, the Internet is full of scientific research that is attempting to validate the old medicinal uses. Not much has been researched on peony petals. This research found that petals are full of flavonoid antioxidants that reduce the production of free radicles.
Kenyan flowers were once on top of the African market, and now they are moving to Ethiopia. It certainly shows how fluid the markets can be. Alaska growers certainly could face competition from other northern regions. Growers are talking price, quality, shipping concerns and competition as things to look out for as the businesses develop and mature.African flowers
If you are interested in learning more about what all those numbers mean when you take a soil sample and get a bazillion numbers back that are pretty confusing, this book explains them all in great detail. Want to be a good grower? Then you must be good at managing soils.
The attached link is a proposal to re-invent the peony, mostly as a year-round horticultural crop that relies heavily on container culture, forced chilling and growth regulators. Although there are several errors that show the author probably has never grown or sold peonies, it gives an interesting peek into what people are thinking about in terms of future peony production.
Though President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska this week didn’t bring him to the lower Kenai Peninsula, he got a scent of Homer when local flower grower Alaska Perfect Peony was picked to provide the official presidential bouquet at his Anchorage hotel, the Captain Cook. “It was pretty exciting,” Alaska Perfect Peony owner Rita Jo Shoultz said on Tuesday. “It was quite the honor.”