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US (CA): The Snowball Viburnum season is open
These grow on the farm in Willow Creek, CA., about 40 miles as a very ambitious crow flies inland from the coast in Humboldt County. To get there you drive up the twisty and turny Route 299, over both Lord Ellis Summit and Berry Summit, then dip down into the Trinity River valley to the small-town of Willow Creek, mostly known for Bigfoot sightings. Take a left at the gas station, go over the bridge, veer to the left, go to an unmarked gate just past the big madrone stand, get out of the truck, drag open the gate, and continue down a steep hill to a spectacular river over-look, right behind you are the viburnum hoop houses.
In the old days this was called the Gardner Ranch, and today it is home to not only our Viburnum, but Lane’s Ilex fields, a small vineyard, and rosehips.
The challenge of a crop like Viburnum is that since it is grown in the mountains, there is a greater potential for big temperature swings. Some years, they may have snow the first week of April, others it may be in the high nineties. If it is blazing hot, they need to harvest it all quickly, if it is colder, they can harvest more slowly. Either way, it is a short month long season, so they have to hustle.
Viburnum ready to harvest
There are many varieties of Viburnum, most are garden varieties, however, Sun Valley grows Viburum opulus compactum which has been bred specifically as a cut flower. The species name "opulus" is from the Latin "opulentus," which means "splendid" or "sumptuous" for the blooms appearance.
Often consumers think the white and green looks of viburnum are two different varieties, when in fact they are the same plant only in different stages of development. This is commonly referred to as “early season” (green) and “late season” (white).
For more information:
The Sun Valley Group
3160 Upper Bay Road
Arcata, CA 95521-9690
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