Home » Valentine’s Day: marathon operation to bring 14,000 tons of flowers to the US – Medellín – Colombia

Valentine’s Day: marathon operation to bring 14,000 tons of flowers to the US – Medellín – Colombia

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Valentine’s Day: marathon operation to bring 14,000 tons of flowers to the US – Medellín – Colombia

The marathon operation to transport 14,000 tons of flowers from Colombia to the United States for Valentine’s Day

Every February 14, hundreds of people are seen on the streets of the United States walking with flowers of all colors to surprise their lovers; Valentine’s Day celebrates love and Colombian flowers are the protagonists that unite hearts.

Making it possible for these Colombian beauties to flood the North American country involves three weeks where they work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be able to take these stems from the savanna of Bogotá and eastern Antioquia to Miami.

Has a flower died in less than five days? Now imagine what it means to have to transport it more than 2,428 kilometers and guarantee that it can arrive in the same condition in which it left the warehouse and that it also lasts another five days at the buyer’s house.
This is a marathon, titanic task that requires precision and quality. There are more than 200,000 jobs that are generated as a result of this season, which although it is not celebrated in Colombia, does represent 60 percent of the profitability of companies such as Elite Flower, one of the largest flower exporters, located between Cundinamarca and Antioquia.

In the last 20 days, the Latam airline has carried those 14,000 tons that represent 41 percent of all the flowers that arrive in Miami (United States); they even had to increase the number of frequencies offered on this flight by 93%. route for Valentine’s Day, with a total of 215 flights, compared to the 183 made in 2023 for the same season between Bogotá and Miami and between Medellín and Miami.

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Giving a flower represents a feeling and even more so when it comes to Valentine’s Day, but for that to be possible, the magic begins on a farm located 40 minutes from Bogotá, there, 23,000 employees work in three daily shifts to cut, clean, arrange and pack the flowers in the boxes where they will be transported. Elite Flowers has more than 1,200 hectares of flower planting, of all kinds, but roses are the favorites of customers in the United States to date.

In the rose room, a cold and immense cellar where Pipe Pelaez’s vallenato plays over loudspeakers, dozens of women and men, many of them from areas where the conflict gives no respite, begin to remove the leaves from the stems of the roses. roses and place them in a gigantic machine that goes around the entire center of the warehouse, this machine classifies them by size and opening and each rose falls into long rows of metal tubes from where they are taken by an operator to place them in the corresponding branches according to their size and opening.

When it arrives in Miami, the countdown begins again, this time, the challenge is greater, the temperatures in the city are much higher than Bogotá and the product must reach the coolers faster, not to mention that they not only arrive there flights from Colombia, also from Ecuador with this same product. There, Latam has the largest warehouse in the entire airport, 31,000 square meters are ready to receive, mostly, flowers throughout the entire Valentine’s season.

The Elite Flowers truck in Miami is ready, it begins to load its boxes to later take them to its warehouses and begin distribution to the most recognized supermarkets such as Walmart, Costco and Publix; and some even go to Los Angeles. A bouquet of Colombian flowers in a supermarket in the United States can cost between $49 and $150, but if what buyers prefer is a more elaborate one, these are also assembled in the Elite Flowers warehouses in the United States, where they have a process similar to Facatativa but smaller and turn the stems into beautiful arrangements with glass vases. Colombia is a benchmark for flower exports in the world, according to figures from Asocolflores, the activity of flower growers exceeded 2,000 million dollars in shipments in 12 months, reaching 2,063 million dollars in sales represented by more than 300,000 tons.

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